Hello everyone, it feels like it’s been a long time since I really wrote anything meaningful on this blog. Life can be pretty full on sometimes, usually when you least expect it. I tend not to post about personal or sensitive topics but today I’m going to break that tradition a little. In the last 3 weeks things have changed quite dramatically for me and I’d like to talk about them. Also, it’ll stop any rumours that I’m dead and perhaps stem the constant messages enquiring about my health. It’s lovely that people care and quite touching really, but it can also be a burden dealing with the volume of correspondence. I’m not arrogant enough to believe I am a celebrity or that I need a PR department. However, in recent weeks I do feel as though I’ve been explaining the same things over and over again to different people. A press release of sorts was needed. I hope this post will serve as that. So let’s talk about the situation…
No not that Muppet off the Jersey Shore who calls himself “The Situation”!!! My health situation.
I don’t want to ramble on too long (that’ll make a change) but I do feel it’s worth outlining in brief the events of the last 3 weeks. So get in your DeLorean and journey back with me to around September 19th 2015. I’ve been feeling dodgy for a long time if I’m honest and I usually don’t talk about it because nobody likes a moaner, also it’s not really anyone else’s business. I was consistently told by doctors there is nothing wrong with me and I should stop complaining. I could feel something wasn’t right but after a while you get sick of being told you are a hypochondriac and stop even calling the doctor.
Around the weekend of Sept 19th I was experiencing my 3rd really heavy cold in as many weeks, which seemed suspicious even for me. I was coughing up a lot of dark phlegm and generally feeling bad but just thought I would get through it as I always had in the past. However, I suddenly had a lot of stomach pain and swelling on Saturday, I was unable to walk around comfortably. Trips to the doctor to be told to go away were not high on my TODO list, I’d been before with these exact symptoms, they had calmed down with rest and self medication. I struggled on for a few days but was physically unable to leave my flat and eventually had to give in and call the doctor. I was pretty confident it wasn’t my appendix because I know Peritonitis kills you quite quickly and I wouldn’t still be around to complain after 5 days. Also I had experienced the same pain and swelling before but it had always just gone away after a day or two. When I saw the GP he examined me and agreed it probably wasn’t my appendix but referred me to the hospital anyway “just to be sure”, he didn’t seem keen. After some arguing on the phone (I witnessed him doing this) they agreed to take me for examination at the hospital but again didn’t seem enthusiastic about it. I was in the surgical assessment unit all day, seeing a succession of nurses and eventually doctors as I worked my way up the ranks. Finally I saw a consultant and he sent me for a CT scan right away. I was told my appendix had to be removed and ended up on the operating table that evening.
The next day I woke up with a pipe coming out of my side, someone had also clearly made a pretty impressive slice in my abdomen. Not your standard appendectomy, I knew that. I was obviously in a lot of pain and couldn’t really move. I then ended up spending the following week in a hospital bed which wasn’t the best experience of my life. The staff were trying their hardest and the NHS is one of the few things on an increasingly short list of reasons I’m proud to be British. They seemed massively understaffed and overstretched though, just unable to cope. I won’t go into the specifics of what I saw right now, perhaps later. Clearly the effects of “compassionate conservatism” in my view and Tory attempts to kill the NHS. Why would politicians care when they all get private health care anyway? Enough politics though, that’s for another time.
I don’t sleep a lot at the best of times but in there with the constant noise, florescent lights in my eyes and even buffeting of the bed as they hit it with trolleys (the bed had been extended because of my height), I barely slept a wink in about 6 days. I probably had sleep deprivation on top of my other woes by the time I got out. I did get out though, all be it with a drainage pipe in my side and a large open wound. I’m currently staying with my parents to convalesce and am being expertly looked after by my Mum, so there’s no need to panic. It’s gonna take time to get over this operation though. I’m getting stronger by the day but who knows what will happen from here. The plot thickens.
My appendix was never actually removed and the surgeon told me once they opened me up they found a lot of “strange fluid” coming out. I trusted he was well trained enough to recognise blood and this was some other fluid being expelled from my body. There were many abscesses inside and they had to do some work cleaning me up. There still could be more surgery for that in future. I had probably been carrying some of this around for years while being told there was nothing wrong with me. I wanted to shout the words Spike Milligan famously had carved on his gravestone “I told you I was ill!!!”. Not that there would be much point now.
So where do we go from here? Well in truth the exact cause of my problems is still uncertain and all they will tell me is that it’s “very rare”, in a manner akin to turning up at the Antiques Roadshow with a Penny Black I’d found in the attic. The surgeon had never seen any case like this in his life. Batteries of tests have not been productive so far. I’m not particularly worried and I actually feel more positive than I have in a long time that someone is finally going to figure this out. I’m eating well and not losing any weight (sadly). I’m certainly not dying (well hopefully not for at least another 40 years or so) and I don’t want anyone to panic. Despite the need to recover from major surgery I don’t feel too bad. The scars will be pretty impressive.
I’ve spent a while thinking about how much to say publicly and who to tell but it’s just easier if everyone knows what’s going on. Right now I’m gaining strength daily and in the coming weeks I will be referred to a specialist hospital in Manchester for more investigations, scans, blood tests, written exam, assault course, pop quiz and whatever else they’ve got. I’m actually looking forward to that. My mental strength and attitude has never been in any doubt. I fully intend to find out what this is, kick it’s ass and resume normal service as soon as possible.
Some of you will be wondering what all this means for OggCamp, being that it’s 3 weeks away. It’s a fair enough question so listen up, I want you to hear this message loud and clear…
OGGCAMP IS DEFINITELY HAPPENING AS NORMAL WHETHER I AM THERE OR NOT
Everything is set to go and thanks to the wonderful people on the organising team we are in perfect shape. So don’t fret about wasted hotel bookings or travel arrangements. Come to Liverpool. Eat, drink and be merry! I fully intend to be there but I may have to leave the physical work to others. Any excuse hehe 😛
What Happens Now?
As you can probably understand I’m not really dealing with phone calls, social media, emails or anything else very regularly at the moment. If you want to get in touch that’s great but please try to use email, Twitter or comments on this blog to do so. If you know me well enough to have my phone number please don’t worry if I don’t respond to your calls. If it’s important leave a message on the voice mail. I find talking on the phone quite tiring at the moment but will check messages as and when I can.
I have put all podcasts on hiatus and explained the situation to the folks at TWIT HQ. I’ll get back to all of that soon enough too I’m sure.
I hope to see many of you at OggCamp in 3 weeks. There’s still tickets left so spread please the word!!! You can get tickets here.
I’ll report back when there is anything more worth sharing. Until then don’t worry, I am comfortable and happy. Sometimes an enforced break isn’t the worst thing that can happen.
Ciao for now,