Thanks for waiting so patiently for my return! I had to take a brief and unexpected hiatus due to being hospitalised and nearly dying in late August.
Now that I’ve had some time to recover, I’m happy to tell you all about it.
The first thing you need to know is that I have a medical issue I have been dealing with for about 18 months. It’s a personal, bodily, reproductive issue, so if you’re at all squeamish or don’t want TMI, I kindly invite you to not read any further.
Basically I have a non-cancerous growth in my uterus called a fibroid. Fibroids are extremely common in people with uteruses. In fact, up to 70% of people with uteruses will develop a fibroid in their lifetime.
A fibroid is a non-cancerous growth of muscle and other shit that in most cases can go undetected until pregnancy. However, mine is really big, and it affects my menstrual cycle.
Basically, because my uterus can’t contract properly, I have very long (3 week), very heavy (soaking through overnight pads in 3 hours, sudden gushes I cannot deal with, having to skip work) periods. Normally they end anywhere from after 10 days to up to 3 weeks.
However, the one I started in August was heavier than I’ve ever experienced.
I was incapable of dealing with how much blood I was passing. I could not leave my house to go to work. I could not sit at my desk and work from home. I was cramping and incredibly bloated and basically passing so much blood I couldn’t do anything except lie in bed and try to deal with the blood and pain, staggering to the bathroom every few hours.
My husband, being an ex-chef, provided me with a variety of iron-rich foods in an attempt to help me deal with the blood loss, but neither of us thought it was as bad as it really was.
Then I got what I thought was a migraine. If I moved too suddenly or strained too hard (including trying to expel enormous amounts of blood to ease bloating) I got the most incredibly painful headache around the back of my head, like barbed wire was being twisted into my skull.
It was the day before my birthday when I called my gynaecologist and asked if there was anything I could do. She prescribed me an anti-bleeding tablet and advised me to take painkillers and drink caffeine to ease the ‘migraine’. She tried to get me to come in and see her, but I explained how I couldn’t leave the house, I couldn’t drive, I could barely stagger to the bathroom and back to bed. By this point I hadn’t showered in a few days.
I spent my birthday in bed with the ‘migraine’, slowly bleeding to death.
By the end of the week, I was incredibly pale (I normally have a pretty red-cheeked face), and I decided I needed to see a doctor. My husband tried calling my GP, but they didn’t have any appointments for 10 days. I told my husband that we needed to try the after hours house visit doctor since I couldn’t leave the house to go sit in a waiting room, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t do anything. But the after-hours service didn’t begin until 6pm.
At about 4.30pm I staggered to the bathroom and expelled a huge amount of blood. I was on day 13 of a super heavy period, I was pale, weak, had a terrible headache, my heart was pounding way too fast, and my periods were normally winding down at this point, not getting worse.
I told my husband I couldn’t wait for the after hours doctor, I needed help NOW. I asked him to call the paramedics.
I didn’t expect to get taken to hospital. I thought they would give me some fluids and I’d be fine. Then when the first paramedic assessed me, she said I needed to go. Even then, I thought I’d just go, get some fluids, and come back that same night.
How wrong I was.
The first paramedic assessed me from the toilet I could not stand up from. She determined I needed urgent medical assistance. She had a lot of trouble inserting the catheter into my arm because I didn’t have enough blood in my veins.
I was loaded into the ambulance and taken to my local hospital. I was still in my nightie, no pants, my hair hadn’t been washed in days. I had also lost my modesty somewhere along the way. I was too sick to care if people saw me in my underwear or nothing at all. My husband was not allowed to come with me due to COVID-19. We kept in touch via text.
I was given 1500ml of fluid through a drip, and when I got into the ER, I had a blood test, which was assessed right away. During this time the emergency gynaecologist stopped by and inspected me. Everyone pretty much decided I needed a blood transfusion, so they asked my consent. I ended up getting one unit in the emergency room. It took about 2 hours.
My heart rate was at 120 when I was lying perfectly still. If I moved, it shot up to 140-150 and my machine beeped, so I quickly learned to lie as still as possible.
At about 2am the next morning, they moved me from emergency to the haematology/oncology ward (since there is not gynaecology ward at this hospital). There I met the wonderful night nurses and received a second bag of blood. This was early Saturday morning.
I was still bleeding. They gave me a liquid version of the blood-stopping medicine my doctor had prescribed me.
With no sleep, I struggle to remember what happened on Saturday. I got another litre of fluids. At some point someone told me my haemoglobins had been at 60 when I came into the ER, and they were amazing I was still walking around. Haemoglobin counts average at about 130 for women. Blood transfusions start at 70, so I had been dangerously, critically ill. I had almost died. I was told that coming to hospital was the right thing to do.
(To put that into perspective, anything below 65 is considered life threatening, and some people start dying when their haemoglobin levels are around 50… so I wasn’t far off.)
At some point my husband came to visit but he was only allowed to stay for half an hour. My dad came to visit later that day. My mother, unfortunately, was working interstate, and due to COVID019 would need to self-isolate/quarantine for 2 weeks before she could eve see me, so I convinced her to stay at work.
Afterwards, one of the day shift nurses asked me if I wanted an exemption letter for my husband. I didn’t question it, I just said, yes please! The exemption letter meant that he could visit for one hour outside of visiting hours.
I also don’t really remember what happened on Sunday except that my husband came to visit in the morning and didn’t leave until the evening, and no one said anything. I do know that that night, I had another massive bleed that resulted in my second blood transfusion of 2 units. I was so frustrated. I had spent 4-5 hours receiving all this beautiful new blood and it had just gone straight through me and out again.
At one point I was told that the intense headache I had was not a migraine, so that was something. I had the auras consisting of squiggly lines and bright lights, but because I wasn’t throwing up, the doctors decided I wasn’t suffering from a migraine.
That night, I had an injection that would try to shut down my ovaries temporarily, since I was still bleeding, though not as heavily.
On Monday I was feeling a lot better – so much better that I wore pants for the first time in more than a week. I had another blood test and my haemoglobins were still really low. I was still bleeding.
On Tuesday I developed a pain in my uterus that felt like bloating. I was in so much pain! I begged the nurses to call the gynaecologist, but they said he was in surgery. Besides, I wasn’t bleeding, so they weren’t that worried. They gave me 3 doses of painkillers, each stronger than the last. Nothing helped. I was in so much pain I was lying in the bed just crying, holding my husband’s hand while he grew increasingly worried and advocated for me. Finally, after a horrific day of the most intense bloating pain I’ve ever experienced, the junior gynaecologist dropped by at 5pm after her shift just to see how I was. I told her about the pain, how nothing was helping, I begged her to examine me.
She removed a massive blood clot the size of a large lemon. I mean this thing was HUGE. It had been blocking the exit to my cervix and preventing any blood from escaping, which was why I had been so bloated. I bled A LOT once it was removed, and I INSTANTLY felt soooooooooo much better that I told the junior dr I was going to name my first kid after her (most likely this fibroid has left me infertile but that’s not the point). She told me no one had ever begged her for a speculum exam before.
Afterwards, I got my third blood transfusion of 2 units and another litre of fluids.
On Wednesday the nurses took blood for a blood test more easily than they had before, and my haemoglobins had reached 90. They wanted to send me home, but they gave me an iron infusion first. I was in a similar pain from the day before, so I wanted to wait for a final examination from the gynaecologists. When they finally rocked up at 5pm, they had a look and determined I was no longer bleeding, so then I was discharged and sent home.
So now that’s my story done. I am slowly getting stronger every day. I am seeing my doctors and working on my health. I am back at work. I am beginning to study for Uni again, but it’s a struggle, since my main priority is work, and I am easily exhausted.
It’s been just over a month since I was taken via ambulance to the ER because I nearly bled to death.
And now, because I missed my August monthly wrap up, here it is below:
Other Blog Posts You May Have Missed:
- [1 Aug] Stacking the Shelves (244)
- [4 Aug] Top Ten Books with Colours In the Titles
- [5 Aug] Can’t Wait For You Were Made for Me
- [8 Aug] Stacking the Shelves (245)
- [11 Aug] Top Ten Books I Loved but Never Reviewed
- [12 Aug] Can’t Wait For Ignite the Sun
- [18 Aug] Top Ten Books that Should be Adapted into Netflix Shows/Movies
- [19 Aug] Can’t Wait For Where Dreams Descend
- [21 Aug] Release Day Blitz: Sanctum by Hannah McBride
- [22 Aug] Stacking the Shelves (246)