About a week and a half ago, Mr. K started feeling a bit under the weather. He had a sore throat and swollen glands and we both figured he was fighting something off. He had been stressed from the end of term's assignments and we had been around other people sporting fabulous coughs and stuffy noses. It wasn't a big surprise when he woke up a week ago Saturday with a fever and the sweats, but we both thought it would pass. I scooted out to Boots, which is a huge drug store here, and came home with a plethora of cold and flu medicine.
By Monday most of his flu symptoms had subsided, but he was still feeling crummy. We had E, one of Tenie and Carmen's flat mates over, and she helped us put the sugar gliders' cage together. Mr. K had cooked lamb for supper, but didn't eat all of it and I suspected something was wrong. Mr. K is a good solid eater. If he doesn't eat, he is definitely not feeling well.
Tuesday things started to get worse. He was having severe pain in his stomach, but we thought it was leftovers from the flu. He spent most of the day sleeping and not really eating, but that is what people who are sick are supposed to do, right?
Wednesday came and he was in horrible pain. Mr. K has a very high pain tolerance and a knack of hiding when he is hurting, so I didn't know just how bad it was. He was cranky, and rightfully so, but at the time I didn't understand. I met E and she and I went to Boots again for some "trapped wind" medicine. We thought that the stress and the excessive amount of pop he had been drinking the week of his finals had caused big gas bubbles to get trapped in his stomach/intestine. He met E and I at a restaurant across the street from our flat, but didn't eat. He took his trapped wind medication and when we got home I gave him an abdominal massage to try to encourage the supposed trapped air to leave his body.
When Thursday came though and things weren't better, I was a bit worried. I thought that perhaps it took a while for the trapped wind medicine to get into your system though, so I didn't panic; yet. Again, he spent most of the day sleeping, but tried to make a trip out. When we reached the restaurant we were going to, he was in pain, sweating and wanted to vomit. Again, he is good at hiding these things so I didn't know just how bad it was. When he didn't finish his hot chocolate I knew there was really something wrong. Mr. K loves sweet stuff and for him to not down the mug of hot chocolate meant that he was not well. Upon returning home, he practically fell into bed and slept. We had thought his weakness was due to the lack of eating, and perhaps it was, but there was something else going on.
On Friday morning I started doing some research of my own, looking up his symptoms. Of course I read the worst case scenario and I started panicking. I looked up the laws for free health care in the UK for spouses of European Union citizens and discovered that Mr. K was covered under my status. With that in mind, I went after him to go to the hospital; he refused. Originally, we had plans to meet up with some friends for drinks and Mr. K stayed home. I left frustrated at him because the seriousness of the situation had really begun to hit me. I was so worked up walking over to Tenie's flat that I thought I was lost when I wasn't. Poor Glacier probably thought I was nuts. I did learn from my little freak out though was that I can be wrong and confused and it doesn't effect Glacier like it used to; very encouraging.
Once I had sorted myself out, I got to the flat safe and talked to all of the girls. I was concerned because I thought he had a partially obstructed bowel. That stuff is scary. He had started vomiting that day upon swallowing anything except small sips of cold water and I was about ready to call an ambulance. Partially or obstructed bowels if left too long can lead to the death of the intestine's tissue, which then causes a whole new set of permanent problems.
The girls listened to my ranting and E said she'd text him. I don't know if she actually did, but when I got home from drinks that night-quite early I might add because I was worried-Mr. K started looking up the phone number for the health line. This particular line assesses your symptoms and books you in for a scheduled appointment if they feel it is serious enough. If it's really bad, they call you an ambulance.
The nurse Mr. K spoke to was really sweet and listened carefully. She booked him in for an appointment at 2:20 AM and Tenie walked over to go to the hospital with us. It was just after midnight when we found out that he should go in.
I can't tell you how exhausted I was, but so incredibly relieved that someone else thought that my concerns were valid. There was no wait time in a noisy, crazy emergency room as this is a different part of the hospital and we had barely sat down in the waiting room when Mr. K was called back. Other nations with free health care should really consider taking a page from the NHS's book when it comes to night time emergencies.
We were in and out within an hour and we took a cab back to our flat. Mr. K was diagnosed with esophagitis and given pills that stop the stomach lining from producing stomach acid. The doctor thought that was what he had, but told us to come back in if the symptoms didn't start getting better in twelve hours. He warned Mr. K that it wasn't a magic pill and he would not feel better instantaneously. As much as we both wished they were magic pills, I think we were both glad to finally know what was wrong. We fell into bed close to 4 AM, completely exhausted, but slept soundly knowing that we had a diagnosis.
About thirty hours and six pills later, Mr. K was eating again. It still hurt, but at least it wasn't as bad and he was no longer vomiting. The dude lost way too much weight in a short time period due to his inability to eat. He has to continue taking the pills and has to have a check-up by a GP in the near future to ensure everything is going as it should.
It was a crazy week for both of us. I know he was the one going through it and I will not devalue that, but my goodness, being a worried spouse is stressful. I haven't had to deal with that before now and I'm hoping it's a while before I have to again. I really try not to take for granted the health that I have, since I am quite healthy, but something like this really puts things in perspective. I'm so glad the nurse told Mr. K to go in because leaving esophagitis can lead to a hole being burned right through it by the over production of stomach acid.
We're supposed to go out for a nice lunch this afternoon, kind of like a good start to a new week and I'm looking forward to it; just knowing Mr. K can eat his French Toast and enjoy it makes me very happy.