"There's a myth that anyone who has a liver problem has brought it on themselves" This quote is from a Crohn's disease patient living with a blocked portal vein hoping for a liver transplant (Independent 31st Oct 2010)

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Ow, ouch, zzzzzz

Friday was biopsy day. Nil by mouth from Thursday night, procedure at 10am.
Reported to ultrasound department at Macclesfield for 9.30. Change into gown and, most important, final toilet visit!
Tiny room crammed with trolley bed, machine, consultant radiographer, second doctor 'observing', and department radiographer. Almost total darkness (so the screen is brighter) makes it bit scary! I still haven't been taken through the consent form but the radiographer insists that what he is about to tell me is far more important than anything on the form, and makes me extra nervous by telling me the procedure is my choice and all the things that could go wrong. He gets to the 'might need surgery to repair' bit so I ask if that's done at Macc and he says no, North Manchester. Hmmmm. 'I can tell you're nervous' he says. 'Too right, mate'.

So we go through 20 minutes or so of him finding the best spot and me holding my breath on demand. Then it's local anaesthetic time. Three jabs, each going deeper in, and the 2nd has me going ow, ouch (hence the 3rd!). He tells me off for flinching and I'm thinking well you see what it feels like to have a needle like that into your liver mate. Then quick tugging sensation and it's all done.
Only not quite - 'I'd like to do a second' he says. 'Oh sh*t', says I, out loud. How good is the sample you have? 85% says he. Good enough for me, says me, thinking I'm not doubling the risk of a 1 1/2 hr trip to North Manchester while I bleed out in the ambulance thanks, for the sake of that last 15%.

Off we go on the trolley. It's impossible to get your bearings staring at the ceiling but I do notice it's up in the lift and that the ceiling tiles are filthy. I ask the trolley man which Ward, and he apologises it's wherever there is a spare bed. Turns out I'm on the 'old lady' ward and he was embarrassed to have me think he was implying I'm shunted there purely on age grounds!

I think some of the local anaesthetic has found its way round my system, as I feel nicely dozey by now and ready for some zzzzzzz
I'm supposed to have blood pressure and observations every 15 minutes but 45 go by with not so much as a 'hello'. So press my buzzer. They have my name on their white board, and my notes, but no idea where I magically appeared from or what they are supposed to do! I explain I should have observations every 15 mins for the 1st hour, every 30 mins for the next 2 hours, 1 hourly for 2 hours and then 2 hourly til discharge. Anyway, sister devises her own plan which is 1/2 hourly the whole time! Who needs silly old nursing guidelines?

I ask about fluids, as I've been without for 12 hours now and feeling dehydrated. Answer comes back no food or drink til you go home - whaat? As my BP slowly drops due to dehydration and a headache starts (I'm pretty sure its lack of fluid not an internal bleed as I have no pain or even the tiniest discomfort - radiographer must have picked an ideal spot after all) I sneak drinks from the bottle I brought and start to feel better. I also sneak nibbles on a few raisins.
Downside of drinking again is the need for the loo and it's impossible to deal properly with that lying down!

Dr S comes to see me, which is a nice surprise. I ask him about post procedure and he says I can get up at 4pm and eat and drink and go home - yipeee.
4pm visit to the loo makes the whole world in general a much nicer place. Now I have to wait for hospital tea-time which is 5.30. Under cover of my book I eat the sandwich I had brought in, and polish off the rest of my water. Tea is a 3-course NHS meal - actually it was ok. And then I can go. I dont have to be officially discharged as I was never officially admitted. I realise I never had a wrist band or any ID.

Next on the list is 6-monthly CT on Thursday next week. This is where you get to drink a gallon of Pernod flavoured iodine before the procedure followed by feeling as sick as if you had drunk a gallon of Pernod!


  1. my biopsy was the same blood pressure dropping due to dehydration and obs where none excistent

  2. Hi Anonymous.
    Hope your biopsy results were worth the downside of the procedure.
    I worked out ages ago that we cant always leave it to the nurses and doctors to 'know best'. They cant possibly keep in their heads our medical history and current treatment. Yes they can look up our file, but that takes time they haven't got. We have to become our own expert and tell THEM what we have come for or what we need!

  3. Hi Fiona, hope your results come back as good as you expect them to be (or better).

    Thanks for your comment on my blog, didn't have yr email so I thought I'd look you up - nice blog so I'll start reading up yr notes.

    I'm back at Jimmys on the 4th to get my bx results, I'll post after that but keep everything crossed!

    Take care... Ian

  4. Hi Fiona, hope your biopsy results are good ones. Thinking of you.