Monday, 4 October 2010

They Call Me Mellow Yellow

Another reason for my summer silence was that I turned an unnatural colour. It was August, a week before we were due to go on holiday to Wales and the day before we were going to see the play Anne Boleyn at the Globe Theatre. Polly came home from work and asked me if I knew I was a shade of yellow. I pointed out that she was wearing a pair of lemon yellow shorts and that the sun was just reflecting off them. Yes, said Polly dryly, that's probably it, but just in case we'll pop up to the hospital on the off chance that it's not caused by my trousers.

Many hours later a doctor was trying to admit me to St Helier hospital because she was a bit concerned about some markers in my blood. After some tense negotiations she let me go home on the understanding that I returned first thing in the morning for further tests. But we have tickets to see Anne Boleyn at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, I wailed. The doctor just sighed and said "you've gone yellow, Mr Deal. You have jaundice. Don't you think it's in your own best interest to find out why?"

The next day, despite my best efforts, they admitted me. I tried to explain that I am ill-suited to hospitals but the consultant dismissed my concerns with an airy wave of a manicured hand. "The pretty little nurses will look after you," he didn't quite say but might as well have done. The pretty little nurses were slightly less confidant when faced with my BiPap, wheelchair and need for hoisting, a profiling bed and an air-mattress. They looked at Polly and said, "You won't be leaving, will you?"

They wanted to stick me in a scanner so they could look at my liver but soon realised that this would be complicated in the extreme because I can't lie flat on my back without suffocating. The slightly less confident consultant agreed to try an ultra-sound, blithely unconcerned that the technician would have to achieve this while I stayed in my wheelchair. Unsurprisingly the results were inconclusive.

I spent an unhappy night plugged into a drip feeding some kind of antibiotic into my vein. The preceding two hours it had taken to get me in to the bed convinced the nursing staff and the more junior doctors that I would be better off at home since there was not an awful lot they could actually do for me. The consensus was that a gall stone had broken up and passed through my liver but since they weren't about to risk giving me a general anaesthetic so they could have a poke around they couldn't be 100% certain. Eventually the almighty consultant was persuaded by his underlings that I should be allowed to go home on condition that my GP organised regular blood tests. I fled to the car park still wearing my hospital gown.

Whatever was going on in my liver took a while to clear up because the markers in my blood that concerned the doctors remained stubbornly high for what seemed like a long time. I suffered some minor discomfort and felt a bit run down, missed a play, but, on the whole, reckon I got off relatively lightly.

Until next time.