So I’m back home, even more fatigued. I was taken for endoscopy some time on Monday evening, and was back on the ward by 11, I think – I slept through the whole thing. (A local anaesthetic put me right under!) I was woken around midnight for routine blood pressure and temperature checks. I then slept on and off until about 6:30 when the nurses opened the curtains and did the drug rounds. This was followed by breakfast – white toast and jam in my case.

Not long after, the doctors told me – and showed me photos – that my stomach is slightly inflamed, and that a test for helicobacteria(?) might be positive. (The reagent had changed colour but had not become the bright orange that would mean a definite infection.) This might explain the tenderness below my lower left ribs but does not explain – at least to me – the lower bowel symptoms.

I was too drowsy to ask more that whether I’d get out that morning. I hate being in hospital: lack of sleep and being hooked up to drips more than counter the otherwise fine care the NHS provides. (The latter was aggravated on Monday when it took three attempts to find a vein for blood tests, then a further three attempts to insert a venflon.)

My next step is to speak with my GP this morning – just now I’m waiting on her calling me back. My discharge letter says I have ‘a sliding hiatus hernia, mild oesophagitis and mild gastritis’, that CLO tests on duodenal and oesophageal biopsies were inconclusive, and that ‘if ongoing gastrointestinal symptoms, please consider GI referral’.

My current list of medications is impressive:

  • amoxycillin, clarithromycin and omeprazole to treat the infection
  • paracetamol to deal with pain
  • hyoscine N-butyl bromide (‘buscopan’) to reduce gastric spasms
  • diclofenac (‘voltarol’) to treat joint pain. It appears that my left hip pain may be due to lying so much on my right: the left leg is unsupported and so puts tension on the hip. One possible solution is to position a pillow between my knees while I’m lying. Sleeping on my back leads almost instantly to increased bloating sensations in my lower abdomen.
  • macrogol (‘movicol’) and glycerol suppositories to keep things moving.

I guess the approach at the moment is to take the antibiotics course – one week – and hope from improvements. Just now I’m going to bury myself in Electric Soup. Remember: in space, no-one can smell you fart!


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