It is good to be home. My own bed, my familiar surroundings and also my own germs. It’s not long after getting in through the door that I need to retire to that bed, the first trip in the car was exhausting. The anti sickness medication that was so effective in hospital had been prescribed on an as needed basis as opposed to a regular dose and I think because of this it was it not included with my take home medicines. This is unfortunate as on my first evening away from the safety of the ward, I am powerfully sick, loosing the little food I had managed to eat. It’s amazing but once the episode of vomiting is over, I begin to feel a little better. After the awful nausea is gone and I also manage to sleep throughout the rest of that first night at home. The noise and activity of a busy hospital ward has been replaced with the calm of my own bedroom. Even the local, usually rowdy seagulls are being very considerate and the little noise they make fails to disturb me. I can, unfortunately only lay on my back as it’s still too uncomfortable to rest on my side, but the familiarity is comforting and I sleep.
When I’m not feeling sick, it is easy to be overconfident, but being at home doesn’t equal being better. It is though, no problem to forget this obvious fact and convince myself that it does mean exactly that. I have been advised that even at this early stage, I ought to be walking about five minutes or so each day and as time goes on I will need to gradually increase the distance that I cover. The following morning we (Sharon won’t let me walk alone) head towards the sea front in the early autumn sun. This is a journey of no more than 200 meters. I am a practiced long distance walker, I’ve completed the South West Coast Path, Offa’s Dyke and I am part way through walking the Welsh Coast and yet that was a long, long, long 200 meters. We reach a bench and I have to rest and catch my breath, but what a wonderful place to rest, looking out to sea and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face. Tomorrow I will try to go a little further.
The second night at home and my bowels decide that now is the time to show me what they can do. At the same time the sickness returns with a vengeance. I wake in the middle of the night desperate to reach the toilet and trying not to spew up my guts all over the carpet. Sharon has very wisely bought some incontinence sheets to place on the bed and it turns out this was necessary as my bowels move faster than me. Soon I am sat on the toilet, it is around three in the morning, (we very fortunately have an on-suite bathroom,) I am painfully heaving into the bowl that I’m holding in my hands whilst below it seems a tap has been turned on and a constant stream of malodorous fluid pours out of me. I am feeling very sorry for myself. But even during this ghastly ordeal I am very grateful that I’m not on my own and that the disgusting diarrhoea that seems to have no intention of stopping, is coming from it’s natural orifice. Because of the skill of my surgeon, I have been very fortunate and it had not been necessary to give me either a colostomy or an ileostomy.