Today I spent a majority of my day wandering Lancaster city center. I was going to make black bean soup but by the time I thought to check the hour it was WAY to late for bean soup making. So tomorrow it’ll have to be. My walking trip started off with me dropping some books off at the library. The library here is teeny. So rather than going in sorta knowing what I want I just browse the aisles until something catches my eye. I’m not spoiled for choice at this library because of how small it is but on the other hand I think that will make me more likely to pick up books I normally wouldn’t and try them out. So in a way this might be better.

While I was out today I was passed twice by ambulances with their sirens blaring. This is what made me think of talking about my NHS visits, especially because my grandma wanted me to. Also, the sirens on emergency vehicles here seem so much LOUDER than the ones back home. There has been a number of times where I almost jumped out of my skin when they drove past they are so loud.

My first trip to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) ward here happened after I’d only been here a few weeks. I have had a rather bad gallbladder for a while now and so the attack itself wasn’t a surprise. I was sorta hoping that I would have had the chance to register with the school health center (or I suppose centre since I’m in England) and make an appointment first but such is life, eh?

It was just a normal attack, a bit more painful than normal and I had no more painkillers. I was lucky though as T (he and his wife R are the ones letting me my room here in Lancaster) couldn’t sleep and when he rambled downstairs and saw me in pain, called a taxi. What was even nicer was that he came with me to the A&E and stayed the whole 3-4 hours that I was there. A really nice guy T is.

The nurses, doctors, receptionist, everyone really at the NHS were very nice. I got good care and I didn’t really wait any longer there than I have had to wait at home. I even got some morphine for the pain (my first experience with morphine). I actually wrote a post on facebook about my second visit to the A&E and will copy/paste it here.

From my facebook notes the day I got back from the hospital:

So, I got to go to the A&E (Accident and Emergency) ward last night again. I woke up with a really bad gallbladder attack, again, and took a taxi to A&E. I got in a lot quicker this time though and they ended up giving me 10ml of morphine for the pain. I’ve decided that while morphine is lovely for taking away the pain just about instantaneously, I really really hate how it makes me feel. I get all dzzy and lightheaded, I feel queasy, and it makes my arms feel heavy. Actually it feels like something heavy is pressing down on my whole body. I’m not a fan.

The NHS though? Oh, that’s LOVELY. The doctors and nurses are all extremely nice and helpful. Also, since I’m on an academic program that lasts longer than 6 months I get the NHS for free! Yay!

So, after I got the painkiller the Emergency doctor told me that he would like to admit me to the hospital as this was the second attack in 6 days that has sent me to emergency which is worrying. Also, by admitting me it pushed up the time for me to get an ultrasound. So I stayed in the hospital last night and got an ultrasound this morning. I’ve never been admitted to the hospital before so this was all new for me. The ultrasound showed that I have gallstones (surprise!) and that quite a few of them were rather large apparently. Which may account for why these most recent attacks have been EXTREMELY painful. Like, double me over if I stand up painful. I was in the hospital for a while after the ultrasound because they wanted me to eat lunch and see if the food bothered me at all. I’ve only been back home for about an hour and a half or so.

I’m feeling much better now if a bit exhausted and wrung out. I really miss home and my family and friends. Nothing is worse than sitting in the hospital all by yourself. 

In about six weeks I’ll have an outpatient appointment with the hospital again to discuss surgery for my gallbladder. Which is nice because that means that sometime soon I won’t have to worry about or experience these horribly painful attacks ever again.

As an update I have an appointment with the surgeon on Aug. 23 to talk about removing my gallbladder.

So all in all my experience with the NHS here in England has been lovely. It is nice to know that if I get sick I have somewhere I can go and that I won’t have to pay astronomical hospital bills after.

Next Monday I will be getting a haircut. I’ll be sure to post pictures of how it look ^__^.