Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Queen of Sicily

A friend who I sometimes amuse with my misadventures has suggested I tell all about my ill fated foray into herbal medicine.

It happened about six years ago while I was living at Tapora. It had been established that I had gall stones and I had been on a waiting list for an operation at North Shore Hospital for about a year. I read that hospitals now have a criteria for gall stone waiting lists. If a patient has two or more attacks in a six month period, they go to the top of the list. Had that been in place when I was on the list I would have been at the very top. The attacks happened every couple of months, on the odd occasion within weeks of each other. I didn't bother reporting each one to my doctor, just told her how many there had been since my last visit when I saw her. She would mutter how we must do something about this and fire off another letter to the specialist but might as well have saved her energy for all the good it did. Such is the public health system, there were so many others more in need than I.

The attacks were bad, very bad, as anyone who has suffered them will tell you. The first sign one was on its way was a pain behind my left shoulder blade (never could figure that one out!) and they usually arrived mid evening. I got to the stage where I was almost philosophical about them. Make sure the phone was beside my bed, put on presentable nighwear (in case I had to call for help, wouldn't want to shock anyone with my usual night attire), go to bed and hope to get in a little sleep before I was gripped. Then tell myself over and over, "It will pass. It will pass."

There are times when I think it's best that I live alone. Or maybe I just don't like anyone fussing over me when I'm in pain because I'm not used to it. Anyway I always got through the attacks without lifting the phone until the night I was sleeping over at Danny and Heather's place, babysitting the twins, Krystal and Shayde. When I felt the first pain I checked the time and figured it would be OK, I'd be fine by morning, whacked but able to function enough to take the girls down the road to our friend, Cheryl and she would look after them for a few hours while I grabbed some sleep.

But right from the start this attack was different. Usually I felt nauseous but this time there was a universal purge happening. Rather than just sweating like a pig I was drenched in sweat. Then I became delirious for a while. Passing in and out of delirium would describe it better. I remember the sound of my own voice telling me not to wake the girls. And I snapped out of it enough to think The Girls!! Little three year olds. What would they do if I couldn't get up to them in the morning or worse, if they couldn't wake me? I knew for sure they would set out for the cow shed looking for their mum and dad. To get to the cow shed they would have to walk down the road (no grass verges on this dirt road), over a little bridge (with no side rails) and without an adult around, there was no telling what they'd get up to along the way, what could distract them.

Feeling increasingly alarmed because this attack was so different and I didn't know what to expect next, at 11 pm I rang Cheryl. She, of course, knew about my gall stone history, and said, "Put your knickers on, I'll be there in five minutes." A few minutes later she came bursting into the house calling, "Nurse Manu here" (a reference to a funny early episode of a local TV soap). My memory is a bit hazy for the next couple of hours. I remember her ringing her husband and saying, "Stoke the fire, Dr Raupati (same soap show) I'm bringing her in." (I only seem to remember the funny bits, that good!)

Cheryl must have bundled up the sleeping girls, gathered some clothes for them for the next day, and got us all into the car because the next thing I remember is sitting in front of her blazing fireplace with a hot water bottle held to my tummy. Cheryl asking why I had my hand like that over the area above my waist, right hand side, fingers spread? Does it hurt there? And me replying no, I just feel easier if I do that.

My next recollection is hearing Peter get up the next morning to go to milk the cows. I was snug and warm in a guest room with one of the twins in the other single bed. I knew the other twin would be in the next room and that they were safe and I drifted happily back to sleep.

The following day I made the trip to Auckland to see my doctor and tell her about this 'different' attack. She was quite alarmed and chastised me for not calling an ambulance. Explained that a gall stone had escaped the gall bladder, travelled and got stuck somewhere on it's way to the kidneys and shut them down. (But the little blighter was a fighter and got free again!) I was astounded, blurted out something like, "You mean these stones are dangerous?? Hell, I thought they were just painful!" After that episode I started to regard the attacks in a new light.

And I started to wonder (out loud) if there wasn't something I could do to get rid of them. I mused in this fashion to Cheryl and a few weeks later, as we were sitting at her house having a chat and a coffee, suddenly Cheryl jumped up to retrieve her "Bible", her book of herbal remedies. Passed it to me and said she's seen a cure for gall stones in it.

Tomorrow.....the cure!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to know who's visiting. Leave me a sign!