Sunday, December 31, 2006

P.E.T. hate

I was scheduled to work four night shifts starting Christmas night. The first shift passed reasonably uneventfully, the usual round of Orthopaedic nonsense, epidurals and gynae stuff. I felt tired but otherwise ok.

Boxing day I took some paracetamol/codeine as my hips and back have been really sore. I also had half a temazepam (a whole 5mg) to help me get into a reasonable sleep pattern for nights. I woke feeling just not quite right. Dazed, and oddly, deaf in my right ear, a noisy buzzing replacing my usual background tinnutis. I put it down to the drugs, and expected it to clear as I worked. It didn't. I could hardly hear what people were saying to me, and I had to ask for the music to be turned off so I could hear what was going on (to put this into context I am the kind of anaesthetist that counts my iPod as being as essential to emergency lists as thio and sux). So after taking the first case out to recovery, I sat myself in a vacant bay and took my BP.

145/87.

Umm, it may have been 12 years since I did Obstetrics at Med school, but even I knew that was a bit, well, 'up'. I took it again, and whilst the numbers rearranged themselves slightly, I was, no doubt about it, still hypertensive. And that buzzing? Now slowly but surely translating into a headache. I walked back down to the theatres, found my boss and informed her I was going to have a rest and then re-check it. Luckily the next case was an appendicectomy, so there was no rush. Fifteen minutes later, and the systolic is still tickling 150. I told my boss. She said to have a proper lie down, things in theatre could wait.

It's a little hard to relax when you know that what you are experiencing could be a Really Bad Thing, not only for you, but for your unborn offspring, so I'm not sure that having a lay down was ever going to achieve anything, and sure enough, my BP wasn't going anywhere. I rang the midwives at the hospital I am booked into (not where I work) and they advised me to come and have some CTG monitoring and bloods. I told the boss, and luckily she was very sympathetic; "No celebrity cesars tonight, thanks!".

Half an hour later I was laying down with the CTG strapped on. Odd, as 40 minutes ago I had been negotiating with my 'own' (ie work's) delivery suite about an epidural they were requesting. Anyway, the peanut was fine. My wee had 1+ protein, but miraculously, my BP was now 100/60. They sent me home, and told me to see the obstetrician in the morning (I already had an appointment).

The next day my BP was still alright, but the proteinuria remained. Anyone paying attention would be curious about oedema, right? Well, my carpal tunnel is so bad now the splints do fuck all, and I have trouble dressing myself in the morning. Even now, at 1600hrs, my ring and little fingers are still too stiff to bend properly. No, it hasn't suddenly got worse, just been a creeping malady since week 23. So I had the trifecta.

The obstetrician ordered some bloods, gave me the rest of the week off work and sent me home. I have been trying to rest (not sure exactly how that is done), and thankfully, my BP is still ok, and the proteinuria has all gone. My bloods were fine.

So I have a 'little pre-eclampsia'. It's scary. I hope to God the peanut is ok (yes, it's still leaping around like the frog in the sock), and that I can make another 2 weeks (=34 weeks, =level 2 NICU). Up until this point my denial about the pregnancy has been hefty, to protect myself against hurt if I were to miscarry again. Now I am having to face up to maybe having to end the pregnancy early, before I have given myself the chance to enjoy it and get used to the fact that my life will never be the same.

So when people ask me if I have been enjoying my pregnancy, I have to laugh. It's now my P.E.T. hate.

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