Monthly Archives: September 2014

Costochondritis

Well, it has been three months since my last posting, so I guess I am overdue for an update.

Work wise, I have been given extra hours on top of my two-day contract; taking my weekly hours to 30+. No complaints from me and I welcome more. I am classed as Service which is front end and I am spread between the Fast Lane and Hybrid checkouts – both of which are self service and the normal manned checkouts. I have no complaints with this either because I am glad to have a job in this current climate. We all were given a Flexi sheet to fill in over the coming Christmas period. On this, was also the chance to write down where else we would also like to work. I wrote down George, Home &  Leisure and Nights as the departments I would like to go and work on. In fact, I would definitely like to do nights on a permanent basis; mainly because you are paid more – night premium rate added. Whether I will be given the opportunity to work on any of these departments, I will have to wait and see.

In other news, on Thursday, 28th August, whilst serving customers up on checkout 3, I had a sharp twinge in the middle of my chest. I initially thought nothing of this because I have suffered twinges / palpitations since I was a teenager. They come and they go. Sometimes lastly mere minutes and other times; lasting for up to an hour or two and then I am completely fine and dandy. On this occasion, I had a number of sharp stabbing pains and I knew I was not right. The couple I had just started to serve at 4pm called for help, and Sharon (runner and my neighbour) darted round to see if I was alright. She told me to go upstairs and rest. I had not had my break and had been on shift for 4 hours by this point. Someone was supposed to have relieved me for a break at 3.30pm but no one did. Up to the canteen I went, slowly at that. I sat down with a few colleagues and by 4.40pm, my team leader told me to go home and a colleague swiped me off.

I decided to vacate the premises at 5pm and proceeded to walk  slowly down the stairs and out to my car where I would sit and wait for my mam to come and drive me home. My younger brother David was bringing her. Within minutes of walking from the staff entrance, and what felt like slow-motion,  I had collapsed to the ground due to becoming very breathless. Lucky for me, Zoe, a colleague from the Home & Leisure department was walking out at the same time.  She stayed with me making sure I was OK. Two other colleagues came over to check what was wrong and called a first aider out; Wendy who happened to be section leader. Between the four of them, they got me to my feet and helped me over to Zoe car which was close by. In the attempt to do so, I found that I had become even more breathless.  One of my colleagues asked a customer for his paper bag (empty MacDonald’s bag) for me to breathe into. I found this to be very difficult to do. Wendy then phoned for an ambulance before they eventually got me into Zoe’s car.

Ten minutes later, and a First Responder had arrived and took over my care whilst we waited for the ambulance to arrive. It was near on 6pm by the time the paramedics arrived. I was helped over and into the ambulance and after their initially health checks, took me to the Countess of Chester hospital because it is the nearest hospital to Queensferry. At this point,  I have to thank Zoe for staying with me up until the ambulance left the ASDA car park. She said to me that I had got her out of going to the gym at 6pm.

The plus side of being taken to hospital via ambulance is that you go straight into cubicles – cutting out A & E waiting altogether. I had to wait for about 30/40 minutes before being seen by a doctor – 6.30pm. I was told that she wanted to ensure I had not suffered a heart attack and shortly after I had an ECG (Electrocardiogram) to check my heart , and I also had a catheter put into my left hand too to have bloods taken as well as being  was taken for an x-ray. During all these tests, I had 3 ECG’s, bloods taken 4 times, I was hoping I would not be kept in over night. How wrong was I! My mam had stayed with me and asked one of the nurses (this was 10.50pm) if they were keeping me in – they were. So, my mam left at 11pm. During the night, at gone 2pm (I could not sleep), a young doctor asked me a few questions, listened to my lungs and heart but didn’t tell me much. He did say there was scarring on my chest but didn’t know whether it was old or new. Shortly afterwards, a nurse drew some more bloods.

Friday morning – awoken at 7.15am – I mean WHAAT!! I had only not long managed to fall asleep despite the pain in my chest. For breakfast I had a solitary Weetabix. More bloods were taken, of which the nurses struggled to draw after a few goes. Another doctor came round and told me for the second time that I had scarring on my chest but did not know whether it was old or new. She prodded me and informed me that I had  Costochondritis – is the medical term for inflammation of the cartilage that joins your ribs to your breastbone (sternum).  At least I had a name for it despite not being told over the last 20 years of having similar symptoms. Lunchtime – battered fish with mashed potato and mushy peas which I struggled to eat, followed by sticky toffee pudding – I managed a couple of mouthfuls was all. Shortly after lunch, I was informed that I was being discharged and that they were waiting on the pharmacy medication discharge forms.

My mam collected me at around 3.20pm and we got home by 4pm. I was so glad to be home – I could have a shower and a change of clothing – in this case, a onesie.  I contacted work to let them know that I would not be in over the weekend, and they told me that I could take the two shifts as holidays; of which I did. After coming off the phone, I made a cuppa and toast and headed upstairs to my bed where I watched television for the rest of the evening.

I returned to work on Tuesday, 2nd September for my 2-10pm shift. I was in the Fast Lane which I was glad of because there would be no twisting involved unlike had i been placed on a checkout. BY 3.20pm, I felt a sort of dull ache in the same area of my chest as I had on the previous Thursday, but I thought I was OK. 4.15pm and I was told to have my tea and so I headed towards the staff exit form the shop floor to the canteen. Once i reached the stairs, I struggled up them and by the time I got to the top, I was clearly out of breath and exhausted and simply collapsed into one of the chairs in the canteen. By 4.30pm, I thought I had better try and eat something – a homemade cawl but, as soon as I stood up, I had to sit back down again. Too much. 4.50pm – break over but I was going nowhere. Donna went down once she finished her break and informed Wendy (who was in charge of checkouts on the night), that I had taken ill again; and told to swipe off and go home. However, Sara, who was now on her break, put my cawl in the microwave for me. I managed to eat about a third of it. Despite being told to go home, I remained in the canteen until 7pm because I was just far too exhausted to leave and I had phoned my mam to come for me and I had to wait for her because she had to catch the bus in order to do so.

Thursday, 4th September and I went to see my GP Dr Shaheir as a follow up from the hospital. Nothing she could do except sign me off work for a week and tell me to take it easy, which I have been doing.  I am still finding it hard going. Even walking two doors up to my mam and dad’s is tiring for me.  So, all I have done this week is stay in the house except for nipping to Aldi for a few essentials.

There we go, that’s what has been occurring in my life since June. I really hope that I shall be OK enough for a return to work on Friday. Fingers crossed

(( Cwtsh ))

xx  Cerys xx

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