One Tuesday, when I was 10 years old, if I’d gone to school that day I would have died by the end of it.
This the story of why and what happened before that. Buckle up, it’s a bumpy one…
So, as one last “hurrah” before finishing primary school, there was a school trip. Not a day out around a local coal mine (which was the kind of thing we generally did) but an entire week on the South coast. More specifically, Poole in Dorset.
We weren’t exactly a well-off family so a lot of resources were pooled (no pun intended) to pay for it but, none-the-less, I was going.
I have memories of bunk beds at a youth hostel but, only a few days in, they quickly change. I became unwell – sickness and diarrhoea soon turned to hallucinations as the week went on. I spent most of the days in the toilet cubicles rather than out on trips with everyone else.
Quick early on in the week one of the teachers took me to a local GP, understandably worried about me. The Doctor asked me some questions, poked about and finally concluded, “he’s home sick”. I’m not sure being home sick creates hallucinations.
The week ended and pretty much everything spent on it was a waste as I’d missed it all. I was feeling a bit better and, the next Monday, I went back to school. On Tuesday morning I got up, walked into the kitchen and… threw up. My mum took me to our local Doctor who quickly realised it was something more urgent and despatched me to the local hospital.
I was put on a drip and pumped full of chemicals before they could wheel me into surgery. At this point they still wasn’t sure but suspect it could be a ruptured appendix – the scar I have is down the front of me, rather than at the side where the appendix is, for just this reason.
When they did operate it wasn’t my appendix per se but an abscess on the appendix. It was huge and affecting other organs, hence the symptoms. That was removed but it took me a month before I was able to come out (another long story but the summary is that I didn’t heal very quickly) . During this time I’d missed the end of primary school, including visiting my new school.
Later that year I had to return to hospital to have my appendix removed (to ensure the abscess didn’t return). Again, I was in for a month.
After my first operation my mum was told that if I hadn’t been taken into hospital that day, chances are I would have died by the end of it.