As many of you are aware I am in Barnet General Hospital. Cedar Ward, the same one I was in the last two admissions. I had, had, a really busy but fruitful day on the Thursday 27th. I got frustrated at at something trivial but went to bed about 11pm. I quickly realised that I had a growing sense of pain in my chest, coming and going. I tried every position I could to ease the pain. Sadly this continues for hours. Sadly, I realised that I was putting off the inevitable. I recognised the symptoms as the same as the first two previous admissions, namely ‘Pancreatitis’

Around 3.30am I rang 999 and have spoken to the operator he said that someone would ring me back within the hour. The person who rang me back had accessed my notes. He agreed with me and asked me to get A&E as the ambulance were a three or four hour wait.

My sister Ann was already on the way and took me to the hospital. I was very shocked to be told that I could go in but my sister had to sit in the car park. After four hours they said that they were going to admit me. Ann went home and a battery of tests and loads of form filling ensued. Eventually I was transferred to the ward at 7 in the evening.

I tried sleep and eventually dropped off but awoke shouting and really loud noise. One of the Patients was confused and decided that the nurses were there to attack and that we the other patients were intruders. He was threatening to call the police and have us all arrested. I then discovered that he had no phone. Everybody in the ward is now awake and joining in. My head was spinning. Everything eventually calmed down. And it was three in the morning. I was lying in bed trying to ease pain when a nurse came in and said she needed to take a COVID test. Without another word she shoved the long stick down my throat and followed with another up my nostril.

Excuse the long ramble, but, for those hours, I was crippled with pain, delirious with lack of sleep and half believed that did not happen.. But seen it in black and white – it all happened.
Since then sleep has been very elusive and the pain has been slow to ease, the hospital has been great. I have had the tests they needed and quickly analysed.

Two days ago I developed an episode of gout in my right toe which has kept me in the bed.

This is real difficulty for me as I need help to get anywhere. The last MRI Scan shows a stone in the duct and this now shows the way forward. When all the infection is cleared I will be sent to The Royal Free from here for a procedure called ERCP to remove the stone. Then back to Barnet to make sure the infections don’t re-emerge. Then it it is home until called for the next procedure, under general anaesthetic. This is the remove the gall bladder.

I am very pleased that there is clear pathway. But though not in much pain, I am shattered . I am also surprised at the difficulties of not having visitors has affected me.

Sorry for the long ramble but this has been such a crazy episode on top of the Coronavirus.

Please remember me in your prayers as I have you in my prayers.
Fr. Dominic