So dear reader hello from the land of exploratory health adventures German hospitals and anarchist organic farms. So much has happened to this guineapig I almost don’t know where to start but start I will with a nice dramatic story!
So I got invited to go to a festival outside of Berlin at the end of June as a guest speaker. The day after my talk – I had a life threatening tumour bleed – kind of like Arya getting stabbed in game of thrones series 6 – the kind of bleed that is totally rare and unusual. And yes it happened to me in a field though fortunately it wasn’t at Glastonbury this year with all that mud – imagine! It was a Sunday afternoon and I had just found the Czentrifuge area after two days of it being obscured by the disorientating mists of limbic festival time. I found a good friend and had just started talking to him when there was a sort of warm wet splurge from within my teashirt followed by a dexter style blood spatter which just started expanding – think chromatography. I had knocked my chest with my knee the night before getting into my tent – one of the reasons I have a bell tent here in the Uk – but didn’t realise my body would have this kind of extreme reaction to it. Initially I was taken by a punk ambulance to the medics and rested and got it dressed. Efficiently. German style. I was grateful. It stopped. I thought this GP could now slowly and leisurely enjoy the festival with friends and loved ones and squeek with wonder at the installations and sound systems but the next morning – after lying rigid as a plank on my back all night – a most unnatural position for us guineapigs – I noted that there was blood on my belly. Realising that the dressing probably needed changing and that I didn’t fancy trying to do that again in a tent and also more importantly that I actually needed to get home, I got up, grabbed a random human to help me and made my way to artist care with my luggage at 9.30 am saying I have a medical emergency – I need to be in one of the shuttles back to the airport asaps. This was a tall order as shuttle places had all been booked way before and I had tried the previous night to get a shuttle for this day with no luck.
The helpful guy at artist care said there would be one at 12 noon I could take. I then in a Calm and Orderly fashion told the guy – I am going for breakfast and then I will pop and see the medics. Then I will be back to get a shuttle.
Off I trotted. I mean what would your priority be – medical needs and wound care versus food – how could it not have been food… so I made a bee line for the artists and performers cafe – wolfed down a large bowl of muesli ate some vegan just cooked muffins and drank a pint of green tea. Leisurely. The calm before the storm.
When I felt replete and ready to face the day – a good breakfast is such an important thing dear reader – and something I would be so grateful for later on this particular day – I made my way to the medical tent. I explained my situation and said I needed a dressing changed.
A doctor was found and I was taken into a spillover makeshift tent with no-one in it – as the main medical tent was FULL of groaning gurning or sleeping festival casualties. The dressing started to be peeled off and Lo! biblical onslaught of pouring red blood, up my neck down my back down my front squuueeeek. Lots of large dressings pressed onto it but the blood just coming and coming and coming. I think you had better go to a hospital said the nice lady doctor – yes I agreed – an ambulance was called, a iv saline drip was introduced into my arm. The blood continued. I was calm. Hospitals were called and it was decided that the nearest hospital wasn’t any good for me so I had to go to one a bit further. The ambulance arrived and then we started a two hour journey.
At this juncture I would like to point out that my command of the German language is random and sporadic. Luckily my favoured words – sheisse the German word for “crap” or “shit” Oh Scheisse! schwachsinn which I corrupt to kvatch (bollocks) and wasser (clearly water) – served me well in this setting but also luckily the lovely young lady doctor who worked in Rostock no less and who took kindly to me came in the ambulance and also spoke a bit of english.
Unfortunately during the two hour journey all the wasser I was drinking and the saline drip made me want to pee. Desperately. I held out for as long as I could. We were in traffic jams. They were not using the siren. Yes I was like WTF I am bleeding to death here and you are not using your siren to queue jump – Like I know “we” as a country idiotically voted Brexit but hey we are still part of the EU – but I didn’t know the words for any of that in German so just kept saying Ich Muss Piss, interspersed with Oh Sheisse! hoping they would not mistake my body needs.
It finally got to that point when something had to happen.
I did not intend that something to be me pissing my pants.
So I insisted the ambulance stopped at the first relatively suitable stopping point – which was in a village street with houses on one side – with a couple of people gardening – I mean of course – and a hedge on the other. We stopped hedge side. I got out clutching all the dressing around my chest. The doctor came with me carrying the Iv drip. I stood by the hedge – she pulled my trousers down I pissed and the blood was just running down my legs from my chest. I simply cannot imagine what any onlookers would have thought or how they would have processed that seeming indelible image – I sincerely hope no-one was scarred for life. It was at that moment I realised that my body was out of my control and that I was in a bit of trouble.
I started shivering and bivvering and decided that actually I felt a bit funny but fifteen minutes later we were at a large hospital where they were waiting for me. My ambulance crew and doctor handed me over on a trolley to an efficient but slow nurses station and then they all left leaving me against the wall in a sort of corridor junction area – no-one actually talking to me or asking me anything – but I knew I was in the best place and started to feel calm again.
To be continued ……………so stay tuned for the next section of this story
Love Calliope x