Fed2 Star - the newsletter for the space trading game Federation 2

The weekly newsletter for Fed2
by ibgames

EARTHDATE: March 11, 2018

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by Hazed

As you may know, I haven’t been able to publish an issue of the Fed2 Star for a month because I have been ill. It was serious, it was scary, and I had to spend some time in hospital. For those that want the details, here’s what happened.

On Wednesday 14 February (yes, it was Valentine’s day, not that it had anything to do with it) when I left the office to go home from work, I suddenly found it hard to breathe. Walking a few steps had me puffing like I had just run a marathon. I made it to the bus stop, stopping every few minutes to martial up the energy to continue, collapsed onto a bus, then staggered from the bus stop to my home. I thought I must have caught a chest infection, and assumed I’d have to take a few days off work and then I’d start to feel better.

On Thursday my breathing continued to cause problems. I was fine so long as I didn’t move, but just walking across the room felt like I was running up a hill.

On Friday it became clear that it wasn’t just a chest infection, and that something was seriously wrong, so I went to the doctor. She sent me to the hospital. I spent the afternoon and evening having various checks and tests done, with a lot of hanging around waiting in between, and then was told I had to be admitted and stay overnight so I could have more tests the next day. The suspected diagnosis was pulmonary embolism, which is blood clots in the lungs.

Unfortunately right now the UK’s National Health Service is under huge pressure from years of underfunding, plus the seasonal health crisis from flu cases means hospitals are full to bursting – so I had to wait while they found a bed for me. I was finally admitted to the hospital at one in the morning.

The trouble with hospitals it that they are full of sick people. I spent a sleepless night in a room with three other people who were making an assortment of snores, coughs, moans, shouts and sobs. I had to put in my earbuds and play music to block out the disturbances.

On Saturday morning I was wheeled through the hospital corridors in a wheelchair to have a CT scan. This involved injecting a dye into my bloodstream then firing x-rays at me from many different angles, and using a computer to process the results into cross-section images. I had to lie on a bed and then a large donut-shaped machine moved back and forwards. It was very science fictiony!

The scan results confirmed that I did have blood clots in my lungs – quite a lot of them. That was why I had problems breathing whenever I moved; the clots were blocking the flow of oxygen into my blood and around my body. This is serious because if the clots break off and travel to my heart, they can cause a heart attack.

I was told I had to stay in hospital for at least another 48 hours to be closely monitored while receiving treatment, in the form of very large injections of blood-thinning drugs with big needles that left massive bruises all over my stomach.

This was probably the most boring two days I have ever spent!

Thank goodness for electronic devices – how did we survive without them? I had my Kindle, with a large stock of unread books on it. I had my phone, with lots of music on it. I had my iPad, with Netflix on it. I could keep in touch with people and follow the news.

But that didn’t stop the frustration of being cooped up in a hospital ward. I live alone (by choice), I am a solitary person, and I do not like having people around me all the time. I also hated the lack of control – having other people dictate what happened to me, when I could eat, what I could do. It was an altogether unpleasant experience.

On Monday I had another scan, and the results showed that the blood thinning drugs were starting to work, so I was allowed to go home with a supply of tablets to continue the job of getting rid of the clots. I have never walked into my house with such a sense of relief. And the cats were delighted to see me, too.

I spent the next two weeks at home, recuperating. The first week I still felt very weak and feeble. The second week I started to feel better and would have liked to go out – but then the snow hit. We don’t often get snow in London, so when it does arrive it brings everything to a standstill. I didn’t think going outside in a blizzard would do my lungs any good at all, so I was trapped indoors for four days.

Last week the snow had melted and I felt well enough to return to work part-time. I still feel very tired and it’s going to take time for me to build my stamina back up. If only real life was like Fed – all I’d have to do to restore my health would be to eat a lot of pizza!

It was a very frightening experience, but I survived it thanks to excellent medical care. I am grateful that I live in a country where I don’t have to worry about finding money to pay for hospital treatment. I’m exceedingly grateful to all the staff at Lewisham Hospital (Chestnut ward) for their hard work under very difficult circumstances. I’m grateful for all the friends who rallied round to help and who came to visit me in hospital to cheer me up.

And thank you to the Fedders who sent me kind wishes too!

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