How things started

It was 2001 and I had just started a new, better paid, really awful job with a company providing mobile phones to businesses. I was stressed out with a lack of any training, support, direction or anything else a new employee would expect from a company and this was starting to affect my health.
The first thing I noticed was the need to throw up, quite violently, every morning. It was only in the morning and I was showing no other symptoms so I looked up possibilities online. It turned out I was pregnant. Normally this would be a source of great joy, but it was a bit of a shock to both myself and my wife. There it was, though. Morning sickness and I hadn’t had my period for about 28 years. I was about to give birth to our fourth child and a documentary on Channel 5.
Anyway, once we discounted the diagnosis we decided it was simply stress and I needed to relax more. I tried, but things just got worse, culminating in my boss taking me to hospital with severe chest pains. I knew it wasn’t a heart attack, but it was too painful to talk and I figured it was a day off work. Yes, 6 hours at Bournemouth A&E was more attractive than work.
This resulted in a referral for an endoscopy. I thought it wouldn’t be too bad, just a thin cable down the throat to examine my digestive system. What I got was a cable the thickness of a garden hose shoved down my oesophagus, triggering a gagging reflex while being held down by several nurses. This was nothing in the losing all dignity stakes compared to what I went through much later.
Anyway, diagnosis – hiatus hernia. This is where the top of the stomach comes up through the diaphragm, weakening a valve in the oesophagus and allowing stomach acid to travel upwards. This, especially during times of stress, causes severe heartburn called acid reflux. (NB – I am not a medical expert. Some of the descriptions in here will range from barely accurate to nearly crap). The main fix for this was a routine keyhole procedure called a Nissen Laproscopic Fundoplication. Routine, sounds easy……


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