One of the things I learnt quickly about being in hospital is that having a sense of humour gets you through a lot of the experience. They do say laughter is the best medicine, and granted it does help, but I can also tell you that it’s not as good as a morphine drip. Laughter is infinitely better than liquid morphine which is just rank!

The Last Christmas Turkey

I’ll get to the balloon story in a moment, but first a bit about turkeys.

The day after my operation I was encouraged to get myself out of my high dependency bed and sit in a chair. Now bear in mind that all I had on was a standard issue hospital gown and apparently they don’t cover much. So I’m happily sat in said chair when a nurse quickly pops over and puts a towel on my legs. “This will keep your knees warm” she said.

Now I blame the morphine, but I genuinely thought she was worried about my legs being exposed. No! She was more concerned that I was flashing the last of the Christmas Turkeys at all and sundry as they walked past me. Come to think of it now… it was a tad chilly sat in that chair.


I left hospital for the first time on the 21st December and returned on the 22nd after chucking my life up all over the kitchen (Attack Of The Crohn’s Part 2). Basically when they whip your bowels out they don’t put them back in all nice and tidy like. Instead they just squeeze them in and zip you up – pretty much like when you’re sorting out a suitcase for going on holiday.

Cramming bowels back into a stomach suitcase can result in some twisting – and not the good Chubby Checker kind. These twists can cause blockages and it was suspected that this may be the case with me – something had twisted and to untwist I’d need to be opened up again – the joy. To verify this theory I had to have an X-Ray and a scan.

The X-Ray was OK but trying to lie flat when your stomach has staples in it is bloody painful. If I was Mel Gibson in Braveheart I’d have been shouting “Freedom” because that’s the level of pain we’re talking about – and there was no morphine now to help!

Merry Christmas Balloon

There was no morphine for the scan either – but it may have helped obliterate the oncoming trauma!

To this day I am adamant that the specialist dudes told me “before we scan you, we’ll need to put a tube and balloon down your throat”! I’d been expecting this to happen at some time and whilst a little nervous just accepted that it was a necessary evil. A kind orderly wheeled me down to the scanning room where I was met by some lovely nurses and scan operators.

There was to be no turkeys on show this time as I was now wearing two standard issue hospital gowns – one covered the front and the other the back. Basically it was a really crap toga – and everything still got cold!

Once in the scanning room, I was asked to lie on a table. I was then placed on my left side, with my arms in the air so that it was easier to ride the scanner! “Just relax now” a reassuring voice said and before I knew it a tube was entering my body… but not through my mouth. For what felt like an age and at least 50m of tubing all I could think of was “that’s not my mouth” and “why can’t I speak”.

Following the unexpected loss of my tube up the bum virginity I was then subjected to a balloon inflating inside me followed by what felt like gallons of liquid going in. I was then scanned. I think the scanning process was over quite quick but the world had become a bit of a blur by now. Thankfully the tube and balloon were removed from my person and I was given the all clear to return to the ward.

I thanked the staff as I departed because that seemed appropriate – before adding – “I do hope that balloon said Merry Christmas”.

Every Picture Tells A Story

Because I had liquid inserted upwards there was a 100% certainty it was going to return! So I had to be wheeled back to the ward and sent straight off to the bathroom and shower. My orderly, who I guess was around mid 20s, was a decent fella wished me all the best. He then told me he hoped he’d never ever had to go through what he’d just witnessed as my face was an absolute picture. Thankfully I have no idea what that face was – and I hopefully never get to witness someone with a balloon being pumped up inside them.

I retired to the bathroom and shower – and at this point I’ll spare you what happened next. All I will say is whatever was left of my life that I’d failed to throw up the day before, well it appeared at the other end. Gushing is probably the best description!

Anyway, as it happened both the X-Ray and scan revealed all was well inside. Whatever had been blocking things going through had untwisted in it’s own time – well it’s either that or having a Christmas balloon and a lot of liquid pumped up me helped things along. Either way it’s one experience I don’t think I’ll ever forget – but at least it’s one I’ll always laugh about.