On the "would you rather" scale, mastitis pretty much tops the charts. As in, I'd rather simultaneously give birth, go to the dentist and have a Brazilian bikini wax than have mastitis. It's honestly that bad. Not only do you feel like you've got the worst flu going (worse than man-flu even), but your boob is like a place where a civil war and a famine is taking place all at once. Just touching it is painful; the pain of breastfeeding from it defies description.
By Saturday afternoon, red-hot-poker-boob was still, well, bloody sore and kind of looking more like a red-hot-rugby-ball-boob. So I took myself to A&E, joining two sports injuries, an amputee and a guy with the terrible shakes in the waiting area. I was seen within about half an hour of arriving, and by the time I was seen I had a fever and a resting heart rate of 115bpm. And before I could say "Boob's my uncle", they had a drip in my arm, pumping me full of some strong antibiotics. "We're starving you" said the nurse. "Just until you see the surgical registrar." Then I saw him, and for about the fourth time that day, got to show my boob to a complete stranger. [Note to self: best not to wear frumpy granny bra out of the house]
So I was admitted to the Short Stay Unit, which is kind of like being admitted to the hospital but not, since the Short Stay Unit is like the Shortbus of the Hospital - a mixed bag of all sorts of loonies and lonelies and sickies. You're sick enough to be in hospital, but not sick enough or staying long enough to be in a "proper" ward.
So I sent the Darling Husband home for some supplies for the night. [Note to self: if you take yourself to A&E you should accept the possibility that you'll be admitted to hospital so go prepared. Otherwise you'll still be wearing that frumpy granny bra on Day 3 of your stay because your DH still hasn't picked the right black bra from your drawer.]
The Registrar came back, and after showing him my boobs, he said I could eat. The nurse came back and said, conspiritorially, "I saved you some dinner." Now I am very appreciative of modern medicine and all that goes on in hospitals and I know they have hundreds of people to feed, but what they were calling "dinner" was what I'd call a "light snack".
After sharing my light snack with Milkbaby, we settled in for the night. Because he was with me, we were lucky enough to get a private room, complete with its own cage ...er I mean cot... for Milkbaby. This cot was like something out of the 1930s - waist high, full steel construction. The drop-side alone weighed probably 20kgs, and needed two hands and superhuman strength to get it up and down.
|Suitable for small lions and babies.|
We (that's Milkbaby and I) spent two nights in the Shortbus. Every six hours (including throughout the night), someone would come and hook me up to a drip and pump me full of more antibiotics. Milkbaby never really got used to that cot, and needless to say, I never got much sleep.
On Monday morning, the consultant walked in, followed by the surgical registrar and a team of clipboard-carrying young doctors. Just like on TV! Once again I got to show my boobs (and the frumpy pink granny bra) to a whole lot of strangers. You'd think, being a breastfeeding mama, that I'd be used to showing my boobs to strangers, but there's something different about getting your boob out for the specific purpose of having it medically inspected.
The consultant and his crack team of young doctors deemed that my breast was on the mend and that I could go home, provided that I continued on a double dose of antibiotics and came back for an appointment at the breast clinic (!) in a week's time. I took the rest of the week off work and have been mooching around the house ever since. I sincerely hope never NEVER to have to stay in the Shortbus again.