Desert healthcare

Friday, 29 November 2013

The most daunting thing about being thousands of miles from your family back home, is when you are told you need to have surgery as a matter of urgency.

I went into Al Ahli, one of Doha's private hospitals, because I had severe pain in my side and had had it for three days. Within forty minutes of being in Al Ahli, I'd had a consultation with the head Urology consultant, followed by an X-ray, followed by the words 'Holly, it's bad news. You have a very large kidney stone, we need to schedule surgery for tomorrow'

In the UK this probably would have taken ages to identify (when I first saw a doctor about my kidney pains years ago, I was told it was nothing more than over exerting myself during exercise - turned out to be a big stone blocking my kidney from draining, and if I'd left it any longer I would have lost my kidney), but most hospitals in Doha are private and my company pays my medical bills (or will..I hope..a whole other story/battle) so things get done a lot quicker.

The hospital itself is lovely. I may be slightly biased as all of the branding is pink with hearts (right up my street) but that aside, it's very impressive and looks more like a hotel than a hospital. It doesn't have that unnerving clinical smell for a start, it smells fragrant like aftershave or perfume. It's all marble floors and windows with flower boxes, and there's even an indoor waterfall!

The culprit is to the left of the X-ray - the greyish whiteish area that looks a bit like a rogue tooth.

The consultant scheduled me in for surgery the very next morning. At 7am, accompanied by my fantastic friend and flatmate Jemma, we hopped in a cab to Al Ahli. Everything was smooth sailing, from registration to being taken to my room, to having my observation checks and fitting the cannula in my hand, it all happened like clockwork. Then it went quiet for a few hours, before the nurse finally came to whisk me away for surgery, wearing a rather snazzy outfit

My anaesthetist was a funny German guy, who's final words to me were 'girl I'm gonna make you sleeeeep', and sleep he did make me.

I was out like a light, and woke up a few hours later in a rather groggy state to be told all had gone well.

Unfortunately that was just part one of the mission to remove the stone - it's still in there and requires a good few sessions of lithotripsy (non invasive laser treatment to weaken and break down the stone), and key hole if that is unsuccessful.

I wish my family could be with me or I could be at home for all of this, and I know they are worried about me being so far away, but my friends and colleagues have been amazing and so supportive. I'm very lucky to be surrounded by people who care as much as they do x



  1. I'm glad all went well... regards... Ian

    1. Sorry to have only just seen this post...many thanks Ian