April 3 First night in Turin – in A&E

The first thing I wanted to do after checking in to the flat was to get some food. I was in luck! Lidl had just opened a superstore just across the road so I went for a look. It was astonishing – luxury foods as well as the usual Lidl layout. It was packed. I stocked up, including a large bottle of diet coke. I settled in and had some food and  drank quite a lot of the coke. Shortly afterwards I felt a sharp pain in my gut – as if somethihng were blocked. The pain didn’t go away or change in any way for the next few hours, which was strange. I don’t like to take chances with my gut, and the pain was bad, so at around 1.30am I got up, crept out of the flat, and made my way to the nearest hospital – about fifteen minutes walk away.

During the next few hours I was given three different pain-reducing drips, a comprehensive blood analysis and a couple of X-rays. Evetually the results came back, confirming what I had thought – gas had got stuck in the colon, causing the pain. The fizz from the Coke must have gone down, rather than up. The doctor then printed out a four-page document describing in fine detail what had happened – the blood analysis results, drugs given, advice on what to do next and a timeline of who had attended me and what they had done. Quite amazing. They said “good night” and I walked home. The last dose of Tramadol had reduced the pain and I went to bed at around 6am. In the morning I took carbon tablets to absorb the remaining gas.