My partner stays with me every Wednesday night - we like to watch Angel together - and last Wednesday I was especially glad he was coming over, because I had burned myself quite nastily while making dinner.

He looked after me very well and I was contented.

But at one in the morning his belly started hurting him. Again.

For three months my partner has has horrible pains in his belly in the night. 

Not every night - there have been some weeks when he's been totally pain free - but often enough to be a real and deep worry for him, for me and for his family.

During the three months he's been to see his GP many times, and a specialist a couple of times. He's been taken to hospital emergency rooms. He's had huge amounts of blood taken for testing, and various internal images of his belly made.

None of the tests told us what was wrong.

I dozed on and off from one till two and again from three till half past as his pain grew and he became ill. 

At four we left for the local hospital. His face was bruised with the force of the vomiting he'd been doing. He was shaking and miserable.

And at six we went home again with another set of blood tests and X-rays saying "Nope, nothing wrong here!"

At three the next afternoon he went to see his specialist who sent him straight to hospital... and a Professor there sent him home again, to become very ill overnight.

In the early hours of Friday morning my partner was admitted to a private hospital where he had a gastroscopy which found a hiatus hernia. He had more blood tests which said his pancreas was extremely unwell. He was told he probably would need his gallbladder removed.

He was put on a saline drip with pethidine in it, and extra pethidine available to him whenever he needed it. He was forbidden food or drink - but he didn't mind much, because he was only awake for very short periods in the first day; about as long as it took him to press his button for more painkiller, really.

Because of my job, and because of my children, I have only been able to visit him after official visiting hours are over. I sit with him and watch him sleep, or chat with him softly, or watch his TV programmes with him until I have to leave.

Sometime next week he'll be having surgery.

I'm afraid for him.

And I feel useless.

I bring him a printout of his online comic every day, and I check to make sure no one has sent him a job offer by email. I've sent a letter to a dear friend of his to let her know what's going on.

And I keep loving him.

And there's nothing else I can do for him.

And I look at my arm, the scabs and the redness and I feel how it pulls as I move and I think "Any other week, this would have been a really serious injury"


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