There are always comparisons made between hospitals, asking the question, which one does the better job? The CHBA in Portimão saved my life in 2012 when I had an abscess on my colon which was stopping me eating and drinking and my immune system was attacking my body, trying to kill it off.
Since then I have been treated by the department that deals with stomach problems. For a while the remedies worked, but then came back again. There is nothing worse than wanting to go to the loo and having no time to find a toilet.
The doctor who looked after me is lovely and very caring. Just before last Christmas she told me my large intestine was infected and if the treatment couldn’t clear it, I would have to have it removed. Nothing worked. I told her I would rather die than have a bag fitted.
She said dying was not an option and showed me the small bags that were now used after surgery. Just after Christmas I was offered an injection, on trial, to see if that would clear up my problem. I tried it for a number of weeks but no such luck. I was then admitted to Portimão hospital for the operation.
I was in there for 10 days and the treatment could not have been better. I don’t speak Portuguese but the doctors and nurses – although their English in some cases was limited – all got their messages through to me.
Of course the hospital in Lisbon is better equipped and so it should be – it is one of the biggest hospitals I have seen. They have a nursing college and many more doctors, but the skills of my surgeon could not be faulted. I can’t wait now until my body has healed itself and, when it has, I am hoping for the final operation to connect my inside back together and then have the external bag removed.
When I had to buy more bags I was told to go to Silves Clinic (not far from the Law Courts) where one of the nurses there took me under her wing. I saw her every other day for about two weeks and she changed the bag and made sure I was OK. She helped me in the ordering of more bags, and for all her trouble I was very grateful.
Would I go anywhere else? No way! I could not recommend this hospital higher. And all the staff could not have been nicer.
So far, the operation has changed my life. I can now go anywhere and not worry about finding a toilet. And to be able to do all the things you enjoy is worth its weight in gold. When I have the third operation, and have the outside bag removed, it will be heaven and will allow me to be “normal” again.
Brian Pemberton, by email