Thursday, July 29, 2010

how strange the change ...

How swiftly things change, at least on a superficial level. Although the cause of the sundry ailments my flesh has been heir to of late is somewhat elusive, the symptoms have somehow been alleviated by ... unknown!

What a difference a day makes; after yesterday’s ropiest of starts, as the day progressed, my appetite (for food) commenced a restorative process. After days of picky snacking, and with the comforting presence of ma belle, by early afternoon I felt fully able to contemplate a real lunch; the swiftly prepared baked salmon, served with new potatoes, brocolli  and beans, seemed like a real treat and I even enjoyed a post-meal shared pot of Earl Grey without any adverse reaction. By this time I’m beginning to suspect that some of my most recent discomfort has been a reaction to the Amoxicillin prescribed last Saturday but, I doubt whether I can hold that responsible for the mornings flow of tears.

Late afternoon I got in to see the locum doctor, at my GP’s surgery, and he proved to be a good listener – to me the most important  prerequisite for any GP. After a few minutes, having checked my medical history, he asked whether I felt a need to go back on Citalopram or whether something to help me regain a reasonable sleep pattern would be most appropriate. I settled for the latter as, quite honestly, with the exception of those spontaneous re-active outbreaks like that experienced yesterday morning, my general disposition (even allowing for the aggravating dis-ease I’ve been experiencing of late) is pretty positive.

To assist with my sleep he has prescribed Trazadone ( which I notice is an anti-depressant) but only in a very low dosage, one 50mg capsule to be taken an hour before bedtime. After the first dose I haven’t noticed much change but, at least I had no recourse to wee small hours radio listening. Although my beloved had left a glass of water at my bedside, before she left for work at 7.30am, it wasn’t until 9.30 that I was sufficiently awake to utilize it as I swallowed my cocktail of lansoprazole, tramadol and amocxicillin. Removing myself from the duvet lair, at around 10.00am, I felt really quite refreshed – a relatively unfamiliar early morning sensation - and by shortly after 11.00am had corralled the necessary stamina to manage a quite brisk walk down to 'Open Church'.

When my physio visited, earlier this afternoon, after a while spent in conversation she applied the acupuncture needles in positions most conducive to aiding relaxation and recuperation.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

and today the tears

And today is the day the tears start flowing. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, a tingling around the eyes and a sense of melancholy. I brush the tears aside, take my courage in both hands (and legs) decide to try a little walk up the road. For the last couple of days such efforts have proved abortive but, it's worth a try; anything's worth a try just in an attempt to overcome this randomly imposed suffocating sense of isolation.

I suspect that the antibiotics, prescribed on Saturday, are having an adverse effect on my already bothersome intestines; even attempting to consume a hot beverage seems like a (time) trial (of the how long before I start feeling nauseous variety). Yesterday seemed somewhat better than the previous day, less of the floatingly giddy light-headedness and, managing infrequent snacks as and when the desire arose. So, things are improving but, after a better night's rest, I've sunk into this pit of moroseness. As I write this, I'm laughing at my pitiful self; in attempting to express how despairingly low I'd started to feel my spirits are somehow lifted.

I'm sure some of the cause is the waiting game, waiting for the gastroscopy and then for the results, awaiting notification of when I'll be in to have the rodent ulcer excised but, most importantly, like a BP CEO I'm wondering when I'll get my life back! The fact that I've scarcely enjoyed a really restful nights sleep, since my overnight hospitalization five weeks ago, certainly doesn't help.

Anyway, I set off for my brief walk and met an old friend. Immediately the "how are you" question was asked the tear ducts shifted into overflow mode and, I had no option but to amble back home. Called my beloved on the telephone, as she was putting in a few extra hours at work - Wednesday being her usual day off - and thankfully she just finished off her current task in hand and headed homewards. Ma belle has arranged, and will be chauffering me to, an appointment at my GP's this afternoon. I feel as if a bit of reactive depression is setting in, a response to the sundry ailments, and probable reactions to medication, that have beset me over the past several weeks.

At least with ma belle by my side, and the old faithful walking stick in my other hand, I gathered the confidence to stroll up to the local shops, the furthest I've ventured for the past few days, without feeling too overawed by the entailed exertion.

Tomorrow my physio is due to visit me to administer the therapeutic needles and, I'm hoping that will aid the relaxation process both physically and mentally.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Salvaging The Wreckage

I quite honestly don’t know what’s going on; much as I hate visiting doctors, and hospitals, my body seems to have a contrary impulse which makes such visits essential.

The most recent such visit, after another little setback, was to the GP out of hours Clinic at the District Hospital on Saturday afternoon. I’d suddenly found myself overwhelmed by a head-spinning giddiness coupled with a griping sense of nausea invoking bloatedness. To add to this discomfort, my lower limbs simultaneously took on a leaden rubbery sensation, stubbornly refusing to be comforted by any re-positioning I attempted. The now familiar gnawing bruised sensation in the lower ribcage and abdominal region once again reasserted itself.

I have to admit though that it was the head-spinning giddiness that caused me the greatest concern. When I went to lie down, a feeling of nausea forced me to return to a seated position but, within a few moments, I needed to lay down once more to prevent the room spinning giddyingly out of control. I generally just felt crap, alternating between clammy overheating and cold shudders.

Having telephonically contacted the out of hours helpline, a doctor suggested that I get my OH to drive me down to the clinic at the hospital. The clinic seemed extremely busy, the best part of two hours passed before I got to see a GP. Having checked my blood pressure, which proved normal, he examined my eyes, ears, nose and throat. His diagnosis was severe sinusitis and an infection in the left ear and, prescribed a course of antibiotics and directed us to the nearest dispensary, which happened to be on the route home. In this instance I have to admit that the diagnosis made complete sense of sundry recent symptoms, acknowledged primarily by my attempts to ignore them.

It did seem rather odd that I was experiencing an extremely unpleasant variant of the symptoms that I would, normally, have blamed on smoking too much; having not smoked a cigarette, even lacking the desire to do so, for the past four and a half weeks that sort of unreason could no longer prevail.

Since succumbing to ME, in 2003, it’s easy to attribute any sense of dis-ease to that wretched overall condition. Whilst awaiting a gastroscopy, an investigative response to my various digestive tract problems, I’ve now developed a tendency to blame any other ailments on my intestinal abnormalities. It’s not only medical professionals who have difficulty in looking at the whole person; it’s proving tricky enough to switch my own focus away from the currently dominant site of dis-ease!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Change of Perspective

Yesterday was one of those days of which I don’t wish to be reminded whilst, simultaneously, it reminded me of just how far I’ve travelled from the regular aches, pains and general discomfort that seemed to be my daily lot for several years.
Just what went wrong isn’t possible to answer, apart from the fact that, after a dramatically un-restful night, I decided to get up early. This decision was made in the belief that forsaking my usual lie-in, denying myself my normal 10 – 12 hours bed rest requirement,   would somehow ensure that the following night would prove much more restful!
By early afternoon I was struggling to fight off that light-headed nauseous feeling of total exhaustion whilst my body somehow refused to let me have the necessary nap. Concentration was at total zero, the radio played away in the background and I found myself wrestling to grasp any meaning from the words being uttered. I shuffled myself about, desperately seeking a comfortable posture in which to relax but, the effort seemed in vain. That’s when the griping clamminess began as I alternated between overheating and shivering.
 A sharp stabbing bruised sensation danced around my chest cavity, left right, centre, top and bottom randomly alternating as recipients of the phantom knuckles blows.  The bottom of the ribcage sought detachment from the throbbing ache otherwise known as the abdominal region, it felt as if it should be decorated with perforation marks allowing one to remove it at will.
On several occasions it was as if I could positively feel the colour draining from my face, although having said that I began to wonder whether one can ‘positively’ feel a negative! In the evening as my beloved applied emollient cream to my back my skin and flesh seemed ultra-sensitive, the lightest touch producing a nauseating discomfort but, later in the evening as she applied steroidal cream around the periphery of the rodent ulcer this queasy reaction had fortunately subsided.
The night proved much more restful than had the preceding one, although in the wee small hours (from approximately 2.30AM) I enjoyed a relaxing listen to Radio 3 for just over an hour before drifting back to an intermittent visit to the land of nod.
Having visited my GP, for a pre-arranged appointment, on Tuesday she contacted the hospital to arrange a endoscopy. By yesterday morning an appointment had already been arranged for this to take place in four weeks time. Once again I’m impressed by the NHS. The doctor’s hoping that I’ll be able to reduce my ppi’s (currently lansoprazole 30mg twice per day)switching me to ranitidine 150mg twice daily for a fortnight before the endoscopic investigation takes place.
After yesterday’s extreme discomfort and agitation, my regularly familiar aches and pains seem quite simply to reflect what it means to be in the very best of health!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

taking stock

When you've been feeling somewhat below par, for any period of time, it's amazing how much, with only a marginal improvement or remission in one's condition, one begins to really appreciate some of the simplest everyday activities. A walk up to the bus stop followed by a short bus journey, without any sense of unease or discomfort, feels quite wonderful; even shopping for groceries becomes more of an enjoyable experience.

It never helps to think about how things were before one's health took a serious nose dive (some seven years ago in my case); it's far more important to celebrate a present ability to feel positively human. My current portion of discomfort is much reduced from that which has, far too frequently, intervened between myself and  the best of health.

thoughts on evolution

Whilst watching 'Wild Wales' (BBC2) I couldn't help but note how wonderful nature is, in all its variety. The thought then suddenly struck me that nature also contains Tory cabinet ministers. Being a forgiving kind of chap, I prepared myself to acknowledge the possibility that lower life forms may evolve at a much slower rate!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

And today it's dermatology

I seem to be a quite regular client of the NHS these days, what with visits to A&E, overnight stays in hospital, various appointments with my GP, visits from the physio to administer acupuncture. What a privilege it is to have this wonderful service; one can only trust that the service will be protected / preserved from the worst ravages the ConDems hope to commit upon it.

Just 12 days ago my GP referred me to the Dermatology clinic which I visited this afternoon. The consultant immediately diagnosed a rodent ulcer (basal cell carcinoma) and is arranging for it to be excised, under local anaesthetic, sometime in the next four weeks. Meanwhile he has prescribed a steroidal cream to be applied to an inflamed area on my back surrounding the ulcer. I find it truly impressive the speed at which arrangements are falling in to place; the National Health Service, freely available to all, and so easily taken for granted, is a gem to be cherished and protected.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mal's Picturebox and identity crisis!

I've just posted a few snapshots, taken in the garden this afternoon, on 'Mal's Picturebox' . I've been unable to identify the wildflower in the picture below and would be grateful if anyone could help. There is no basal rosette to this flower.

click on image to view larger copy

Friday, July 02, 2010

swift setback

The comfort referred to in the previous post proved rather short-lived; last night was one of the most discomfortingly restless experienced since last weeks night in hospital. My chest felt as if it was being sharply knuckle punched from the inside followed by a numb dull bruised sensation; these sensations, alongside a sense of fragile hollowness, discomforted me for many nocturnal hours. At other times, and alongside this, an invisible band seemed to be applied tourniquet fashion around my upper abdominal region; pillows were frequently re-arranged in a somewhat futile attempt at finding a more comfortable posture.

A visit to the GP was in order this morning and, it was decided to double my dose of lansoprazole as she felt that much of the discomfort could be acid related. As she examined the abdominal region she was somewhat surprised by how excruciatingly tender much of that locale seemed to be. Anyway, I have to go back and see her in a couple of weeks to see if any further investigations may be in order. It has also been arranged for me to visit the skin clinic as a particular warty growth on my back has turned angry and needs to be checked out; basically, it seems, I'm just falling apart.

On the positive side, an additional dose of lansoprazole taken late-afternoon helped some of the afternoons more excruciating symptoms subside - even the sense of giddy wooziness has gone into hibernation!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

still snacking after all these years

Difficult to know whether I'm recovering, and what I'm recovering from; I'm certainly feeling a little more comfortable than I was at the beginning of the week! Muscles in chest, shoulder and lower limbs still feel rather achily tender but, definitely more comfortable than they were at the weekend. I'm really feeling relaxed after this afternoon's acupuncture session, though not in any spaced-out sense and, actually enjoyed a bit of grocery shopping with ma belle before we dined this evening.

Doesn't the word "dined" sound rather glamorous, much more romantic than "had something to eat"? Actually it was a very lazy re-heat job, a Waitrose Indian meal for two - chicken jalfrezi, chicken makhani, aloo sag, naan bread and pilau rice. Although I often devise my own curry dishes, I rarely bother to make more than one variety (usually a hybrid one) of curry at any particular time, the extra variety in these lazy banquets is a rather enticing experience - like a super snack! Much as I enjoy cooking and occasionally - emotional stamina permitting - dining out, at heart I'm much more of a snacker than a substantial meal type of guy.

Now doesn't that all sound somewhat boring - even that's just the kind of guy I am!