Sunday, January 29, 2012

(doing the) anniversary wash

Today was one of those anniversaries, a day when I determined to take a shower (whether I needed it or not), only to be harshly reminded of the reason that showers have become a less frequent event in the life of yours truly. By the time I'd showered, much of the time spent seated, a sense of overwhelming exhaustion (thankfully transient) took control as I stepped out and attempted to towel myself dry.

The past ten days or so have found me once again taking a roller-coaster ride in terms of my general health, ranging from a rare sense of assurance and well-being (following on from an intensive time of prayer) to times when even the sound of one sheet of paper sliding across another was sufficient to turn me into a shaking quivering wreck. On another occasion I was able to bask in the warm golden flow emanating from the acupuncture needles, a time of complete relaxation.

I'm not sure whether my current course of antibiotics, metronidazole 400mg (x3 daily) and ciprofloxacin 500mg (x2 daily) prescribed for an intestinal infection, contributes anything to, or even mildly militates against, any overall sense of comfort.

I remain, as usual, a work in progress.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

of appointments and pent-up frustrations

Last Saturday found me out in the garden doing a bit of lopping, pruning and trimming of sundry shrubs. I must have spent a little over an hour enjoying a gloriously sunshiny day, as the shrubs ensured work for idle hands. Two days later, by way of reward for these endeavours, a day of numbingly aching body and soul when even switching on a kettle seemed far too great an effort.

Mid-way through my waking hours on Tuesday, I started to feel reasonably recovered (from the tortuous preceding day) so there was little to suggest the tear-fuelled emotional response to a visit to my GP’s surgery the following day.

My appointment on Wednesday afternoon was with the same GP referred to in the post “once more to the land of A&E”, and therefore a most positive prospect. Once in the consulting room, the atmosphere seemed overwhelmingly business-like as, within the allocated 10 minutes, he wanted to focus solely on symptoms of breathlessness and chest pains, thereby excluding all other aches, pains and painful disorders, from the equation. He said he was going to arrange an appointment with the cardiology department and was also sending me for further blood tests, as well as a Glucose tolerance test (requested by one of the practice nurses who had been checking my NHS Health Check results). It was also mentioned, in passing that I’d not kept appointments with the Chronic Fatigue Unit and, they had now discharged me! For the truth of this see my post “psycho-fatigue”, (which describes my departure from an assessment visit at which I informed the psychologist I wouldn’t be paying any further visits to the Unit and, hence, discharged myself).

As I headed back home, with my beloved, I was overwhelmed with a pent-up frustration and tears flooded out. I felt as if I was being treated as a chest-pain, not at all as a person! When I got home the tears flowed even more freely and I declared that I wouldn’t bother with any of their b…dy tests. Being told that I’d failed to keep appointments at the psycho-fatigue unit, a false surmise, turned out to be the final straw that released all the pent-up frustration.

Ma Belle swiftly contacted the surgery to inform them how distraught I was after the appointment. A short time later I received a ‘phone call from the same GP I had seen earlier, as he wanted to understand why I should be so upset and, at the same time apologized if he’d misread the situation and seemed too business-like!

Early evening our doorbell rang – an unexpected visitor had arrived! The doctor, having finished his surgery duties, had in his own time called around to visit us and enquire what he could do to help! I was assured that he hoped to take a holistic approach and, he once again apologized for misreading the situation. Talk about going the extra mile! The visit ended most amicably and I will be seeing him again on Monday for a further twenty minute consultation.

Meanwhile I’m bracing myself for tomorrow’s early morning bloodletting session at the District Hospital.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

once more to the land of A&E

Yesterday morning I was feeling a little more shattered than is my norm but, I managed to remove myself from the duvet lair by 11.30. A brief bout of surfing the web provoked no enthusiasm so, I settled for applying Windows Update to sundry machines whilst listening to something or other on the radio.

Early afternoon, when ma belle and Beth had returned from a mini shopping spree, I prepared a griddled salmon, peppers and mushroom stir fry served with jacket potatoes but, during this (none too taxing) food preparation I began to feel a bit more jaded than usual, even becoming a little stressed.

At about 16.00hrs, I walked with ma belle to collect a prescription from my GP practice, approximately five minutes walking time; I found myself struggling to keep pace with Helen and, apart from aching lower limbs, I became a little breathless. Having collected the prescription the next phase was to drop it into the pharmacist whilst we went to the café a couple of doors along.

That’s when things began to fall apart; even the few yards walk seemed a daunting task as giddiness, breathlessness and a tight constricting sensation in chest and abdomen took control. My beloved took me back into the pharmacists where I found a seat and was proffered a glass of water. An overwhelming cloying discomfort through head, torso and limbs, briefly took control before I began to feel more settled. Meantime, ma belle chauffeuse had brought the car around to the pharmacy to run me back home.

This being the second time in a few days when I’ve experienced such un-nerving symptoms, it seemed a good idea to try to fix an appointment with one of the GPs in my practice. A doctor spoke to me, and ma belle, over the ‘phone and, he thought it imperative that I went down to A&E at the District Hospital.

I was really impressed by the efficiency and thoroughness of clerks, nurses and doctor in the department. I was sent through for initial assessment, BP check etc., within ten minutes of reporting at reception and was wired up for an ECG within thirty minutes. The doctor who examined me was extremely thorough, imbuing me with some much needed confidence, as he sounded out my chest and painstakingly examined the whole abdominal region. He inserted a canula in my arm in preparation for taking several phials of blood for testing, and then requested a urine sample.
The GP, who had suggested I attend A&E, had already checked with the department that I’d arrived and enquired how I was. My blood pressure was rather high (high blood pressure seems to be trending with me these days), even the diastolic had gone soaring, the first couple of times it was checked. Later, my blood pressure was checked again, this time in both supine and standing positions.

Once blood test results had been obtained the doctor returned and re-examined my abdominal region. As the blood tests were all clear he prepared me for discharge but, I then had to wait for some antibiotics to be dispensed as the urine sample had shown up an infection. Once again I must express my gratitude for a wonderful NHS and hope, campaign, and pray that the Tory plans to destroy it can be de-railed.

This morning, shortly after 9.00am, my GP rang me to see how I was. With such concern being shown, I am more than ever convinced that my transferring to the neighbourhood doctors’ surgery, from the one I’d been with since the 1970s, was totally fortuitous.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

early one morning

Friday morning, removed myself from the duvet lair at a markedly early hour which, viewed retrospectively, was a big mistake. Rather than my usual time of arising, some time after 10.30 - followed by a period of relaxation, this morning I was up and dressed before 9.00am in order to keep an appointment with my dentist. Apart from the unearthly hour, a further source of discomfort was a bout of diarrhoea requiring me to dose myself with loperamide before leaving the house.

Ma belle parked the car some five to eight minutes walk from the dental practice which, in the circumstances, turned out to be a further mistake. Long before we had reached my goal, an all enveloping sense of shatteredness set in, starting with the lower limbs. On arrival at the dentists, an urgent visit to the loo was necessitated, on return from which I was overwhelmed by the encroaching shatteredness, a painfully discomforting sensation of giddiness and general disorientation.

By this time I’d evidently become totally drained of colour, and the receptionist called for the dental surgeon to come through to reception. R, the dentist, decided it would be unwise to proceed with the current appointment and, she sat with me whilst my beloved went to collect the car, and bring it to the door, to chauffeur me home. Meantime, an afternoon appointment has been made for later in the month and, the dentist told me that if I feel at all unwell it’s alright to cancel even if it’s only five minutes before the appointed time.

It was the first time that this medical professional had ever seen me looking unwell, regardless of my sundry ailments; seems to be par for the course with any invisible illness. The only time that others encounter oneself outside the homestead is, by definition, on a better day.