Friday, June 09, 2017

on the mend and back again

Well, I’ve got to admit that my recovery after the arthroscopy was much quicker than I’d anticipated and, within three weeks I was back to being able to walk the dog on pavement, footpath and fields almost as before the operation. I have to use the assistance of a walking stick at present, but that was the norm until a year ago, but I’ve not had to don my knee supports. Yesterday afternoon, I had a follow-up appointment at the Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic at the District Hospital and was discharged back to my GP.

During the op they had discovered some degree of arthritis (which hadn’t shown up on the X-Ray), considerable wear and tear of the cartilage and some bare bone into which they drilled two small holes. Incredible what can be achieved through keyhole surgery and, I’m just grateful for our wonderful NHS which the Tories are still intent on destroying.

The only difficulty, if I can call it that, whilst at the hospital was a need to rush to the loo whilst waiting for the appointment; sods law timing of a side-effect from the antibiotics that had been prescribed, the previous morning, for a non-related ailment. It all adds a little (off-)colour to life’s already abundant tapestry.

Now, the back story to the antibiotics: Late on Tuesday afternoon I started to get pains in the upper abdomen, right under and along the rib-cage. At first this felt more like a dull bruise but gradually intensified to a more searing pitch but, I’d had a similar, not quite so acute, sensation a couple of months back which was resolved by a prescribed doubling up of my omeprazole. I’ve long been plagued by digestive and sundry bowel and abdominal problems so, I’ve become accustomed to spasmodic disconcerting abdominal pain and discomfort, alongside other chronic pain symptoms. During the evening this more intense pain seemed to spread into the right-hand side of my back, from just below the shoulder blade into the small of the back. The discomfort & pain reached such a degree, untouched by my usual painkillers, that I had to keep changing chairs, sofas, posture etcetera,  throughout the evening, in an attempt to alleviate each recurring moment of increased intensity.

On Wednesday morning, following a telephonic triage by a practice nurse, I was granted an emergency appointment with a GP. I was amazed, and relieved, that the doctor gave me such a thorough examination of over twenty minutes duration and, judging by my reactions to the examination, he suspected an infection of the gall bladder. The doctor also arranged for a nurse to take some blood samples whilst I was at the surgery and, prescribed a course of Co-amoxiclav. He also asked why I hadn’t gone to A&E the night before, although my beloved OH had suggested that. I explained that I felt A&E were already overburdened and I didn’t want to add to it. The docs response was “but you are really ill!” and, if I experience similar pains again I shouldn’t hesitate in getting down to the hospital.

Early on Thursday morning the GP phoned me to check up how I was feeling and informed me that the blood inflammation flags were rather high and, felt that we were on the right course of treatment. I have to arrange for another blood test in a couple of weeks. Once again, my thanks are due to, and gratefully proffered for, the NHS!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

the guilt trip of an involuntary social inactivist

As a life-long socialist*, I first joined the Labour Party in 1960 and, involvement in various campaigning groups on the internationalist/ social justice/ socialist spectrum swiftly followed. Unfortunately, health problems have, for more years than I care to remember, prevented me from participating in most party activities such as leafleting, canvassing, phone-bank duties. It has been only on very rare occasions that I’ve felt able to attend local branch meetings.

The reason for my non-participation is that I never know how my stamina reserves will play out on any particular day, part of the day, or even at times hour by hour. Although my general health has recently been better than it was in the first few years after collapsing and succumbing to ME, in 2003, I have to be very careful with my pacing.

I still find it difficult to cope with visits into the town centre, a mere 10 minute car or bus ride, and I have not managed to regain sufficient physical and emotional stamina to cope with the sensory assault of cinema, theatre, church, or concert-going. Indeed, I’ve rarely felt able to visit any art exhibitions, around which, for several decades much of my life seemed to revolve.

What prompted me to write this post is the intense guilt, and even anger, I feel when I receive e-mails enquiring whether I’m able to help out in the run-up to the general election. There are so many organizations whose aims I support but, I’m never able to commit to attending meetings, seminars and sundry proffered events; on a bad day it’s even difficult to respond to online surveys re campaigning on various issues.

The internet has proved a real life-line for me and, I love to know what issues are being campaigned on but, at present I’m contemplating unsubscribing form many of these mailing lists because of my recurring guilt at not being able to proffer my physical presence in support of these causes.

* I’m not kidding myself that the Labour Party is a socialist party, even though there are avowed socialists amongst its membership. I acknowledge that even under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership it remains essentially a left of centre social democratic party with a modest glimmer of democratic socialism.