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A different evening - Echoes of Flavio's Ghost Dreaming
A different evening
Yesterday I spent an interesting, if rather different, few hours at the A&E of the UCL Hospital. Nothing majorly wrong with me (hopefully, knock on wood) but .. bear with me.

I had been feeling a collection of weird, disparate symptoms for a few days. Extreme fatigue, some spells of dizziness over the week-end, at times a slight burning sensation when breathing in, an ever-present taste/smell of something.. chemical (only later I thought it might be blood). It wasn't getting better and yesterday morning I spat a big spoonful of blood (which is a bit worrying) so yesterday I went to my local surgery. I know that to be seen on the same day you have to be there first thing early in the morning but I couldn't do that, so I went as soon as I came back from my teaching day in Watford. The receptionist (if that's what they're called) tells me she can only give me an appointment for a week and a half hence. Then she asks what's wrong with me. I told her. She told me to wait there, went in and out came a female doctor telling me off for not having gone first thing in the morning and turning up when there were no appointments available. She asked me to follow her in. So I did.

I explained my symptoms to her, she asked me lots of questions, took my blood pressure, examined my tummy, chest, etc then phoned UCLH telling them that she had a male, 60, non -smoker, HE'S NOT AN ALCOHOLIC (she did stress that), vomiting blood (cue sound effects of flavio in the background going 'but.. but.. I didn't..) and sent me on my way to get examined at the A&E.

Once there, I didn't have to wait long before having to answer the same questions again to one doctor, then another one, while having my blood taken, x-rays of my chest done, blood pressure taken again in a variety of ways and a few other things. This whole thing didn't take more than half an hour, perhaps three quarters. Then I was told to go in a cubicle and wait for the results. Which meant two hours of waiting, feeling that I was wasting NHS time while seeing vastly more serious situations around. Eventually (with some prodding) one of the doctors turned up again with his boss (his words) who asked yet more questions (there seemed to be a Chinese whispers effect in that the story changed and got more dramatic as it was retold from one of them to the next) and was told that there was nothing major wrong with me but 'do go to your GP if you still feel ill'. The whole episode took from 5 pm to 9:30.

I did find out, out of this, that I have high blood pressure (historically I always had slightly too low BP but of course I'm not that young any more..) and have to do something about it. They didn't find out what the blood and the other symptoms were about; I have the feeling that they are not really connected but have different sources.

Also, I was wondering, with all the 'he's a male this age but is not an alcoholic, does not smoke' thing, whether you get treated differently if you do smoke and drink -I expect you get the whole wagging of moral finger and guilt applied liberally to you.

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zenithed From: zenithed Date: March 28th, 2013 12:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guess the risk factors like smoking affect their differential diagnosis. Would hope they wouldn't get too preachy about it, but I suspect it depends who you get on the day.

Hope you're feeling better now at any rate.
flavius_m From: flavius_m Date: March 28th, 2013 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Some of them were getting preachy even though I was saying I didn't smoke, didn't drink much. I suspect they take a look at me at my age, with my general physical look and long hair, dressed in black, boots, etc and think to themselves 'nah, he's lying'. But I am pretty sure the moralising finger wagging is not an effective way to persuade heavy drinkers/smokers to quit, in any case.

I've booked a dentist's appointment as well as I suspect it may be related to my disastrous dental history.
zenithed From: zenithed Date: March 28th, 2013 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah yeah, in that case sounds like getting a dentist to take a look is a plan. Glad it looks like everything else is alright.
erming From: erming Date: March 28th, 2013 12:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ouch, get well soon and look after yourself. There are a lot of people who wouldn't like Flav to be ill!
flavius_m From: flavius_m Date: March 28th, 2013 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw thanks!:)
androktone From: androktone Date: March 28th, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
You do get treated differently if they think it is at all your fault. When Steve had cancer for ages they were convinced that his symptoms were drug related since he was so young and we both looked alternative, and treated him very roughly until he got his diagnosis, after which it was all "poor darling, how can we make you comfortable?".

Hope you're felling Ok now, sometimes you can cough blood because you've damaged a single blood vessel somewhere which is not a huge deal, sometimes it can be a symptom of pleurisy or TB. If you're going to get either best do it quick while the antibiotics still work!

Hope you're keeping yourself warm and may I recommend a meal of tomato soup, followed by ribena squash made with hot water and night nurse to follow - we've had flus loads this winter and this has got us through with no days missed off work!

flavius_m From: flavius_m Date: March 28th, 2013 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
he, thanks! Not sure about the tomato soup (I really don't like tomato soup; I do eat quite a bit of tomato in salads and sauces but not soup), but the rest may be useful:)

I'm feeling ok -all the odd symptoms are there but not the extreme tiredness. I suspect it's different, unrelated things that just happened to happen at the same time. They took x-rays of my chest at UCLH, amongst many other tests -I don't believe I have anything like TB as I would show other symptoms that are not there, but better safe. By the time of the appointment with the doctor next week she should have the results of al those tests, anyway.

I suspect the blood may have been a ruptured abscess that I had not been aware of -I have terrible problems with my teeth and gums, which can only really be sorted out by the intervention of large amounts of money; in the meantime, plodding on with my dentist -Didier, who you might know as he used to go to the Dev a lot back in the day. I have booked a dentist's appointment for next week.

I was also told I have high blood pressure, which I wasn't quite expecting as I always had very low (at the lowest end of normal) BP. That will need to be dealt with, of course.
scifi_mel From: scifi_mel Date: March 29th, 2013 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad they were able to see you and treat you seriously even if they weren't able to figure out what was going on. Is always best to check.
flavius_m From: flavius_m Date: March 29th, 2013 12:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree!
anita From: anita Date: April 6th, 2013 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope you get better soon! Sometimes doctors are more lost than we.
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