Archive | 18:35

Trapped Wind Or Not Trapped Wind? That Is The Question

5 Dec

Image result for funny nhs memesIf there was no NHS, it’s not an exaggeration to say that I’d be writing this in heaven right now. Okay, maybe there’s a little exaggeration – as far as I know, heaven doesn’t have wi-fi.

I was lying in bed reading, three weeks ago tonight, when I had sharp chest pain on the left side. I did wonder for a moment, ‘Am I having a heart attack?’ but it soon passed and because there had been nothing weird about my arm, and no nausea or sweating, I realised it was trapped wind.

Over the following days I had some small sharp wind attacks but nothing like the first. Six days later, on a Tuesday morning, I was standing chatting to my friend Pam and I had another painful experience like the first, accompanied by a hot flush and then a cold sweat, and nausea. At the hot flush (menopause, obviously), I stepped outside into the rain to cool down, which explained the cold sweat. The nausea? Well, I had been thinking about housework.

I explained the horrible trapped wind situation to Pam and she urged me to get checked out, thinking of chest infections and pneumonia. That seemed a bit over the top for excess gas but, as it happened, I was booked in for a blood test for my cholesterol level at my doctor’s surgery the following morning. I did some research about chest pain that evening and every single website urged, ‘Tell a doctor!’

I didn’t really want to waste anyone’s time but I couldn’t get the website messages out of my head but, as I was there, I mentioned the chest pain to the nurse, who insisted that I ask to see the on-call doctor, who saw me within fifteen minutes and immediately referred me to the hospital as a precaution (I presented with conflicting symptoms), bypassing A&E and booking me directly into the Acute Care Unit at Stepping Hill Hospital.

The Hub ran me up to the hospital and I was quickly tested and blooded. The ECG showed ‘small anomalies’ and one blood test was ‘inconclusive’. I was re-tested and re-blooded and sent for a chest x-ray.

There was some waiting around, yes, but mostly for test results, all of which came back within an hour. The doctor suspected there was a blood clot on my lung (pulmonary embolism). A nurse injected me (painfully) with blood thinner (to dissolve any possible clots) in my stomach (I still have a bruise, two weeks later), and gave me one to take home to use the next day. I could not for the literal life of me inject myself but the Hub could and did, and that’s why I found myself screaming at him, unNike-like, ‘Just do it!’ when he was murmuring softly that ‘This is going to hurt, I’m afraid, sweetie.’Image result for pulmonary embolism funny

It didn’t hurt, despite the roll of fat he pinched firmly, as instructed. He jabbed instead of glided and there was very little pain and no bruising at all. Professional Nurse: 0, The Hub: 1, as far as he’s concerned. I reckon he stuck it into so much fat, it’s still floating around, lost without a clot to hiss in.

The hospital had me back on Friday for a V/Q scan, which is when gamma radiation is injected into the body to examine airflow and blood flow in the lungs. Yes, I was radioactive for a while there, and it had nothing to do with the Hub annoying me. After lunch (provided free of charge, both days), I had an echocardiogram – an ultrasound for the heart. That was ay-may-zing, to see my heart on telly, as it was beating in my chest. Wow, Just wow. I love science!

The result of all of this outstanding care is that I definitely have a pulmonary embolism – the pains in my chest were clot moving days – but our fabulous NHS caught it in time and I’m not going to die just yet (buses and absent-mindedness notwithstanding). Nor am I going to be bankrupted for the pleasure of not dying. I am being treated with medication and I have some follow-up appointments but, basically, it’s life as normal, and the bank balance is lighter only by the cost of a medic alert bracelet (if you cut me, do I not bleed copiously and have to be extra careful from now on?).

I have a wonderful husband who was there with me every step of the way (though he does like to needle me), despite his own ill-health. I made him stay home on the Friday, however, because he can just sit there, waiting (his M.E. allowing him to do little else), and I simply can’t. My Kindle felt unloved on Wednesday, when I was forced to talk to the Hub in the waiting room instead of reading; but was happy on Friday, as we idled away the time together between tests.

Our NHS isn’t perfect in everyday life – it can take weeks to get a non-urgent appointment – but in an emergency, there’s no better health care provider, and I have the breath in my lungs to prove it.

And finally…For several days afterwards, this song kept going through my head:

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