Category: Medical

Covid Vaccination

Three weeks ago I received my first vaccination for COVID-19 after receiving a text from my GP. A week later I received a letter from NHS England asking me to book my vaccination as I am a registered carer for someone vulnerable to Covid. Today I received a letter of the same ilk from the council’s carers department. Both letters mentioned that the person I care for (my husband) is vulnerable to Covid, however, M has not had his vaccination, and further to it all I have asthma which I have had from birth, and I also have a heart problem. Yes, I have had my vaccination, but only because I am a carer, and not because of my own health problems which happen to fit within the remit of the vaccination rollout.

When I went for my vaccination, one of the nurses who knows both M and me very well asked how M got on after his injection. I had to tell her that he had not had it, nor an invite. Needless to say, she was quite surprised but admitted that people were not getting invites when they should have had one. She assured me that she would speak to the surgery and get it sorted. A few days later she called and said she was having to fight with management over M and others that were missed off, but told me he was now on the list for the next set. The invite never arrived, and after getting my letter from the council I decided enough was enough.

As with anything official involving bureaucrats I knew it was going to be something that I had to fight for and was well aware that I would be sent on a wild goose chase. I called the GP surgery and after being in a queue that said I was number one, waited for 12 minutes to actually speak to someone. However, she was one of the surgeries “gatekeepers”. Unfortunately, most doctors offices in the UK have these gatekeepers who take it upon themselves to fob everyone off. I have had many arguments with these women who demand to know all the details of ailments as though they are the doctors, rather than booking the appointments as per their job description. (Before anyone decides to comment that I am wrong and they are doing their job, I have to stop you there as our surgery confirmed and published that the receptionists are not medically trained and when booking appointments you do not need to tell them about why you are booking it.). Anyway, I told the receptionist the reason for my call, she took M’s details and told me that he was not on any list and therefore would need to wait until they do 45 to 50-year-olds which will be some time. I questioned as to why there are no details on the system, and she informed me that I would need to get letters from the hospital for any appointments attended last year and send them into the surgery for them to look into it. I informed her that he had not attended the hospital last year as all appointments were cancelled due to the pandemic. she told me that if I could not do that I should call the NHS line and speak to them as it is them who decide who has their vaccination and when, but she had no records of underlying health problems. WTF!

Next stop NHS Direct. After going through 8 options I finally spoke to a lady who listened to me and tried to book the appointment. She told me that she could not as the system would not let her and that our GP surgery needs to correct their system to enable her to book it. I told her that the surgery had blamed NHS Direct’s side and said it was their records that were to blame. She assured me that their records are lead by the surgery and that they have “markers” that when the routines are run selects the people in those categories and invites them to have their jab. Feeling that I was getting another run-around I called the council’s carers line for advice. The lady was very sympathetic and told me in no certain words that M should have had his injection and that it is indeed the surgery who are to blame and that they had not coded M’s records properly, and I should call the surgery again and speak to the practice manager and refuse to give details to the receptionist as I would not get to the route of the problem.

Another call to the surgery to be told that the practice manager was in a meeting and she (a different gatekeeper this time) would try to get him to call me back. When I put the phone down I thought that I would not get a call and my request would be binned. However, I was duly surprised to get a call from the practice manager just 20 minutes later. So, on with my explanation to him, repeating everything I had said to all the others and telling of what I had been told by his reception to do, what NHS Direct said and finally what the council carers department told me. He looked into M’s records whilst I was on the phone and could see that something was wrong and he would speak to our new GP and get it all corrected. I told him what the nurse had told me and he said that she was one of the best members of staff and that she knew the patients very well and if she thought M should have been seen, then he needed to act on that too. I mentioned to him that our old GP who left the surgery was very rude about M getting a flu jab stating that those were only for people with cancer. When she said this to M I quickly corrected her and she finally backed down, however, M still had never received an invite for that either. He apologised that this too was missed off and admitted that M should also have been given the flu jab too each year especially in light of him being hospitalised with pneumonia, again, not recorded by the GP in question. I told him that the pharmacist next to the surgery had given M his jab each year and said that M was in the vulnerable group and that the surgery should have sorted this out. Again he apologised for all the mistakes and lack of professional conduct from our previous GP (who left in mysterious circumstances to a new life in Scotland) and promised to get everything corrected and went ahead with booking M in for his Covid vaccination.

Success!

Although I have condensed everything, the calls to all involved took me over an hour and a half. It is a sad state of affairs that we have had to fight for everything just because people cannot or do not do their jobs correctly.

Operation Outcome

Two week after my operation and I can confirm it has been a somewhat success. It is too early to say it was a complete success, as only time will tell once the healing is complete and the scaring has finished forming.

The procedure was to cut away all the scaring in my nose to make the airways wider, reposition my septum and repair the large hole in it. Not all could be done as the surgeon told me due to all the operations I have had on my nose and face, there was very little to work with, therefore she was unable to reposition my septum, most of the scaring was removed, but in parts it was left as the tissue was too thin. The good news was the hole was repaired, but again due to swelling etc., only time will tell if it worked fully. I have another appointment in February to see how it all is, and if I need a further more aggressive operation.

For me, being able to breathe through my nose is great and no more whistling through it.

Hospital Day

As I cannot drive after surgery I got a taxi to the hospital this morning. As it’s another county I ordered it to be early forgetting there the roads would be empty. As a result I was half an hour early and here at 7 am.

It’s going to be a long day I feel, so thankfully they have WiFi and I have my kindle with me.

My view is quite unremarkable though.

Operation

Back on 26th August, I talked about my busted nose, and how it all came to be. After the visit to the doctors, I finally got an appointment for the ENT department a few weeks ago. The consultant told me to tilt my head and she said without even looking properly “Yes, there is quite a large hole there”. I told her that the doctor did not see it, which she said that it was her job and she does this day in, day out, and chuckled. She then got the camera out and showed me the hole and all the scaring inside my nose from my many operations. Her diagnosis was that they would attempt to fix the hole by cutting and roughing up the edges so that it may knit on its own and repair the hole. All the scaring she explained needed to be cut out and made better and she would reposition my septum and with a bit of luck I will be able to breathe properly after it has all healed and the whistling will be gone, however, she did say that there could be a chance that it will not work, and if that is the case I will have a larger operation and they will remove nasal bone and do a more severe version of this along with new nasal tubes (of which I already have one).

Today it all started with a visit to the hospital for my pre-med. MRSI test, ECG, blood pressure, heart and lungs were all tested and details are taken of allergies and medication taken. I am to have a COVID-19 test on Saturday and then M and I have to isolate until I go for my operation next Tuesday. I was surprised by the isolation part, but I am not complaining as it means I can be well-rested before the operation. I have to be in the hospital for 7:30am which is a pain the in the arse as I will have to get a taxi there which will cost a fortune as it is 10 miles away in another county. M does not drive, so I have enlisted the services of my stepfather to collect me when I am able to go home, which should be early evening. They suggested that I should take the week off work, but I have had full reconstructive surgery and gone to work a couple of days later with my face in plaster like a hockey mask and stitches, and I had surgery a year ago on my face to remove skin cancer and was off just the day of the operation, so I will see how I feel.

Fingers crossed it all works.

Tinnitus

I have tinnitus and have had to for that many years, I don’t remember not having it. I put it down to too many heavy metal gigs and being far too close to the sound system they used. It could be that I had a walkman when I was young and played music too loud, but I think it was the rock concerts in all honesty.

I had seen on Instagram adverts for Flare Audio and their solution to help dampen the sound of tinnitus and also get rid of background noise. My sister bought them and her work colleague uses them and said they work. My sister does not have tinnitus, but works for a telephony service that answers phones for many companies, takes messages, orders and more, so they use headphones and these things are supposed to make the sound clearer. She gave me a discount code so I got them.

So far, I am not too sure about them. I can hear my tinnitus really loudly, but that may be because I am concentrating on it, also I do have days where it can be deafening. They do feel rather odd but are comfortable. I have had to adjust them a few times to get it right as the sound becomes muffled, but I can hear everything and it has got rid of a lot of background noise. I think it will be something that I have to get used to using and will give it a good go. They are comfortable and are not irritating me so far. I find that if I use earbuds after about 20/30 minutes I need to remove them as my earholes get sore and sweaty. Fingers crossed they show some improvements for me.

Hospital Visit…

A few weeks ago I had two “growths” removed, one from my face under my right eye and one on my chest. I had had them for a little bit and noticed that the one on my face was getting bigger. It was not bit at all, and most people did not notice it, but I did and that was all that mattered. The one on my chest was a funny brown colour and not like a regular mole. One of the GP’s at my surgery (not my regular GP) does minor surgery so I booked an appointment with him and off they came, but I have a lump on the right side of my face about 2/3cm from my right eye that he could not do as it was not a surface lump like the other two, but deep into the skin. The GP told me he would get me an appointment to see a specialist. Just over a week later I was booked into the private hospital to see a consultant in Maxillofacial surgery.

The hospital is only a 10-minute drive (very convenient) and is in the middle of several farmsteads, surrounded by trees turning gold in the autumn sun, and many many pear trees shedding their fruit. The hospital itself is state of the art and appointments always run on time which is a nice change from the overrun NHS hospitals. After being booked in and completing registration paperwork I saw Mr B. He examined the lump quite extensively and quickly diagnosed it as skin cancer, namely basal lymphoma/b-cell lymphoma. He assured me that it was nothing to worry about and he would perform surgery and remove it and I would be left with a few stitches where it was cut out, but as he is also a plastic surgeon the scaring would be minimal. The only thing that I was disappointed about was the scaring, as I do love a good facial scar, also I am a sun whore, but I guess factor 30 or 50 from now on.

I have had many operations in my life and have had 16 (over 8 years) just to rebuild my face including plastic surgery after having it smashed in when I was 17. Yes I picked to look this way ha ha.

I am just awaiting my appointment to go in to have the surgery now, which should be just over a week away.

6 weeks later…

I keep meaning to do a post, and then something comes up, and later I realise that I didn’t do my post, and think I will do it now, but manage somehow to get myself sidetracked and BOOM! Forgot to post again. I do not know what is going on with me. So, forgive me for my tardiness!

Fish…

Since last we “spoke” as it were, I finally got rid of my large tank in the lounge. Part of me was glad to get rid of it, and part of me was sad to see it go. The fish love their new smaller home and my Cameroon shrimp seems happy too. Although it was a great tank it took up quite a lot of room, being so massive. We have a unit that we moved into one of the halls when we got the tank, so that is now back in the lounge. My thoughts for getting rid of the tank was to move the smaller tank onto the said unit and get another small tank and finally do a nano reef tank. However, the cost of doing a reef tank is high. I have found a nano tank I like which is £150, but then I need a skimmer and a heater so that’s another £90. Add sand, live rock and all the other bits I need to get it started and I am close to £500 without even adding fish or coral. So, before I take the plunge I have downloaded and printed a book on the subject and intend to read it in full before I decided on what to do. Having spoken to a few people the jury really is out. Some say it is easier than tropical, some say get a large tank as a nano can have problems being small, and others rave on about nano tanks, so there is no real help chatting to others LOL.

I bought an external 12-litre canister filter for my other large tank which works like a treat, but today I added on an extra 2-litre filter canister to that. In essence, water is drawn out of the tank to the small sub canister then passed into the large canister and finally put back into the other end of the tank. I did manage to make a bit of a watery mess as I had not fastened one of the inlet pipes properly oops! I had lost a few fish over the last few weeks, so thought the canister filter would help sort the water quality out. It has UV inside so sterilises the water as it filters. The lighting I have on the tank also decided to die, only 6 weeks after it being exchanged after the first one died after 4 months. Thankfully the aquatic centre where I get most of my equipment and livestock were very understanding and spoke to Fluval who admitted there was a problem that they have now sorted out and to exchange it for me.

Dogs…

Harper with her Birthday monkey

It was Harpers 5th Birthday on Sunday. As always we took them to McDonald’s for hamburgers, then to the pet store so Harper could pick a toy, which this year was a rather large monkey, and two packs of balls. Needless to say, they both had a great time.

Knitting…

Thought about it, even mentally made a pattern for a hat for winter, but that was it, but it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?

Books…

I was reading The Massacre of Mankind which is a sequel to War of the Worlds and in the end, I gave up as it was so slow and the author was trying to write in the style of H. G. Wells but failed page after page. As most of my readers will know I love classical literature, so have no problem with ancient writing and old English, but this bad, if he had written it in current English it would have been a good read.

Outings…

I went to a joint Christening and Communion party a few weeks ago, got very drunk and had a ball.

Last week we went to Delamere Forest again, which for some reason driving there we managed to take all the wrong turns. I came off the motorway/highway onto the expressway in order to go over the Mersey Gateway Bridge, which when you get to the end of the expressway is straight over the roundabout, however, when you follow this, you end up in an industrial estate and nowhere near the bridge. It would seem the directions for the bridge do not exist, and when you get to the end of said expressway you turn left and ignore the signs. But as I managed to turn the wrong was we ended up back on the motorway heading in the direction of home. Time though was on our hands. My satnav said we would get there at 11:15 when we left home and although I managed to go on a long diversion of 20 minutes we got there at 11:22 thus proving that time travel can be achieved.

Education…

The degree is now on hold. I was so undecided about doing it that I thought it best to put the thought to one side until I was 100% committed to doing it.

General…

After returning from Ireland I had tests and a cardiac assessment done. My blood results came back reporting a lack of vitamin D, which is about right living so far north and the general lack of sun. But I also did not have enough of the good cholesterol either, but this could be due to coeliacs disease. The doctors’ office suggestion was to take vitamin D tablets and eat more oily fish etc. Luckily I found a company that sells vitamins on Amazon and they do a vitamin D that is 4000iu, and when you buy a product they thank you by letting you pick another one for free. I decided on Hemp oil tablets as they are for omega 3 and 6, so that’s the bloods sorted.

The scarecrow festival came and went, and I managed to take exactly zero photos of it. I mean, what is the point of having a great camera, living in the country, and having festivals if I do not record it? Answers on a postcard, please!

We bought new garden furniture, namely a table, chairs and a parasol, just in time for the monsoon season to hit us. Yes, my luck/timing really is in at the moment.

I have managed to have a few barbeques lately, between showers that is.

I finally took the leap into meditation after dipping my toes off and on into it over the last few weeks. I have joined Headspace for a year, and am finding it quite good and just have to add it into my daily routine.

In other news, I had a puncture in one of the rear tyres on the car.

So, how are you all?

Hospital Visit…

Yesterday I had to go for a gastroscopy, which I have had before, along with a colonoscopy.  I remember the gastroscopy being really unpleasant, however, a lot has happened to my body since the last one.  I have had my face rebuilt many times since I had it smashed in when I was 17, so medical procedures really are a walk in the park after that much plastic surgery, however, today was what I can only describe as frigging horrific.

It is an odd thing of mine, but I do not believe in medication etc., now let me explain as I know some medication you cannot avoid.  Every operation I have ever had, I have refused painkillers.  When I have had my plastic surgery or had my face rebuilt, which included nuts, bolts and inserts I have come out of the operation and when back in my room and the doctors or nurses come over and ask if I want pain relief I have always said no, not that I am a sadist, I just do not believe in me taking them, and I have the mindset of mind over matter, so I don’t take them.  I have tablets for my irregular heartbeat and don’t take them unless I really really need to and as soon as it regulates then stop them.

I went in at 8:30am and had all my records checked and then my obs were done.  At 9am I was taken in, and they sprayed a so-called numbing solution to the back of my throat, told to lie on my side then the camera equipment was shoved in.  Now, the thing I have a problem with is that in 2005 I had an operation that removed my tonsils, adenoids and my uvula, my throat was lasered too, but the downside was that the throat opening is small now, smaller than average and even my GP thinks it is far too small.  However, the surgeon decided that the opening was enough for him to do his work.  From the moment it went it I gagged, wretched, and needless to say, vomited bile and acid for the whole time until it was out again.  One of the nurses kept telling me to keep breathing out and not to hold my breath, which I can assure you I was not doing, vomiting and wretching were overtaking my body and I had no control over that.  Part way through I discovered if I press my tongue on the equipment and pushed it to the left then I stopped the vomiting and could breathe in and out as instructed, but the moment I managed to get myself composed he moved or pulled/pushed it and all was lost and the spasms, wretching and vomiting started all over again.

It seemed like it took forever, and when I did manage to control my body I could see the feed the cameras sent to the monitor of my insides.  He did remove some polyps, and apart from an angry looking inside I had no idea what I was looking at, or if it was the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum.

When it was all over I was relieved and asked if it was better or worse than last time, which I admitted it was better as I controlled it a few times.  But what I did not realise until I sat up, I could feel my eyes swelling, and on leaving the little theatre I went to the bathroom and to my horror could see my whole face had swelled up, my eyes were bloodshot, and my face was blotchy all over from the force and violence of the wretching etc. Today the marks are still there and I presume that I have burst blood vessels.

The surgeon told me that I have Barratt’s oesophagus, gastritis, and my hiatus hernia has got worse, and he could see the medication I had for it was not working and has sent details of what 2 different tablets I have to take to my GP along with gaviscon too.  Turns out the amount of acid my stomach is making is causing gastritis among other things.

So, my lifelong refusal of taking tablets looks like it is about to come to an end as I have to get this condition sorted or I could end with severe problems.  My stomach herniates quite a lot so the medication will stop that from being severe, so I guess that may be worth me taking them

M said that next time I should have sedation and even though the procedure is still very fresh and raw in my head (and my throat) I said I would still do it without just to get it over and done with, and not have to stay in the hospital for more time that I need.

When I left after a cup of water and a cup of tea, that they insist you drink I went to the machine to pay for the carpark and my ticket was not working, so had then to find an attendant.   Eventually, I found a man called John, and after a chat, he gave me a pass to get out of the carpark for free, so that finally made me smile.

40 Years Wasted

When I was little, I was diagnosed with having eczema.  Over the years, it has come and gone but mostly stayed about causing me bother with my hands, which is where it tends to be.  Today, however, I went to the GP and she informed me that due to the fact that it is on the palms of my hands it is not eczema and is, in fact, psoriasis.

My first thought was “what a waste of treatment over the years”.  The amount of time, effort and money I have put into treating my hands, which by most accounts have not really reacted to the treatment, but instead split even further.

I know it is not life threatening, but having constant split, bleeding cut hands that never seem to heal has been a bit of a blight.  I have not been able to enjoy some of my pastimes due to it, and general things like washing the car, doing the gardening, general cleaning have all been marred because I was wrongly diagnosed.

I am happy that finally something may work, but, just in case I am keeping an open mind until I see an improvement of the whole thing.

Hospital Visit

So I went to the hospital to see the physiotherapist and whilst there I told her that I had been suffering for about 8 months.  She asked if my GP had sent me for an x-ray, which she hadn’t.  The physio decided that I needed an x-ray, but rather than send me next door to the radiology department, she decided that I had to get my GP to refer me (again) to the hospital and then get the x-ray.  She said that it would be faster, however, after speaking to my surgery, they said about 6 weeks.  I have fractures that have been bothering me since Feb/March, and still have to wait.  The NHS is totally up the wall, and it would seem that no one knows what they are doing.

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