Typical NHS! That was the general chit chat at my rheumatologist appointment on Friday. My appointment was one hour overdue with little going on in the background or so it seemed! I was drawn in to a conversation with a lady who sat right next to me, Y'know the type? Seemed okay at first and then you got the entire history without pause for breath. I'm not an uncaring person and I consider myself a good listener most of the time but, please! isn't there a time and place for everything? The last thing I wanted to hear was a biography of her life from birth to 59 -- I drew a line under mine aged 40 and if that wasn't enough, she happened to have CREST going in depth detail of every symptom. I watched the door to the doctor's room very tentatively and longed for my name to be called, all I wanted was to be left alone.
I'd made it to Manchester in quite some discomfort. I had a chest infection, a bad back and felt totally nauseous. I was wilting by the hour and when I finally got my call I felt really sick. The lady who had chewed my ear off was already in the consulting room as I was shown into a cubicle and I could hear her pleading with the rheumatologist--- about what I'm not sure, but the rheumatologist sure seemed keen for her to leave -- just my thoughts exactly.
I was stripped to the waist, cold and feeling like I needed to be home rather than right there at that time. My rheumatologist entered the room with her usual armful of reports and an entourage of guests and greeted me with the usual "How are you?" Now do I say ''Awful'' at this moment or generally. I opted for ''Not good'' and with that they all gathered round like bullies in the playground. She noticed almost straight away the colour of my fingers and toes and then heard my rattling chest as I breathed in and out. I just knew from her expression that I was in for a good prodding and numerous tests --- I was right!
I suppose an X Ray was just what I expected but the comment from the doctor was unexpected. "Can you stay with us over the weekend, that chest sounds like you need something stronger than prescription medicines". I was heading for pneumonia and I had the beginnings of pleurisy. I kind of knew with my back aching and feeling nauseous that this was more than just a cold but I was resolute in going home and going home is exactly where I went with the strongest dose of antibiotics they could legally give me. I'd just rid myself of a terrible chest cold and here it was back with a vengeance. Of course I didn't tell her that I was digging in the garden at weekend and putting in my radish, nor did I tell her that I'd been chasing geese around the garden and doing all the things you ain't meant to when you're ill and that was probably the cause of my illness not just the common cold.
I've lost a further 7lbs in weight which made her eyebrows come together as she slid her intelligent spectacles down the length of her nose. Again my fault entirely since I've reneged a bit on my nutrition, carrying round a heavy rucksack housing liquid feed all day does nothing for my street cred! But more so my inability to drag this bag around with a bad back and not feeling A1. Okay so all this is my fault and I don't mind taking the blame at least it kept me out of hospital and I'm content to stay home with my woes.
Glad to say that today I've turned a corner and I actually feel human again not like some experiment. I think I have the mix right and my chest feels 98% better -- note I didn't go the whole hog. Tomorrow might see this infection running for it's life I hope so.
As for the out come of my rheumatologist appointment, Y'know I don't have a clue? I think I go back in 6 months but then again who knows?
I arrived home safely with my little bag of liquid antibiotics. There to greet me at the gate was 9 hungry geese and behind them, carnage! They'd had a merry old time whilst I was away. There was muck everywhere. My lovely hanging baskets which I'd left carelessly on the floor -- were no more. I closed one eye and squinted through the other as I looked into the garden and sure enough there wasn't one flower head left, even the plastic pots didn't escape the wrath of those critters! I screamed ,"What have you done?" Silly thing to say really when the evidence was all around. They answered with their annoying Honk! then they hissed at me as if to say, "There that's what we've been up to whilst you were away".
Seems like I can't leave this place without paying for it in some way or another so all in all it was a pretty lousy day! I'm too hard on myself at times -- I know it! I should give myself some respite but I'm afraid it might amount to self pity which I would hate. I'm sure that others with a chronic illness feel the same -- give in and you might as well -- er give in!
To the wide world we seem and look okay but in reality what is okay meant to be?
Okay to me is a day when I can do things I couldn't yesterday, or is that just an improving picture? Okay to some it's interpreted in different ways and on the balance of things I'm doing okay in some ways.
Life with a chronic illness is never boring and the line from Forrest Gump if you ever saw the film was..... Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get! For me that's just how I feel from day to day, still if all I ever get is the soft one's the hard one's can stay in the box!
Here goes with my first dose of antibiotic. Please work and I promise I'll be good this week.