Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Health and sickness

Yesterday I finally had a consultation that should have happened months ago, and the results were all good. But getting to that point made me feel really quite unwell, and that was despite the fact that I wasn’t, in fact, unwell. It was all because of a weird coincidence of events.

The appointment at the cardiology department at the hospital yesterday was supposed to have happened last October but, for some reason, it didn’t. It was about the time of the junior doctors’ strikes, so maybe that affected things. And, there was weird confusion about it, as I mentioned in the last update.

In the week or two leading up to the appointment, I began to get more anxious about it: What if they found something was wrong? What if I was getting bad again? I think this is the reason I had trouble sleeping the couple nights before that, which I mentioned on Monday.

The particular reason I got worked up about it was some coincidences: First, at the end of that day I had a meeting—a meeting for the same group that was meeting the first day I was in hospital, and I had to send my apologies because I obviously couldn’t attend the meeting that night in August. If the two events hadn’t both been yesterday, I may not have had the very real reminder of what it felt like nine months ago.

But in the months since then, particularly after I was able to stop taking the Clopidogrel (blood thinner), I began to wonder, how would I know if things were getting bad again? I didn’t know it was happening the first time. I worried about that, sometimes too much, and always forgetting that I see my doctor every three months, so it’s not like I’m going unmonitored.

It turned out, there was probably no need for worry. The first thing they did when I got to the hospital yesterday is do an ECG, and the results were normal. It was a bad ECG that sent me to the hospital last August, so this was both significant and a major relief.

After meeting with the staff, it turns out that I’m mostly doing very well. In my last update, I also mentioned my blood test results, and we went over those yesterday. Turns out I was right: My cholesterol levels are really good (I’m supposed to have considerably lower levels than a person who hasn’t had my problem). My low “good” cholesterol is a problem, but it turns out there are a lot of reasons why that could be happening, and they seemed less concerned about that than I am.

However, they want to increase the dosage on my blood pressure medication again. My blood pressure is in a range that would be acceptable for a man my age who hasn’t had my health issue. The dosage was last raised in March, and it has come down, but not enough. So, I’ll soon start a higher dosage, then, if I tolerate it and it doesn’t lower my blood pressure too much, I’ll get blood tests ten days after starting to make sure I don’t have signs of kidney damage from the higher dosage.

So, things are going well, really, and once my blood pressure stabilises it means I’ll actually be better than an unaffected man my age: I’ll have lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. That’s kind of ironic.

All of this was true despite my worry, something I intellectually knew would be the case, but feared would not be. But now that I’ve finally had the consultation, and knowing that I see the doctor every three months, I know that I’m still fine, and that’s ultimately what matters. Well, that and keeping it that way.

Finally, today is nine months since my hospital adventure, something I was also aware of leading up to yesterday, as well as th efact that yesterday was nine months since I found out I was getting a stent, the day after I arrived at the hospital in the back of an ambulance. It all added another layer of coincidence to yesterday. But there was one more thing about yesterday that was good: I left the hospital with no bill. Just like always.

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