Thursday, 28 August 2008

Fit for the knackers' yard?


Finally, yesterday, after around 11 years of having no access to medical services, I saw a doctor and to my utter surprise and enormous relief, he appeared perfectly happy to accept that the symptoms I've been experiencing for the last 13+ years are those of fibromyalgia ... to the point that he asked if I minded if he put that on my notes.

Frankly, I don't mind what he puts, as long as he accepts that there's something to investigate, because, in the exceedingly long story that ensued during all this time, as I explained to him, the worst part (above the considerable physical pain I've endured) is having been doubted and treated as a liar by my own family.

Better yet is that he gave me a piece of paper with the word fibromyalgia printed on it that I was able to wave under my mother's nose. She sniffed at the paper with an air of suspicion then denied ever doubting me - like once before, when she said, "Oh I believe you, but I want backup."

I'm sure you get the irony / contradiction. She still doesn't, but lets see if that's enough to satisfy her and if she's capable of treating me any better now.

Anyway, the doctor wanted to get some basic information about me on that first visit yesterday - none of my notes have materialized yet (if they ever do) - and he's sending me for some blood tests; cholesterol, sugar, etc., but his intention is that we take a holistic approach (how I LOVE to hear that word from a mainstream medic), work out a management strategy between us and then tick off the issues one by one (as I'd made it clear that I have a list.)

Nothing is simple, of course, because I have to go to Lymington Hospital for the tests (on Monday), on an empty stomach. It will take two buses and a taxi, the least it will cost is around £20.00 return (for the approx. 5 mile journey) yet, because of the bus times (the first from here is 10 a.m.), the earliest I can be there is 11.30 in the morning. A bit late to be still starving as the nice lady at the hospital, who made the appointment, kindly pointed out!

The way she asked "Fasting or non-fasting?" sounded funny too, like "smoking or non-smoking" used to sound, when you had a choice on flights! :)

Still, it should represent a step forward, provided I don't faint on the way.

One step forward, two steps back?

If people with health books had to be wary of misprints in Mark Twain's day, then someone with internet access to Wikipedia should be doubly careful that they don't kill themselves off twice as fast with misinformation today, but ....

The doctor also took my blood pressure (when I was younger, this had always been on the low side of normal), but yesterday, he said was a bit high.

Yes, I know that one relatively high result does not indicate hypertension, but unfortunately, both my father and grandmother had high blood pressure, so the chances it might also mean that in my case are probably increased.

Further, we know that hypertension is one of the risk factors for strokes, heart attacks, etc. And case reports have raised the hypothesis that nicotine patches may increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attacks to you), so it would appear (to my logic) that someone with hypertension who uses nicotine patches might have an even more increased risk of heart attacks.

(Yeah, yeah, someone with that predisposition who smokes would too.)

Taking that as so, this appears to support my theory that the chest pains I suffered last October when I used nicotine patches and that I thought might be a mild heart attack (I wasn't sure I wanted to believe me, but that opinion was based on the fact that I was taught about the symptoms of heart attack (a sensation of tightness, pressure, or squeezing) when I passed (the second person ever to pass with 100%, I might add) a first aid course with St. John's Ambulance), may indeed, actually have been a mild heart attack.

At the time, I put myself in the recommended half-sitting position with knees bent, tried not to panic and eventually the pain and constriction subsided and breathing became easier, but for a while there, it was damn scary.

What I didn't do was to get professional help, because, as is usually the case when one is alone, once I was capable of picking up the phone to make the call, the emergency seemed to have passed and, it wasn't until some time afterwards that I did the research to be able to put 2 & 2 together.

We shall see if there's any evidence, but this would explain a number of other increased symptoms I've been getting such as; sweating, light-headedness, nausea, palpitations, breathlessness (now I've given up smoking, where I wasn't before), weakness, and fatigue, so it's a tad worrying. 

'Spose I could save the health service money and shoot myself first!

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