Friday, 6 May 2011

This Is The Road To Hell

I hate going into hospital. I'm needle phobic and the first thing they tend to do is take blood. The second thing they like to do is stick a cannula into your arm 'just in case we need to give you intravenous drugs'. My usual response goes something like this, 'here's a novel idea. Why not leave the cannula out until it is actually needed, saving the hospital some money and the patient unnecessary pain and stress?' This question usually leaves them completely dumbfounded and they tend to hover next to your bed not quiet knowing what to do. Those that have encountered me before don't even bother bringing the stuff near me now as they know what they are up against. I'm not an awkward patient or a demanding one but there are things I will put up with and there are things I definitely will not put up with. The criteria is whether I think it makes sense, if it doesn't and they cannot justify why they want to do something then it does not get done. Simples! Fortunately my medical team tend to share my philosophy so it is rare that we go head to head.

The first obstacle to overcome is the journey there, we live just off the M1 which is undergoing extensive road works at the moment. The speed limit is currently 50mph but we often end up doing significantly less for no apparent reason. Today of course, just because I DON'T want to get there in a hurry the roads are clear and we make it in just over an hour.

Things move fairly swiftly when I arrive with a bed ready and waiting. I have the obligatory blood test and ECG and am then sent down to x-ray. All within an hour of my arrival, a miracle in itself. Now of course we have the waiting game for the first set of results to come in and to see the consultant. I am given the lunch menu and from the rather horrible options choose lentil soup, fish and chips and fresh fruit. The one really good thing is that now you can bring your own laptop in and connect it to the hospital wireless network, excellent.

1630 and at last the consultant looms over my bed brandishing the results. On the whole things are not looking too bad but there is always one fly in the ointment and today it is my BNP (Brain Natriuretic Peptide) levels. This is a protein that is produced by the heart muscle when under stress. Normal people generally will have a result under 5, most people with PH range between 10 - 30, mine has hovered around 20 since diagnosed. Today mine was 215! The consultant was almost having apoplexy. Obviously the priority is to find the cause so I'm now down for a CT scan and yet another echo. These are booked for Tuesday morning, so I have been kicked out to wait on the solemn promise that I will do nothing but sit for the weekend. They are reluctant to commit to any form of treatment until the results of these tests are in but they are going to fast track them so I'll have them that day. Depending on what they say it will either be treatment or more tests. Whatever they do this is looking less like a quick fix.