Friday, April 18, 2008

Bed time surprise

Pleased with my efforts on Wednesday evening, but feeling a bit like I'd overdosed on coffee, I decided to check my blood presure, which I haven't done for a month or so, and was shocked to discover it was abnormally high - so much so, I checked several times, and on each arm, to rule out machine error. Puzzled and disturbed, I went up to bed, and after urinating blood, I was doubly astonished to start a heavy nose bleed from both nostrils. It was proving impossible to control, so I insisted that Clare take me up to the Heath hospital, since nose bleeding has been associated for me with other blood pressure surges in the past. No point in risking a stroke by doing nothing.

We had to wait three quarters of an hour to be seen, but at least the bleeding had stopped by the time I was admitted to what turned out to be an intensive systematic medical examination, by a series of aimable and cheerful (considering it was three o'clock in the morning by this time) nurses, doctors and radiographers. Finally I was placed on a ward where I got a few hours sleep and breakfast before further x-rays and blood samples were taken. I couldn't have been more impressed with the considerate treatment I received, the stage by stage explanations, and the good humour. The outcome? Well, most likely a tiny stone moving, resulting in the unblocking of a vessel in my left kidney. By mid morning my blood pressure was nearly normal and urine clear. They'd run out of tests they could do without putting me in an appointment queue, and were happy to release me. I can expect to return within a few weeks for a CT scan, and an internal scan of the bladder - just to be on the safe side. But, at least it meant I was able to attend the legendary Buena Vista Social Club concert in St David's Hall, a birthday present to me, doubly enjoyable under the circumstances. Music to smile by.

I've not been sleeping well for several weeks due to neck and shoulder pains - the aftermath of my little skiing accident in January, though thankfully it's improved with therapy. I've been feeling ever so slightly under the weather, mildly poisoned is how I'd put it, but not enough to make me go to the doctors. Now I know why - one kidney less than usually efficient due to this small blockage, and hopefully nothing else. After the best night's sleep at home I've had for a while, I'm already feeling better than I have for a while. My GP doesn't care how well I feel, however. He's ordered me to take a fortnight off to recover properly, and not throw myself gratefully back into work as I am wont to do. He's right really. There are lots of other dangerous possible causes for this little incident that have to be ruled out by completion of the investigation. I just have to let go all my worries and relax, if I know how.

It's strange that I had so little pain or discomfort through the build up to this incident. Just lucky, I suppose. Although with hindsight, that dull ache in the lower left back area where he kidney is located, at the end of a long car journey can no longer be attributed to old age muscular discomfort caused by the seats in our trusty old jalopy.The seat merely pressed upon a soft place with an underlying vulnerability. The car now feels much more comfortable than it did a couple of days ago.

I'm not quite sure what I'll do with two weeks sick leave. I suppose I could now turn attention to regaining a decent measure of physical fitness, by running and swimming and losing weight. I've been putting it off for a good while, owing to this slight feeling of to being quite right, under par. As it turns out, probably an in-built inertia, defending a wonky kidney more strain. All things work together for good, I guess.

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