[DWJ] experiences to avoid (was Books to avoid)

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Sep 5 15:58:15 EDT 2007

>Melissa Proffitt
>(it's been a really dull day)

Brighten things up: I didn't die...

:-) which is about as dire as it gets really, but just to give everyone the
whole story so that I don't feel guilty any longer about not telling people
what's going on.  I've posted much of this elsewhere, so anyone who saw it
there, apologies for the repetition.  I'm still a bit tired.

Anyone is entirely at liberty to ignore this, which has nothing whatever to
do with DWJ except that she's held me together a certain amount whilst it
was going on.

Before I say anything else I want to reassure everyone that I am not at
death's door nor as far as anyone can tell at any greater risk of collapse
or injury than anyone else who does dangerous things like making toast or
crossing a road.  That's truth-and-honour, so please don't anyone worry
about me.

The story is quite simple.  On 19th August (Sunday, of course!) I was alone
in a house in London just after lunch when I started to feel rather ill:
everything went round a bit, and when I stood up I was sick, fell over and
couldn't remember any numbers except the phone number of the house I was
at.  This was a bit of a nuisance because [a] my mobile with all the
numbers in it was downstairs, rather a long way away, and so [b] I couldn't
ring anyone.  After a long time I got myself downstairs, where I realised
that I was *horrid* and had to clean myself up.  So I rang the right number
in my cellphone and managed to tell the owner of the house (who was rather
a long way away) that I was ill and needed help, and then I ran a warm bath
and got into it.  (It all made perfect sense at the time!  I thought I had
food-poisoning, I think.)  About two hours after I had first fallen the
owner got back and found me in the bath keeping warm, realised that I
really was pretty ill (by this time I could only just speak) and called an
ambulance.  I got out of the bath by myself and then couldn't stand up.
The ambulance people got me through the house somehow, and to the hospital,
wrapped in a blanket -- which meant I had nothing at all with me, not even
my watch.  I seem to have given the hospital my mother's name, the
admission-date as my date of birth, a nameless GP at an address in Reading
that is the *name* of my GP's house in Bristol and a road that doesn't
exist, and a year of birth ten years astray anyhow, so goodness knows
whether they will ever sort out their computer: I gave up trying to do that
on about Wednesday and they still think I have a completely different
surname and at least two ages....

I was in 'recovery' or something on Sunday 19th evening for some time, two
or three hours perhaps, which seemed to me like several days -- I was
conscious for the whole thing but couldn't really speak.  (They say I was
'incoherent', ie that I didn't know what I was trying to say; I know
perfectly well that I knew what I wanted to say but couldn't remember the
words.  It isn't the same at all and is symptomatic of a completely
different disorder.  They still say this in spite of all I could do to
correct their error.)  Then I was moved to a ward and went to sleep before
midnight.  They did all the relevant tests and several that turn out not to
be, over the next couple of days, and decided that I didn't have meningitis
or encephalitis (?spelling?) for which they had started to treat me at once
just in case (which was proper, but nearly did for my kidneys: they started
to talk about renal failure only after that).  Apart from that and having
had a stroke I seem to be distressingly normal: blood-pressure and
temperature and brain-scans and so on were all fine before I left the
hospital, though I had ten superb bruises on my hands and arms from all the
dratted drips -- there was in fact nowhere left for them to insert any more
needles, by the time I left.

What had happened was simply that I had had a stroke, which is quite common
for people in their fifties (I now know of at least five cases over the
past twenty years, including my ten-years-older brother, all of whom are
still doing very nicely thank you), but I had one that was a bit more
serious than many, leaving me flat out and unable to walk or talk.  That
passed within 24 hours but by then I had hospital-problems, of course,
renal failure being the potentially-worst.  Until the Friday morning I was
on drips and all the hoo-hah, and at that point I finally saw a stroke team
(which I ought to have seen on the Monday) and it was clear they planned to
do nothing for me until the following Wednesday at the earliest.  Then they
theatened me with another drip, and I lost patience and signed myself out
on the Friday evening.  I had tried ringing several BUPA and Nuffield
hospitals on Friday afternoon but none of them wanted to take me on, it
being the Friday before a Bank Holiday, so in the end a good friend of mine
who lives near that hospital organised a bed for me in a ground floor room
near a loo, and I was removed from the hospital after walking its length
and back just to prove I could do it.

Which I can.  I'm fine, truly I am.  On the following Tuesday I went back
in for more blood-tests (all ok as far as I know) and that evening scored
402 at Scrabble, which seems to me to show that there wasn't much wrong
with me by that time apart from my being easily-tired.

I'm back in Bristol now, the family having returned from France on 31st,
and I'm lying up like an old badger growling at people and sleeping until I
get completely better, which there is every sign I will do in the fairly
immediate future.  I don't honestly think there is much scope for any
further medical intervention, since I have no symptoms that stroke-rehab
can help with (remember, I went through all this last year with my father,
and nothing that was suggested for him is even slightly relevant).  I just
need to rest.  I have promised faithfully that I will volunteer for
*nothing* until December at the earliest and take things easy, doing stuff
only when I am sure I am fit for it, and that really does seem to be all
that the medical team in the London place require of me.

And the GP in Bristol is unworried enough abvout me that he is going on
holiday until October in the confidence that I won't need him!

OK, normal service now resumes...

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