Tag Archives: Doctor

A brief interlude


My recent crankiness, unreliableness and remoteness can all be put down to one cause:

Headaches.

I am like a full on headache-monster. With angry red smoke billowing from my nostrils and everything.

The latest spate started in about October. It’s now July. I am demented. My gut feeling is that it was a sinus infection that set it all off. I don’t go with my head feeling anymore. It tends to lead me down the path of confusion.

I got a cold. A regular cold. As did most of the members of my family. Except, everyone else was blowing their noses and, you know, just generally increasing the value of tissues. Where as, I, only had a slight sore throat and sneezed a couple of times.

Everyone rejoiced, “Mum is fit and well!”

But I panicked, somewhat. I increased my inhalers and bought shares in Sinupret. Because, from past experience, I’m well aware, if it doesn’t stream out of my nose like a gushing river then it either clogs up my lungs or my head.

I continued to breathe easily but I stopped thinking straight.

I shoved sprays up my nose. Washed Sinupret down with gallons of water and rubbed peppermint oil on my temples and forehead.

The latter sometimes served as a welcome distraction, as the oil has a nasty habit of running from the aforementioned forehead into the eye.

And that burns baby.

Enough to make you forget you ever had a headache.

But it lacks longevity. So, it’s by no means a cure.

I fought on with nose showers and steam inhalations and raw garlic.

I am a truly horrible patient. I hate being ill. It stifles my get up and go. And without my get up and go, I’m a right old mess.

So I battled my ‘cold’ and I won. But soon enough I realised that I’d only won a battle and not the war.

I apparently got attacked by one cold virus after another and it seemed like my sinuses got more and more stuffed and the company who make Sinupret had to weaponise me with stronger, more kickass versions of their product.

I knocked back painkillers like an addict. Though I wondered if they did any good at all.

I saw doctors, of course.

They cheered me on in my endeavour and handed me prescriptions that made no difference. At all.

So, I visited a specialist in June, she smeared cold, slimy gel all over my cheekbones and my forehead and told me she could see nothing. At all.

Apart, that is, from a large cyst in the sinus cavity which she reckoned would not be responsible for such continuous pain.

She informed me that there are cavities she was unable to see with her machine and that I would need an MRI.

I asked her for medication. She declined.

I told her Ibuprofen doesn’t seem to help. She said, “No, it wouldn’t.”

We called all the radiologists within 50 miles but none could bang magnetic waves around my head for more than six weeks.

I despaired. I whined. I ordered my husband to learn acupressure from the internet and he, in turn, dented various areas on my head, face and hands. The relief was minute. Even trivial.

I threatened my head, that if it didn’t stop bloody hurting, I would bash it off a wall. It didn’t listen.

There was one other thing that the specialist had mentioned. My neck.

Now, my neck has been a regular source of headaches for me over the years. I’ve repeatedly had physiotherapy. It’s one of the areas I carry my stress, along with my shoulders and my jaw. But also a physio had once told me that the first vertebra in my neck wasn’t sitting correctly, which would lead to me suffering repeatedly from headaches. One of Joni’s friends had been having migraines and had been for a procedure known as ‘AtlasPROfilax‘. Her headaches had been cured but she remained sceptical about the procedure.

For one thing, it costs 220 Euros. That’s £153. Or $238.

But my husband persuaded me.

I was given an appointment, fairly quickly, and my husband drove me there. I had reached the point where I could no longer drive the car. My concentration had gone and I felt like a liability to other drivers.

The first thing that got me excited was the sofa. I kid you not: it was made of recycled cardboard. Here it’s here. Isn’t it brilliant?

It distracted me from my nervousness. For a wee moment. But that was all I needed, because then the physio invited me into his treatment room. I dragged my husband in to assist me with decision making.

During my many years here in Germany I have met many, many doctors, nurses and therapists. But it would be fair to say I’ve never met any quite like this one. He felt, to me, to be more like a salesman than any kind of therapist.

My husband is a pessimist and was also the one carrying the wallet so the holistic ‘healer’ knew he was the one who needed to be convinced.

I was told to stand up and things were pointed out about the way my feet pointed, that one shoulder was higher than the other and the like. If I remember correctly, he also noted that one boob was larger than the other. I’m sure that was the case, because I have a vague memory of wondering how appropriate such talk was. I was living in a land of fuzz and confusion at the time, so I may actually have imagined that part of the conversation.

My husband announced that he couldn’t really notice the minimal difference in shoulder height and that it was regularly the case that one boob would be bigger than the other.

It could be that I attempted to block that last bit out and that is the real cause of my confusion. I am a jealous gal. And I bury my head in the sand about previous relationships my soul mate has had.

The two men chatted on. I was made to lie on the bed, on my tummy, with my legs up in the air. Supposedly a pen was balanced on one of my feet. I turned my head to one side and then the other. My feet moved too, and so the pen was never aligned with the other foot. I didn’t feel anything I just did as I was told and begged inwardly that someone or something would cure my damned headache.

I would describe myself as a realistic optimist. I am an optimist but I also like to be realistic about things. So I glanced around for some sign of science. The healer/physio/car salesman – whatever you want to call him –  showed us the bone, called the atlas, which your head sits on and keeps the rest of your spine aligned (or something like that) with one of those plastic skeletons on a stand that doctors have. He told us, when we are born, it’s already misaligned. He told us that is the case for everyone and that everyone needs to have this procedure done.

Now, I know that I told you that I’m an optimist. But this was the moment when my inner pessimist started to kick in. Everyone? He babbled on about evolution.

That was it. That was the science. The remaining 20 minutes or so, he ‘sold’ us evidence of his healing ability by telling us about various local doctors who, along with their families, had come for AtlasPROfilax at his clinic. He even dropped in a few names in order to convince us.

I should probably mention that he did also look at my neck for a few seconds.

I asked him what the procedure entailed and to my horror he pulled out a patented tool, which, I thought looked rather like a poking vibrator, and told us, quite excitedly that this tool vibrates (I wasn’t really surprised by that point) which softens the tissue and muscle around the atlas so that it can move into the correct position, from which it can never move again.

Then he asked us a question, befitting a true salesman:

Do you trust me?

Now had I been fit and well…

Had he had a healthy specimen standing there before him…

Had I not been driven to the point of no return by a raging headache…

I could have stomped on his foot, told him to shove his obscure looking vibrator, yelled at my husband to grab the sofa while I nabbed the very cool plastic skeleton (for educational purposes, naturally). In order to to teach him about the consequences of conning all of those doctors and that 91 year old female patient he told us about. And about the importance of data protection.

I wanted to shout, “Why the hell would I trust you? You just broke medical confidentiality! I would be a complete lunatic to trust you!! I don’t want you anywhere near me with your vibration rotation contraption!!! You just insulted my boobs you cocky scoundrel!!!!”

Instead though, I just said, “Do it!”

I was that desperate.

I can tell you there was nothing soft or soothing about the treatment. My neck was intensely beaten by a pokey vibrator. In fact, in the days that followed it was clear to me that I had some internal bruising.

He made me stand again and strangely one of my feet seemed to stand naturally straighter than before. He did the pen test again and apparently, no matter how I turned my head, my feet stayed in the same position and therefore were always aligned with the pen.

I went to the receptionist who insisted on a cash payment. I was given a receipt from a copy book that could have been bought at any stationers.

Which all, of course fuelled my inner and my husband’s outer pessimists.

But within a couple of days my headache was gone.

Gone, I tell you. GONE.

And it stayed away for about two weeks.

Then I caught a bloody cold again.

But I have a free, follow up appointment in two days. And my MRI is now only just over a week away.

I’m feeling distinctly optimistic.

Vibration rotation anyone?

 

 

They bloody lied to me, life does not begin at forty!


So this is my present state of play. Just in case you should want to know it.

Starting from my scalp:

My scalp is somewhat tight because in an effort to keep my hair away from my neck (you’ll learn more about that later), I have bundled my crows nest fake auburn tresses upon the top of my head. My saving grace, in that department, is that I have a bright, shiny, new scrunchy, which really is something to get excited about when you have four kids and are a little more than forty years old.

I look a little like a scarecrow.

With extra straw.

Following downwards my brain is stuffed. Not with the lovely brains and wisdom of my fully spent youth. But with good old fashioned snot. Lots of it. I’ve tried blowing it out. I’ve tested setting it free with a nasal spray. I’ve attempted to shower it out with a nasal irrigation device, but at best, I only dripped. I’ve even done my utmost to pump it into oblivion with a special sinus attachment for my nebuliser; but to no avail.

So my head? It hurts. Somewhat.

My eyes are actually fine. Well, with the exception that I need to take my glasses off in order to see something that’s right there in front of my face.

I’ve discovered, on kissing my husband goodnight, that he is indeed quite a handsome fellow.

My nose is very dry. And bright red.

I have recently heard the name Rudolph being brandished about…

My skin is peeling, especially on my face. It seems to be some kind of wicked side effect to my immune suppressants. I’ve plateaued at a kind of flaky-old-lady with a chaffed look niveau.

I have attempted to replenish the skin with various lotions and potions but my now immune suppressed body reacts with a fiery, burning wrath rash when I do so. So, I’ve resolved to stay flaky and remember back to yesteryear when it seemed, somehow, like being called flaky was some kind of compliment.

My neck. Ah yes my neck.

Yesterday, it was fine. Although my shoulder was attempting to be a little troublesome…

Then this morning, it complained (a lot) that I had slept wrongly in my bed.

I gently turned it this way and that. I told it, that we were finally out of bed and that, really, it doth protest too much. I promised it a nice warm scarf and a massage.

Then I sneezed.

One almighty sneeze.

And ever since that moment, I have looked like someone shoved a plank up my back as I can now only manoeuver with my whole body when turning to my right.

Hence then my crows nest; it’s the only possible way to stand a chance of the heat patch glue actually staying glued to my neck. That and the quadruple insulation scarf I have wrapped seventeen times around it.

My shoulders are now okay. Ish.

But my lungs? Well, er, let’s keep it short and just say they are competing on the whole mucus front thing.

Glad tidings from my throat though, considering how much I’ve been coughing, my throat is feeling fine. I suspect that’s down to the incredible volume of onion juice and honey I’ve been knocking back.

A little point of interest: my boobs are south facing. South facing!! How did that happen?

Fuck!

Anyway, my hips, ah yes, my left hip twinges. You got it: Twinges.

And my stomach, well, it feels a little nauseous, but, to be honest I’m putting that down to the incredible volume of onion juice and honey I’ve been knocking back.

My lovely Crohn’s bowel? It loves immune suppressants (in stark contrast to every other body part I own) so it’s absolutely fine and dandy.

Though, (and this information I only normally give out on a need to know basis), my bottom cheeks are continuously clenched together, nowadays, in an attempt to maintain a grip on my bloody grapevine otherwise known as my piles.

My left knee is trying to convince doctors that I was some kind of heroic sportswoman, with a pretty array of meniscus tears. But I’ve told them, quite emphatically, I generally stuck to gentle walking. Albeit I did tend to cover large distances, seeing as I am a woman and not a feminist one at that. Therefore, I can freely admit that I cannot park. Not to save myself. Which in turn means that I have always had to abandon my vehicle in the largest possible space I could find. Of course, that then has always happened to be the space that is furthest away from my desired destination. And I also have a tendency to forget where I parked my car, in that good old flaky spirit of mine, so that has, on many occasions led to some gentle strolling too. Not gentle on the nerves, mind you. There was, at times, quite a lot of shouting. And some swearing too. But I doubt that either of those things would have affected my left knee.

And while I’m bearing my soul; my right knee is sympathizing.

Which I don’t need.

I’m quite capable of feeling sorry for my left knee all by myself.

Don’t be thinking that I’m body-sidist, but what on earth is going on with my left foot?

It has some strange lump on it that doctors insist on poking, with an unnecessary fury and injecting concoctions into which has not improved matters in the least.

But the good news is: we live in modern times.

I joked with my daughter, the other day, “By the time you bury me I’ll be half plastic.”

My husband, who apparently still loves me, despite my decrepit frame, retorted, “Titanium, you’ll be made of titanium, it lasts longer.”

After I recovered from his unusual interlude of romanticism, my first thought was, “Wow, I’ll be the one setting off all the alarms at the airport!”

Then I had a little premonition. I realised, long before my own death, exactly what song will play out at my funeral:

Titanium!

“I am titanium……”

I’ve made the decision, now it’s just the sticking to it


Friday, really was a truly hilarious day.

One of those days in fact, when you just think: It doesn’t get better than this.

It went along something like this:

I thought I had it covered. I had a list and everything.

Really. I started off in a nice relaxed mood this morning, as my husband took my son to the clinic for me, in order to have him weighed and pick up his new prescription. He’s not a baby. He’s 12. But apparently he needs to be popped on the scales so we can be given the drugs that stop him climbing out of windows and unhanging doors and unscrewing toilet seats and stashing empty, moulding milk cartons in his wardrobe and hiding homework in random bushes. My son has severe ADHD, you see.

It wasn’t enough to be popped on the scales in 19 days at his next actual appointment. The receptionist said that he needs to come in today.

I have a deep fondness for receptionists.

Anyway, I felt confident this morning. And very excited. Though somewhat nervous. Especially given that I have four children and I regularly spend oodles of time with receptionists.

You see, I have finally come to my decision, I have signed up to NaNoWriMo.

The whole signing up caused me so much giddiness this morning that I began the day by pouring milk into the sugar bowl, instead of onto my cereal.

No matter. I rinsed it out and giggled gleefully.

I checked off my updated list ‘rinse milk out of sugar bowl’ and called the eye doctor.

You guessed right. I wanted to grab an earful have a chat with another receptionist. I’ve been collecting styes again. Thanks to my immune suppressants.

Unfortunately, she refused to reply so I had to settle with ‘attempt to buy shoes for two children’.

I bundled an array of legs and elbows into the car and proceeded to drive right past the shoe shop. Toward the eye doctor, in fact.

I turned the car around and chuckled to alarmed used-to-it legs and elbow owners (I did try to blame it on the book) and managed to buy gym shoes for one child.

My list had included a plan to purchase ingredients for and prepare in advance a few healthy meals, to ease my duties in November.

On tasting I discovered, however, that I’d forgotten to put the beans in the minestrone and I’d left the carrot and orange soup stockless.

Then my helpful teenager chopped the tomatoes but left them on the tabletop instead of popping them into the pasta sauce with the rest of the ingredients.

It bubbled away for its full 45 minutes before I actually managed to notice.

But still, determined, I ploughed on making a lovely tomato tart except the pastry refused to be separated from the buttered flan dish so I found myself forced into chilling it for tomorrow instead of freezing it for next month.

Meanwhile my generous five-year old shovelled out the chilli.

I attempted again to call the eye doctor but as it turns out he’s off on holiday for just over a week. Not enamoured at the thought of yet another pusy eye I decided to contact my GP. Well you know what I mean. His receptionist.

I got through but for the life of me I couldn’t remember the name of my stye prescription so she insisted I call the chemist where I regularly pick up my eye drops.

Naturally, I called the wrong chemist who had no idea whatsoever what I was blabbering on about.

But at least she kindly gave me the number for my actual pharmacist.

As it turns out I still don’t know my German letters properly (even though I have lived here for a full eight years) so I had to ask a couple of times, then wrote down z’s and f’s and y’s where there were absolutely none.

I tried to call the receptionist back, but she’d intermittently had the cheek to take another call, so the line, naturally was engaged. I hung around, with all the time in the world, recooking sauces and burning my tongue off in the chilli comparison test.

A few minutes later she answered my call and I listed out z’s and f’s and y’s where there absolutely were none and she refused to give me any medicine. With hindsight I’m pleased. What if it had been the name of a real medication for vaginal warts or something and I’d have glooped it into my eye?

I apologised profoundly for being an idiot foreigner and I called the chemist all over again.

I explained, you know, that I’m an idiot foreigner and that although this is now my home country I can’t even get the alphabet right and she took mercy on me and offered to spell out the name again.

Cleverly I had intercepted my own stupidity and I had asked the internet what possible medications could be offered to me by my friendly chemist.

The internet had given me a multiple choice of answers but with the help of the lovely lady and one non-pusy eye I managed to work out which medication I should take.

I called the engaged receptionist.

Finally, I spoke to her. I thanked her for her patience and lack of dispensation of vaginal wart cream and she sympathetically offered to have the prescription ready in half an hour.

I told her that although I couldn’t wait for our next meeting, I actually could because I needed to find beans for the minestrone and pick up my sons ADHD medication.

When I finally returned home, I opened my sons pills to see they had only given us enough to last us for 12.5 days. Even though our next appointment isn’t for 19 days.

Better still, we must order the tablets four whole days before we need them.

I started to clean and prepare for tomorrow’s lesson with my new student. I looked forward to making ‘novel notes’.

Then the phone rang.

Head lice alert.

I spent the following two hours dragging a bloody nit comb through conditioned hair.

I’m happy to report those two wasted hours that thorough search revealed not a single louse in the house.

I live the high life, I tell you.

The Health Notice


In recent years I’ve been diagnosed as ‘possible Crohn’s’ to ‘probable Crohn’s’ to ‘perhaps Crohn’s’ to ‘positively Crohn’s’.

It’s been a somewhat winding road and, I think, in some ways that hasn’t been a bad thing. At first, I was just relieved that I wasn’t suffering from ‘probable or positive bowel cancer’ (up there with best Christmas presents of all time). Then, quite quickly,  I shifted right over into denial, which, truth be told could have challenged the behaviour of any unruly teen (NO! I DO NOT HAVE CROHN’S! I REFUSE TO HAVE CROHN’S! SOD OFF WITH YOU!!!) Slowly, I wandered toward acceptance. OK, with the odd, ‘I think I’ve magically recovered’ moment.

Now I have a new doctor, and a full diagnosis, and although I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as delighted, I am OK with the diagnosis.

But then I started having issues with my joints. Particularly in my fingers.

It’s made typing difficult and that’s one of the reasons I’m hardly writing at the moment.

The great news is that the good doc is filling me up with medicine which should tell my immune system to take a break and stop attacking my bowel and my joints.

As you can imagine I squealed, “Yippee!” And handed over the arm that already looks like a pin cushion to test and retest and retest (many times again) my blood. Note to world: if you need an extra to play the role of a junkie in your next film/TV show/play – I’m your girl.

It will take three months or so before I’ll know if it’s working but so far I can report that: my five-year old has stopped asking if I’m pregnant (as my tummy only looks empty or full and not as if someone rammed a punch balloon in through my belly button), and the instances of a numb bum and the consequential funny walk that could impress John Cleese, have been significantly reduced by curtailed toilet sitting.

But my fingers are still rebelling against me.

I’ve informed them though: this is 2012, if the drugs don’t work, I can always resort to dictation software!

P.S. Please don’t worry about me getting bored. Immune suppressants really do what they say on the box. They wreck suppress your immune system. I am constantly being entertained. Todays new illness: a stye. (Can you hear me whooping?)

A one woman disaster zone


I had an accident at the weekend and I’d love to tell you what happened, but I can’t.

I can’t tell the doctors either.

It’s not that I was knocked unconscious.

It’s not that I was drunk and had a black out.

It’s just that I don’t know.

I worked steadfastly in the kitchen most of the day, cooking a special dinner for the men working outside in our garden.

I’ll just go over that point.

The manly ones spent around eight to ten hours slogging away outdoors, while I chopped and stirred and whizzed and peeled and ran backwards and forwards to the fridge (and to the shops for that matter, for forgotten ingredients). Then I went outside and planted in my newly built wall, for the best part of an hour, while the strongly ones rubbed their tummies and slugged on their beer.

In those eight to ten hours not one of the three gentlemen were injured.

Not one of the two children, running up and down the length of the garden with wheelbarrows and shoveling dirt, were blemished.

But in that one hour, something happened to me.

But I can’t tell you what.

Because I don’t know what.

I didn’t notice anything happening to me, that’s the problem.

I planted and I looked at my new wall and I felt good.

When I later went to bed, I had problems sleeping.

I arose in the morning and my heels itched like crazy and I noticed a couple of little marks. I decided that I must have been bitten by some evil creature – so I plastered it in anti-histamine gel.

But the swelling increased and it started to hurt.

My husband offered to call me a doctor. I (am trying to avoid doctors, seriously I’ve already over fifteen appointments, between the kids and I,  this month, so far) declined but took up his suggestion of reducing the inflammation with some raw onion.

The onion tried it’s best but failed. So I ran myself a nice lavender bath.

I rested my feet a bit and worked on a project for a while. Later on, as I tried to stand up the pain was immense. I stared at my feet and one ankle, frankly, looked as if someone had shoved a hard-boiled egg under the skin. I felt some concern and my husband appeared notably worried, but I waved off his doctor ideas and decided we should pop out for a bite to eat instead. (As all sensible people do when their ankle is drooping down towards the floor).

I headed towards the car but had to stop for a little rest. Feeling very sick from the pain, I started to entertain my husband’s ‘visit the doctor’ plan. I braved the two-minute drive to the restaurant then looked at my foot, which had miraculously grown again and finally, I admitted defeat.

The doctor saw me right away. She prodded and poked and inspected the now extremely red and bulging area.

“There’s something in it!” She proclaimed.

At first, she believed it to be ticks, but thank goodness, that was not the case.

In a few short minutes she’d managed to remove five foreign bodies from my heels. Two from one and three from the other.

I had no idea what they were or where they came from.

She bandaged me up and sent me to the chemist for antibiotics.

It’s healing well (I know because I’ve been backwards and forwards to my GP continually to have it checked out) but I’ll be bandaged up until Sunday.

I now look like a different type of mummy!

But I implore you:

How is it possible to embed five foreign bodies in one’s foot, while throwing a bit of earth in a pot and ramming in a few tiny plants? I didn’t use my heels as spades. I didn’t hammer the ground flat with the back of my foot. I didn’t roll around the grass and I didn’t go near any bushes. I had trainers and socks on. I used my hands.

???

Still, at least none of the men turned into mummies.

And:  I got to postpone my lady doctor appointment. 😉

The Neurologist


I always check the alarm clock.

Always, always, always.

Every single night, before I go to bed.

Without fail.

(Well, except for that time two months ago. But honestly, that was a one-off.) Until last night.

I’d written up a full and comprehensive list of all the medicines I’ve taken and all the treatments I’ve tried against this blasted headache.

I’d jotted down the names of all the medicines I regularly use.

I’d made a note of the date of the operation, and therefore the date on which my headache had started.

I’d rummaged around and set aside the x-rays taken in the summer.

I’d checked off all the dates and times in my diary, that I would not be available.

I’d worked out bus times, not wanting to drive on potentially frozen roads and ensured my referral was in my bag.

I’d even popped the address and phone number of the doctor in my purse, just in case something happened on the way.

Then I went for an early night and I forgot to check the alarm clock which as it turns out happened to be set for 30 minutes after my appointment time.

So near, but so far…

I think I have mentioned before, that I happen to be a lucky person. And luckily for me, my husband’s bladder persuaded him to wake up early.

Meaning in actual fact, I managed to be only ten minutes late and thus permitted to still see the doctor.

You know, the neurologist I’d booked to see weeks ago, who has a really good reputation?

Except – it wasn’t him.

No. He was off. (To see the wizard? Santa? Who knows!!)

So, I saw a stand-in.

Who, and I have to be honest here, installed absolutely no confidence in me.

She couldn’t work the computer. Had to look up every single medicine in a book. Just assumed it was a migraine. Didn’t look at my x-rays. And examined me by telling me to stand up, walk a couple of steps and then touch my nose. After that, she proceeded to hit my knee with a hammer and pressed on my neck for a couple of seconds.

Although my GP had been reassuring me about the necessity of being sent for a CT scan, the stand-in insisted it wouldn’t be required, as I’d already had one, seven years ago!

Without asking me what I’m stressed about or what my situation is, she seemed to think it could all be solved with a brisk ten minute walk (importantly: at exactly the same time each day) and a good sleep.

To cover herself she gave me a ‘prescription’ for six sessions of physiotherapy on my neck (even though it hadn’t hurt when she’d touched it). But on taking the paperwork to the physiotherapy centre, I discovered the form contained so many mistakes, it was invalid.

But not-to-worry. She said I should come back in the new year.

When the receptionist offered me an appointment with her or an alternative doctor on two different dates, I went with my gut instinct and said, “Anyone else will do!”

The exceptional news is: I think the acupuncture, or something is working, I still have a headache every day, but mostly in the distance or for just a small part of the day. 😀

My Mr Tickle arm


It all started with me running up the hill, as you do (when you’re eight) and me tripping over my own foot, as you shouldn’t.

Mid-fall I attempted to do a judo landing. My black-belted aunt had been teaching me judo for some months at that point.

What I should have remembered was that I was crap at judo.

Meaning the fall, of course, went badly wrong.

So badly wrong in fact, that I dislocated my left arm.

For those of you who need a more graphical description, that means I separated the bones from the elbow.

I had my very own Mr Tickle arm.

Though it didn’t work.

It was just all wobbly.

And therefore no good for tickling anybody.

I proved that my lungs worked really well though, screaming so loudly that neighbours from near and far ran out of their houses to see the spectacle.

My mother had me on her lap on the passenger seat of our mini. I was screaming. She was trying to ‘hold me together’.

We drove to the local hospital and they said, “Sorry but you’re too late. We close at 5pm. You’ll have to go to the hospital in the next town.”

So my parents poured me back into the car and drove on for a few miles.

“It would be better if you took her to another, major hospital, here she’d have to wait some time.” Yes, it just so happened I’d rammed some sweets in my gob right before my accident.

My parents poured me back into the car and drove on for quite a few miles.

I was still screaming.

At the major hospital, we were informed we had to wait anyway because of the sweets and the anaesthetic.

I lay on the bed with my extra long arm positioned on two pillows.

Nurses travelled over from various wards to see the exhibit.

Some oohed and aahed. Others covered their hands over their mouths and looked to me like they were about to vomit.

Luckily, in its pillowed position I could not see my arm properly.

Which can only be described as a good thing.

They did not need me vomiting in my bed. I’d already managed to miss the bed pan.

A suspicious doctor looked at my injuries and repeatedly questioned my parents about them. He found my story of tripping over my own foot and attempting to do a judo fall somewhat difficult to believe.

He obviously hadn’t seen me doing judo.

Finally, the evil sweets were wearing off and my time had come to have my arm fixed.

Then another child was rushed in, needing a life-saving operation. So me and my Mr Tickle arm were united for a while longer.

Hopefully he had been a good boy and hadn’t been filling his face with sweets.

Eventually, they took me to the operating room. I saw bright lights and people with masks and heard muffled voices.

I offered to keep my Mr Tickle arm. We’d been together this long…

Then a man approached me with the largest needle in the world. He sprayed it upwards like one of those evil doctors in a film and I found myself wriggling and shouting, “You’re not sticking that in me!!”

Pinned to the table and with my Mr Tickle arm being of absolutely no use in an escape situation, he jabbed me.

I yelled some more, being a particularly vocal child. “I will not sleep! I will not…”

Luckily I did sleep, as apparently they set it wrong and had to re-dislocate it and reset it again.

And fortunately, I did not develop a phobia of needles, as people have been sticking them in me ever since.

Pre-op


The surgeon told me it’s a tiny little ten minute operation and really I have no need to worry. The risks are minute and the benefits could be dramatic.

Additionally, the procedure itself offers an opportunity for sleep.

So I agreed. Mind, body and soul.

And I signed on the dotted line.

He told me to make an appointment with the anaesthetist.

I visited her on Tuesday and after waiting for a good hour and a half, she trawled through my medical history with me.

“You have quite a lot behind you, haven’t you?”

“You can’t tell by looking at you.”

“Erm… Yes. Thanks.” I’m not sure whether to feel flattered or concerned.

“I need to tell you, you’re high risk. You have asthma. It could lead to complications. You could take an asthma attack during the operation. We will of course treat you for it, if you do. Please sign here to show I’ve warned you of the risks.”

I signed.

The operation is tomorrow.

I am now starting to think I am completely bonkers. I have lived this long with heavy periods. What’s another few years? After all, the menopause can only be just around the corner… And anyway, is bleeding fifteen days a month really so bad?… I guess I’m pretty used to it by now…

I think about the surgeon and his experience and I start to relax again. I think about going for a hot bath and try to remember that I *must shave*.

I prepare the dinner – Cauliflower Surprise – the surprise being that it contains hardly any cauliflower.

I’m on a stuff-as-much-food-in-as-humanly-possible-marathon because as of 24.00 I am no longer allowed to eat.

In celebration (of the marathon, not the operation) I have even bought a chocolate cake.

Between stuffing and cooking, shopping and soothing conversations with friends, the day whizzes by and it’s time to say goodnight to the children.

Aden’s concerned but Akasha sings, “Have fun at the doctors. Have fun everywhere.”

You gotta love ’em.

The prep


That time has come again.

I’m off to have my front bottom (and other womanly parts) inspected and assessed by a ‘lady doctor’.

I say a ‘lady doctor’ but actually, he’s a man.

I have been busy preparing myself. Not mentally for strange tools (and hands) invading my exclusive area. No. I’m past all of that. Having had four children.

No. I’ve been having to make myself respectable. I’ve had a bath. Soaked all of my wobbly and flappy bits. Washed my hair. Both on my head and on my…

And then I noticed that my cropped bush had re-identified itself as a forest.

I pranced nakedly through the house, frightening children, on the search for my husbands trimmer.

As you do.

If I listed my talents to you, evidently, ‘Using a trimmer’ could not be itemized at all.

It is that bad.

There are long bits and short bits. Baldy areas and some (areas) that still look rather full.

The clock had tick-tocked and the buzz of the trimmer had slowed to almost nothing.

I examined my own handiwork from an upside down position and I can tell you, were I a real inspector of such works, I would have stamped a ‘Fail’ on the (un)finished product.

Nerves aplenty at the mere thought of revealing my artwork, I set off with the words of my wise teenage daughter swirling around in my head, “Just pretend it’s supposed to look like that. No nervous babbling!”

“No. There’s no need to mention it’s a DIY job, at all!”

Just ADHD? Update


I wrote a post, a few short weeks ago Just ADHD? and I have to say, I am truly amazed at the response it received.

Since I wrote that article, things have moved forward in that I finally found myself with the details of a hospital where my son, Aden, should be able to be correctly diagnosed. The only snag being, a long waiting time. Again.

My issue with that is, in recent weeks more and more problems have begun to arise. And although I understand more and more about why my son behaves differently (mostly from the help I received after writing the above article), I am finding myself with new issues to deal with now, on an almost daily basis.

The school is struggling to cope with Aden and that all became very clear on Friday.

I received a call from the secretary to inform me that he had run away.

A fight had broken out between him and another boy, and Aden had thrown stones. A search of his school bag revealed more stones and this led to my little boy locking himself in the toilet. His class teacher, who, it must be said, is very nice, got him out of the cubicle and the headmaster sent him to the sick room with some work, on his own, to deflate the situation.

Experience tells me, that this is a very bad idea. At this point my child needs to be calmed down (see I am learning, I just need to learn a lot faster, because I’m having trouble keeping up).

Aden, alone and frustrated in the sick room, opened and climbed out of the window and left the building.

Then made his 2km way home. In the rain.

I answered the phone, and literally two minutes later found him standing on the door step.

I calmed him down and explained patiently, that we needed to go back to school and why.

We faced down an angry, sarcastic sports teacher and the headmaster, together.

The headmaster raged about how disappointed he is in my son, how after everything he’s done for him, giving him less work than the other children, etc. Aden has let him down.

I watched Aden’s pained face and I hurt with him.

I understood the headmasters anger, but I realised at the same time that his ranting would absolutely not improve the situation with my child. I also didn’t feel that Aden’s ability to keep up with school work and the current situation, actually had anything to do with each other.

And someone else’s disappointment will not stop him leaving a building or climbing out of a window or even throwing a stone.

I don’t know exactly what will stop my son doing these things. I do know, that in his frustrated, angry, upset state that he wanted to come home. And though I agree that he should not have left, although I’m upset that half the school had to search for my ten-year-old and that everyone knows and the whole school has been disrupted, I’m also aware, that I must be doing something right and that led my child directly back to me.

To reiterate, I do not want Aden to leave school and come home and cause such disruption. What I want is for him to have a normal school experience, with friends and to love learning, like I did when I was young. I want him to achieve and have goals and feel success. To laugh, to interact, to be able to concentrate on the task in hand.

But I also want him to know that he can tell me anything, no matter how awful it is. That he can trust me and that he has my unconditional love. That whatever he does, we can try together to work it out and to do the right thing.

Once the headmaster had calmed a little and after detention had been set, I tried to explain that I believe Aden not only to have ADHD, but also to be autistic. I informed him that we are awaiting an appointment at the hospital, and that our paediatrician has now told me that he suspects my son has not only ADHD, but also autism. I quietly told him that all of this information has been thoroughly discussed with his class teacher.

He sent us off to the class teacher and on the way I explained to Aden that it could be that she is also angry.

Outside the classroom a boy shouted, “Evil Aden!”

I actually couldn’t speak.

The teacher saw us and treated us both with respect and concern. She informed me that Aden is being bullied. That the other children will not leave him alone. They annoy him constantly. They stick things on his back. And that she’s at a loss on how to handle it.

I felt physically sick as she spoke to me and I had to really force myself to blink back the tears.  He had not told me this. Nor had the headmaster. I knew that the week before, a boy had pulled his trousers down after swimming class. Aden had come home extremely angry, but he had also revealed that the child had been properly dealt with.

My son is an obvious target. He behaves differently to other children of his age. Stands out for his different taste in shoes. Makes odd noises and faces. Runs to the teachers and helps them with everything. Tells if he thinks someone’s doing something wrong. Has no sense of personal space.

We had problems with bullying before, last year, and what I do know is, that he will only take so much and then he will react, explosively.

Worried I called the hospital again, to try to hurry the appointment through. And incredibly we were given an immediate emergency appointment. I asked how immediate and they told me to “leave the house right now!”

I picked up my husband and we drove straight to the hospital.

We saw a psychiatrist and explained the current problems and some back history. She told us almost immediately on seeing our son that she thought ‘autistic’, but that we would have to go through a proper diagnosis.

We came home and although it had been a long, horrible day, and we’d spent half of the afternoon filling in forms we’d already filled in ten times before, I had the overall feeling that we’d made a big step forward. Because now we have an emergency telephone number that we can use, be it day or night, should our son require urgent assistance and the hospital will now push us along on the waiting list and give us an appointment, I hope, quite soon.

◊◊◊

Still worried about the potentially explosive situation at school. Last night Aden and I studied the calendar together, which revealed that he has only just over six weeks left at this school, after holidays in between are deducted. I’ve told him to try to stay calm. When he comes home he can bounce on the trampoline and hit the punch bag to attempt to keep his frustration down.

I’ve also told his teacher that, should things be too difficult at school, she should call me and I’ll come by and pick him up.