Firstly, I started typing this up in bits a couple of months ago, and as I’ve added to it I realised what an epic update it has become! On the plus side, if you need sending to sleep then reading this may just do the job.
Saturday 16th May, around 2pm.
Came downstairs for a shower, started getting a bit of a ‘heavy head’. Within minutes it became significantly heavy, so I sat on the kitchen floor. Felt like my brain was being pushed out of my skull and I noticed a small circular flashing floater in my vision. I thought it would just go away but the pressure was very intense and the flasher got bigger. Within 10 minutes I couldn’t see anything because of the squiggly and flashing things.
I lay down in bed and was getting pain in both eyes. It didn’t seem to take long (another 5 minutes maybe) before this got very severe. Not like a migraine and not like anything I’ve experienced before, especially considering what else came with it. I wouldn’t have been surprised if someone told me two metal poles had gone through my head and skewered my eyes.
I started vomiting and was getting feverish hot/cold sweats. I took one sumatriptan, not thinking it was a migraine but being desperate for some relief; this didn’t do anything. Maybe two hours later (at a guess) I took a second. Not sure if that did anything or it was just a matter of time for the episode to end.
My mum looked after me but I couldn’t talk properly and didn’t have a clue what was wrong with me. She wanted to get me to A&E but I couldn’t move. I was just grunting and she took that as a ‘no’. I told her afterwards that I don’t want her taking me in at all, what with the coronavirus situation. Kick me out of the car, literally, and I’ll crawl in. Not that I think I could get through this again. It was horrific. I just wanted someone to put me out of my misery.
Anyway, this went on for hours, maybe another 5, with the eye pain, vomiting, fever at significant levels. I don’t remember Saturday evening, can’t remember much of Sunday either. I know my heart rate kept going wonky, very loud and very fast, missing beats here and there. After the eye pain, visual flashing floaters, pressure and fever subsided a bit, I kept getting a funky heart rate and odd sweats. I felt totally drained, couldn’t move. My speech was slurred and quite difficult. I realise now looking back that the symptoms could cross over with things like a kind of stroke or an unruptured aneurism, so don’t do as I do and try to ride it out, but I don’t know what would have happened if I had tried to get help anyway.
I stayed in bed throughout Saturday until Monday lunchtime. When I moved I felt very weak and movement was very slow. My whole body hurt more than usual but I’m not surprised as I’m not good in the same position for long, and I’d been lying there for two days. Covered in sick and sweat and wanting to die.
The slightest sensation of a heavy head again now is terrifying.
I called the GP and got a call back on today (Tuesday) when I was able to talk properly again. She said I should have gone to A&E at the time but should still get checked out with a head CT to be on the safe side, especially given the slurring. I went to hospital within 10 minutes of talking to her. Guess what didn’t happen? A head CT!
Long story short, decent social distancing of seats but total waste of several hours, anti-bacterial dispensers all empty, with one nice nurse and one nasty one that made me feel like crap. I declined waiting a further 2 hours for blood results (all fine) and went home. Day wasted.
So yeah, what the hell was that? Ideas on a postcard if anyone has them, because I really don’t know.
On a side note, I’m now several days behind on everything having lost another 4 days. Emails, work, blogs, household stuff, everything is piling up. I usually try to catch up on blog reading but that’ll be over 1,000 blog posts to read and comment on and I just can’t manage it this time, and for that I’m truly very sorry.
A Bittersweet Anniversary
More bitter than sweet.
April 22nd marked the 5 year anniversary of my first surgery, of the procedure & surgeon that broke my body & ripped apart my life.
It’s something I’ve never discussed openly, still too ashamed & embarrassed to state what it was on my blog or to anyone other than my parents & those who’ve had similar experiences.
I was due major surgery in April in London that I’d been waiting years for in the hopes of at least preventing my health from continuing to decline. That’s been cancelled due to coronavirus.
I began with one issue that I thought was bad enough, but then I had the first surgery & never could have imagined how bad things could really get.
Never think your current situation is so bad that it can’t be worse. Don’t tempt fate. Things could always be worse and we have to try to appreciate what we have, where we are right now & to always hold on to hope for brighter days ????????
Don’t laugh. These are not hot cross buns, despite how they may look. Because they expanded and joined together, they actually reminded me of the honeycomb-style of the Blockbusters TV gameshow. I think this is my second ever cookie attempt and it was on my ‘bucket list’. Not because I wanted to bake. I didn’t. My mother did. I’m just taking credit for the end result because they turned out okay (if they were inedible I’d of course say this whole thing never happened).
I’d already printed a bunch of recipes off from some time ago because I’ve come across them being recommended online or posted by another blogger.
Indecision hit when it came to choosing one and then I realised they all use slightly different ingredients, not all of which I had. I reduced it to those with just the ingredients I’d bought and then found that despite all seeming similar, they had some wildly different quantities. Between two, they may have the same amount of caster sugar but one has one egg and the other has four. One has 100g chocolate chips and the other has 300g (of course I’d go for 400g anyway). So I mish-mashed the recipes and… voilà!
Two trays worth of odd looking cookies. What’s more strange is that they actually tasted pretty damn good!
I should also note these were made months ago, well before flour became the new toilet roll. I can’t remember what a bag of flour looks like on a supermarket shelf any more, it’s more rare than gold dust of late. Do you think there are a few people with crates of the stuff at home? Where’d it all go?
My Sharona Corona
I’ll start this by saying I don’t know whether I had it or not because in the UK at the time you were only allowed to be tested if you’re admitted to hospital, and you’re told to only to go hospital if you think you’re close to dying, so I had no help and no tests during those early weeks.
In March I started to feel more unwell than usual. It’s hard to say when you’re always poorly whether you might have certain symptoms that you already have anyway. It started with a sore throat, which I never have. It wasn’t a scratchy throat, it was properly sore at the back; I could pinpoint a circle, perhaps 1cm in diameter, that was borderline painful. The only time I’ve ever had a sore throat has been when I then get a cold, but I didn’t get a cold and the sore throat didn’t go away. That was on a Monday.
Then my heart rate started going wonky, with rapid and loud heart beats that were very off-putting. I had a temperature but not a raging fever, but even that I wouldn’t say was too unusual given my weird temperature control, or lack thereof. Then my chest got worse. I have lung scarring, inflammation and bronchiectasis, so I thought maybe it was some kind of unusual flare-up. Despite using my inhalers, it didn’t ease up. I called 111 but they didn’t want to know because I didn’t have a raging fever or a continual cough.
Then on the Thursday, the world tilted. Literally. Everything seemed to go sideways and I felt incredibly dizzy and hugely nauseous. I figured it would just wear off within a minute or two. Turns out it lasted 36 hours.
I felt very rough, but again, I could explain some things away and talk myself around to thinking other symptoms were just bizarre and unrelated. But it seemed like quite a big coincidence. For several weeks after that I’ve been so, so worried because I live at home with elderly, vulnerable parents. I tried to distance as much as possible and be as cautious as possible. I stayed home for longer than the government suggest after the point where symptoms improve, just to be sure.
From the start of the sore throat to the end of the sore throat took 7 days. But that’s not where it ends because my chest still wasn’t right. GP prescribed antibiotics and increased my inhaler dosage, declining to prescribe the steroids that I think could have helped because they may make me more vulnerable (a point that seems pointless if I’m staying at home for 2 weeks). Instead, I just waited. And I’ve waited for over 7 weeks to get breathing closer to my usual level. Apparently this can be expected, especially if you have a pre-existing condition. Of course, it might not be the virus and in which case it’s been some other weird flare up. An antibody test really would be very useful!
My doc eventually sent me to the coronavirus pop-up pod. They think I had the virus in March.
The outcome? It was rather disappointing and angering, after being in quite a state, to simply be told to rest for a week or two and I’ll be right as rain. Or at least back to as rubbish as usual. I sat in the car and cried. I just wanted some help and it felt utterly pointless asking for it.
To complicate things, I seem to have two different issues over these past few weeks. Alongside possible, and I say possible as I don’t know, virus complications, the GP and I think there’s something like thoracic outlet syndrome going on. Whether it’s this or not is anyone’s guess. It feels like my chest is being crushed, I’m getting spasms down the left side, the shaking in my hands and spasms in fingers is worse, pain under my left arm, my arms are heavy and I can’t lift them up, and I’m getting pins and needles. I’m now on Amitriptyline to go alongside Tramadol and Sumatriptan. I’d also been getting daily migraines for over three weeks, which really worse me down and I’ve lost a lot of time as a result.
The GP had already put in a referral to a vascular surgeon because I’d been getting strange things with my hands/arms/lower legs. Anyway, the vascular team sent me a letter to make an appointment online. Turns out, having made the appointment, that they’re not even going to do a telephone consult because of coronavirus. I’ll hear from them when the coronavirus situation is over; hopefully it’s nothing too serious otherwise they’ll have one less patient to see when the time comes for appointments. I understand not seeing patients in clinic (though you’d imagine vascular things would be quite important) but no telephone consult? Back to square one.
Back to Coronavirus – A brief note:
I didn’t say anything when I first got symptoms because I feel I’d come across as a hypochondriac. It’s sad and it’s sick that after years of being fobbed off, so many of us still feel like this.
I have a strict way of doing things when going out and I’ve made this stricter still in recent weeks. I use an N95 mask, regardless of what anyone says. I wear gloves, but only because my hands are so raw, cracked and bloody that I don’t want broken skin exposed. I have a routine for going out and coming home, leaving clothing in different places, wrapping the mask in kitchen roll, anti-baccing groceries.
Please don’t forget, whether you’re going out or not, to be mindful of things brought into your home, from groceries to the post.
I wanted to share a little of my experience in case it can be of any help, and to urge people to seek medical attention if you have concerns… push for it if you have to.
Coronavirus Antibody Testing
I thought I’d add this here as it may be of help for those in the UK wondering whether they’ve had the virus but have been unable to checked at the time and aren’t able to access NHS antibody testing.
Medichecks have just released their Covid-19 antibody home test, with a 3-day turn-around for results and 100% accuracy in the manufacturer’s study of positive antibody results. It’s a CE-approved immunoassay test and available for members of the public and companies in the UK to buy online and do with a fingerprick test kit.
The government have currently put this on hold as more tests are being conducted on the reliability of finger prick testing.
Mum’s The Word
Her birthday certainly didn’t look as she’d ever imagined it, but my mother turned 72 years young in April! I managed to get a cake and I’d already bought gifts so that worked out well. What didn’t work out so well was my health problems and hers, too. Thankfully, after discussing with her GP we were able to get a prescription and now things are much better for her, which I am super grateful for. Love you, mum. Amazing lady.
To make up for lack of a birthday banner or balloons this year, I took to making some decor with her favourite TV hunk, Aiden Turner. She appreciated his big stick (in the photo, a real stick) but clearly she knows her daughter was never destined for a career in art.
A Sweet Surprise
I am so, so thrilled to say I won Charlotte’s recent blog competition. It’s an incredible giveaway with lots of goodies and I still can’t quite believe I won. A huge thank you to Charlotte for bringing her readers some brightness during these dark times. If you haven’t already, please do check out her blog Beyoutiful Inside Out.
I asked the cat what made the dirt so appealing to roll in. He turned around & stuck his tongue out ???????? Anyone else think cats can be cheeky little munchkins?
It’s been lovely to have some sunshine, to feel a little warmth and to see the flowers blossoming. Sadly after the couple of nice days the grey skies and rain tend to return, but those brighter days will come back. I’ve been too poorly to be outside or do very much but I’ve sat out when I can and I’m very fortunate that we’ve got a garden here to enjoy fresh air safely. If you can do so safely, open the windows and let the air refresh you.
If you made it this far, congratulations! I decided to post this now rather than hold on to it for even longer, but I’m not sure whether it made much sense. I’m still rather fuzzy after the weekend.
So, tell me, how’ve you all been? I hope you’re all hanging in there okay and that this week treats you well. Stay safe everyone.