My daily cup of Earl Grey and my morning injection over, I have the rest of the day to consider and plan.
I have found that, much like my time in hospital, meals now occupy much of my thought and structure my day. Toni is discovering new skills as he produces the low fat and salt-free meals that I am supposed to eat, and I have to say that he is showing surprising aptitude in producing tasty food that I wolf down with alacrity.
Although I am eating healthily, my enforced lack of exercise does not allow my body to take full advantage of the calorie denial that it is going through. I am hoping that, after another week, my ability to go for short walks will add at least some exercise to my sedentary existence at the moment and encourage my weight loss.
Perhaps the most significant event today will be A Visit By The Doctor. The capitalisation is essential in this day and age when such a thing is not exactly the norm. I seem to remember when a child and going through the usual round of illnesses that a doctor’s visit was a sort of physical affirmation of the medical rites of passage as measles and mumps and the like were ticked off the list!
I have made a list of questions for the doctor. This approach is a direct result of my mother’s experience when she was ill. She found that the Bedside Manner that some doctors had precluded significant questions and at the end of her time with them, she was able to recollect later that important points had not been covered. Not one to suffer fools gladly (especially when she had been hoodwinked by technique) my mother wrote out what she wanted to know before hand and doggedly stuck to her points (rather than the doctor’s waffle) and sometimes cut through pleasantries to ask the next question!
One head teacher in my experience had the ‘deflection through mutual intellectual conversation’ down to a T, and I recall leaving his office with a smile of satisfaction on my face, but no extra money in the Faculty. It’s a good trick if you can master it.
Anyway, thrombosis, embolism and dickey heart are not elements that are made better by ‘a smile of satisfaction’ but rather by concrete changes in attitude and life style. I need to know exactly what I need to do to get back to where I was. And indeed if it is possible to get there. I need hard facts or clear details about what has happened to me and how I can change or work with what is going on with my body.
It is easy to feel positive because mine is a no obvious pain condition, but that in itself, is something that can be a false positive. After the horror stories related to me by the doctor in the hospital of the fatal results of not following the guidelines for recuperation, I am satisfactorily unsettled. I now need to know how to put that unease to good use so that I can progress to . . . to wherever I am reasonably able to go! With Toni’s eagle eye watching for any tea-related backsliding, I have the incentive to extend this period of abstinence from my usual caffeine and fat related diet and make a steady improvement. We shall see.
My poetry progresses slowly and haltingly. Perhaps one of the reason for this is that, since I have returned from hospital, I have not been writing in my notebook each day. My notebook is for ‘ideas’ that can be worked on later. Usually I write in this after my swim and while I am having my cup of tea in the leisure centre café. The ‘notes’ that I make are usually of a truly banal nature concerning the weather or some trivial details of my daily life, but the point of always keeping a notebook is that sometimes these quotidian remarks develop into something more significant, or, almost in spite of myself, I find a phrase or a sentence that prompts some other writing.
Another element, just at important as the creative, in my notebook is as a jolt or reminder of action that needs to be taken. Sometimes I have gone as far as to write a signed and dated note to myself, agreeing (with myself) to get something done by a particular date! Having written it down in a book, it is a constant reminder of those things that, in my case I have not done (and there is no health in me!) – ah, the cadences of the Book of Common Prayer are never too far from my way of expression! And generally speaking they work, my little aide memoires. Because when you really want to do what you have not done, all it takes is the slightest hint to actually get it started!
The doctor has called and my conversation with him was both better and worse than I expected.
He said that I can re-join the normal life of my fellow humans at the end of this week, when short walks and drives will be acceptable and I will be able to get out of the house for the first time. Well, that’s not strictly true as the doctor arrived when Toni was scouring pharmacies to find more of the Clexana injections that I take. Apparently these are in short supply, though god knows why as they seem to be the bog standard treatment for thinning the blood to treat thrombosis and embolism.
Anyway, the doctor said that they don’t really know why the thrombosis in my right leg formed and they were still studying the blood tests to see if there is anything that might give a clue. They will also be checking my heart after the extra work that it had to do to cope with the thrombosis as that might be damaged as well. The course of injections I am taking will last for six or twelve months, maybe longer. Although there is a chance that I will fully recover, that chance is qualified by what may be found out further. It may be that the damage to heart and lungs is permanent, but that is taking the most pessimistic view. Which I, resoundingly, refuse to accept. At least until further evidence to the contrary is shown.
I also asked about tea. When I asked the doctor looked at me quizzically and said that I could drink tea. I then pressed him by asking how many cups of tea I could drink. To which his response was, “What sort of question is that?” to which I replied, “Yours is one only a foreigner would ask!” At least he laughed and said, “I’m not going to worry about a cup of dirty water!” Dirty water! Only a lesser breed without the law would refer to Earl Grey as dirty water!
So, although I am going to be able to do the simple things in life a little earlier than I expected, the long-term problems are still to be discovered. For example, when I asked about my present low far/no salt diet and how long it would last, the reply was, “For ever!” Ah well!
My next doctor’s appointment is in three weeks time and then in March I have two tests back in the hospital to see what progress, if any, has been made.
At least I will be able to drive myself there! I hope!