What a strange week this has been - the odd ray of sunshine amidst much rain here in Suffolk; lots of stress at school with colleagues facing redundancy and no-one knowing who it will be - I am so thankful that I made the decision to jump ship and have another job to go to - just counting the days now. I finish at half-term and have a very long summer holiday to look forward to before I start my new job in September. I am eagerly awaiting my trip to Ontario in Canada to see one of my very best friends. It is a long time since I had a holiday and I am crossing the days off on the calendar.
Now for the Casualty bit........ a word to those of you in the UK - do not ring NHS on-line unless you want a full scale drama - oh my word......
I was feeling off colour on Friday afternoon but couldn't quite put my finger on it. I sat down after tea and noticed a pain in my jaw which spread to my neck and upper chest. The pain got worse as the evening progressed and at midnight I decided to key my symptoms into an on-line checker to make sure it was nothing serious (there is a lot of heart disease in my family on my Dad's side and he died at 52). NHS direct was the top of the google listings and so I clicked and put in my symptoms. There was an option at the start of the process which asks if you want a call-back if necessary and I clicked 'yes' thinking nothing of it. Symptoms showed as serious and within 15 minutes there was a very nice nurse on the phone talking me through the symptoms. He made the decision to call a paramedic although I tried to insist that it wasn't necessary.....
A really nice man arrived very quickly with several bags of kit - I was most impressed! He then conducted a thorough examination including an ECG - can you believe that they have portable ECG machines?
Well, to cut a long story short, the ECG print-out showed "anomalies" and he then called an ambulance to take me to hospital. I did say that Mr Thrifty would drive me, but he insisted! I have never been in an ambulance before and to be honest I felt really embarrassed about all the fuss. I was glad that it was 1a.m. so the neighbours would (hopefully) not notice! I was then taken to our local hospital which has come in for a lot of criticism lately for its poor standards of care .... oh dear! I cannot praise the paramedics highly enough - they were so lovely and did their best to reassure me. On the way to hospital they even gave me all the reasons that the t.v. series Casualty was so bad.
By this time it was around 1.30 in the morning - so let me set the scene for you. The hospital is close to Great Yarmouth, an area of Britain with a high level of social problems. It is Friday night. The local ne'er-do-wells have been out in force and are now standing in the casualty department, the worse for drink, dripping blood and waiting to be tended to. One man was even bragging about what he had done to the other chap! I heard all this later from Mr Thrifty who was sitting in the waiting area. I was lucky enough to have been taken straight through into casualty by the paramedics, even if I had to endure the humiliation of being taken on a stretcher. My biggest relief was that I fitted on to the standard stretcher and, in spite of being over-weight, am not yet in the bariatric league! I think the paramedics found me quite amusing.
I was given the usual checks, had blood taken and another ECG and was then left to wait for the doctor who was dealing with an emergency admission - never did find out what. Around 4am, I was finally seen by a doctor - not the casualty doctor, but someone they had called down, who did a really thorough examination and looked at the results of the ECGs and said he'd be back - I never did see him again. He did tell me that a blood test which they would do in the morning (aarrggg more blood) would show if there was any damage to the heart, although he seemed more concerned that my liver was tender.
In the morning another blood test showed no heart damage and I was told I could go home. I was never told what the anomalies in my ECG were, but Mr Thrifty and I were very glad to get home to bed - #4 slept through the whole episode!
I will make an appointment to see my own GP this week and have a chat, but in the meantime I am more resolved than ever to shift some weight. Ironically I had put myself on the weight watchers pro-points programme 6 days ago and have lost 5lbs already! Hurrah! I don't smoke. I don't drink and I don't do drugs. So, that just leaves my weight and my stress levels which are within my power to change.
How very strange that last week I blogged about a dear friend of ours who had had a sudden heart attack and felt like that was a wake-up call - in fact, that was what prompted my diet - and now the message was being delivered with more force.
I have heard it said that when we don't hear the message the universe is whispering, it is then delivered with a sledge hammer............. I think I have just heard the sledge hammer.
Last night I had a wonderful surprise when #3 walked through the door for a weekend at home. After raiding the fridge we had a lovely chat and today we are going to do a beach walk and find a pub to have (a healthy) lunch....... a chill day. I need it!
How was your weekend? UK readers are still enjoying theirs thanks to our May bank holiday.
Love Mrs Thrifty