Monday, February 13, 2012

Be Still My Beating Heart

Due to an under-active thyroid gland, I'm meant to have my bloods regularly checked.  I take daily medication, and so long as the dosage levels are right, which they generally are, I'm hardly troubled by the condition at all.

I usually tell if my meds are running out of sync when;

(1) I'm more tired and grumpy than usual (yes, you up there in the gallery, I'll have you know that that is possible, and I'll have less of the cheek in here too, if you don't want yourself escorting out!)

(2) All my extremities go numb,  and,

(3) I experience constant heartburn, often combined with a rapid heart-beat/palpitations.

This all reads much, much worse than it actually is - it's no-where near life threatening, and is easily fixed by upping the meds.  But to up the meds, I need a blood check, since I don't want to risk any nasty side-effects (a heightend risk of Osteoporosis, or at the far extreme, heart failure) by upping them too much.

Having perhaps not so wisely skipped my last few blood checks, for the past week or so I've been increasingly experiencing these above-mentioned symptoms, signalling all is not quite well within the temple of Shrinky.

Yes, yes, I know it sounds like a heart-attack, but it isn't. I have low blood pressure, low cholesterol, I'm not over-weight, have absolutely no family history of heart problems, I even take the odd tread-mill exercise, and actually lead a fairly healthy(ish) life-style.

Trust me, I know this. My G.P. knows this. My family knows this. The sodding hospital have my medical records, they also should know this.

Anyhows, enough was enough, today I hauled my arse over to the hospital to have some bloods drawn. I even had the correct form requests from my GP in tow (albeit a little worn and tattered from having had swum around in the bottom of my handbag for so long).

Naturally, one form is never enough, the receptionist had her own set she wanted to run through with me, too. She didn't even get half-way down before I found myself slapped on to a gurney and raced through to emergency.

WTF??? How embarrassing is this??

I'm fine.  Will ya' listen to me?  At least let me WALK!

I tell you, if you ever want to jump the queue at Accident and Emergency, just hide your severed arm and claim indigestion, you'll be sped to the front of that queue before you can so much as blink.

It's not as though I actually VOLUNTEERED this information, she was the one who'd asked - and I did try (oh boy, did I try) to qualify what I said.. that it simply was a sign my meds are out of kilter.

"It's just procedure, Mrs. Shrinky, best to be safe than to be sorry, eh?"

I was already feeling very sorry, I had a Tesco grocery home delivery scheduled to arrive in about an hour.

I was still trying to explain all this as I was completely stripped from the waist up and plugged in to various machines and monitors. Another nurse appeared with another bunch of forms.

"Next of kin?"

"He's in London.."

"Does he have a mobile?"

"No." (I was learning honesty is not always the best policy around these parts.) "How long am I going to be here?"

"We'll probably need to keep you in for observation, it depends upon your blood results really."

"What blood results? You haven't taken any."

"The doctor will take them."

Oh great, whoopee-do. The only good thing about going to the blood clinic is that the nurses there know what they're doing. They should, after all it's the only thing they do all day. Junior doctors, on the other hand.. shit, I just knew this was going to hurt.

I started to explain I couldn't possibly stay, my ice-lollies would melt, (I know our delivery guy, he kindly leaves our shopping in the kitchen if I'm out, but even I haven't managed to train him so well as to stack them all away for me yet) besides, I had Sam to pick up from college soon.

Before I get the chance to finish, she wrestles an oxygen mask over my face. I wrestle it back off, not only do I not need it, it's making me light headed. She snaps it back on again, her vain effort to shut me up.  Hearing (and smelling) the car crash victim, a half-drawn curtain away throwing his breakfast back up, I realise keeping the mask on might be not be such a bad idea, after all.

The young doc makes his appearance, stabs me a couple of times, and finally hits a vein.

"Hang on - Can you pass me up my bag?"


I grab it from him, rooting out the dog-eared form, "Whilst you're in there, you might as well take enough for all these other bloomin' tests.." (Reasoning I'd might as well accomplish the original purpose of why I'd first come in.)

I explain why I can't stay, and we finally reach a compromise, he'll rush through the results that will confirm I am NOT having a heart-attack, if I can only stay put where I am for the next hour.

I start warming to this young man.

Always prepared, I'd packed a book with me for the blood-clinic, and
 so I resignedly settle myself down in it, to rejoin my hero, him, the one flying over the Cuckoo's nest (alright, that may be a bit of poetic licence there, I'm actually mid-way through reading yet another one of my much famed, true-to-life American serial-killer tomes).

Turns out I may have gall stones. This is news?  No I do not need a scan to prove it, thanks, it's already been well and truly documented from the last scan I had done in this place .  Huh?  NO, kindly leave the stone EXACTLY where it is, I'm totally, completely and utterly done here.  Truly.  (Sheesh, seems these guys will stop shy of near nothing in order to further justify my 

I need to wait another week or so for the full blood results to come through, but at least the initial ones reassure my captors I'm safe enough to be released out alone, loose to hit the street again.

What a royal palaver.

Arriving home, I find I needn't have worried about my ice-lollies melting after all - Jake already scoffed them before they had the chance to, those plus all the biscuits, and as well as half the carcass of a raw chicken, the bloody giblets of which now lie splattered all across my freshly-mopped-this-very-morning kitchen floor, to greet me.


So now, do tell, how's your week shaping up?  I'm sure hoping mine delivers better matters of the heart.  Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!


Cloudia said...

Bless your heart!

Warm Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Tabor said...

Egad. Maybe now you will stay on your schedule child. Do not play with your health!

Helen said...

Oh my goodness .. what a day! Has to be downhill from here.

Li said...

Oh - several tries to hit a vein. Ick. I would have been shrieking to beat the band!

mythopolis said...

It all sounds so traumatic. Just going into a hospital or to visit my doctor can make me so nervous. Nothing like having a check-up and having the doctor say quite flatly, "What the hell have you been doing to yourself?"

I wish you wellness. One has to image the gall stones as melting hail, or something like that. Wish them away, and take the meds for back-up.

My doctor told me bluntly on my last visit, that he doesn't know how much longer I have to live. I shouldn't have asked him, because he just shrugged and said, "Hell, I don't know it's anybody's guess. Could be 20 or 30 years from now, could be tomorrow." As I bid him farewell, he said, "Take two pills and call me in the morning." Now, if I can just get to sleep.

hugs, D.

Al Penwasser said...

Mrs. Penwasser had her thyroid removed since it had basically shut down and she was developing a goiter. Now, the only side effects she has is that she is constantly cold (she welcomes the prospect of menopause and hot flashes which she insists will probably only make her 'comfortable'). She also has to take 'synthroid' every day for the rest of her life. All's well, though. Nothing like your adventures.
By the way, that picture of the shell at the top is way creepy. It looks like it's screaming. Maybe because it only has one eye?
Or is it because I'M having hot flashes?

Leslie: said...

Did I tell you about my carbon monoxide poisoning episode? Well, the symptoms apparently can replicate those of a female having a heart attack. Also, when I heard they had to stick a needle into an artery to draw blood to check the Co2 levels, I offered to give up my bed for someone else (as they were so busy that day!) I had an ECG, oxygen mask, and such a painful intrusion into my artery that I went into shock and couldn't stop shaking! Anyhoo...all is well now and it only took a week or so to recover from the entire episode! Whew! Doncha just luv bein' a woman!

Ms. A said...

Lord have mercy... I don't need that kind of excitement in my life. Good thing it was you and not me. I would have had a heart attack, for sure! (no offense)

Hope you got the meds adjusted and are back on track.

Ms. A said...

AND, that Jake doesn't end up at the vet!

X. Dell said...

(1) Perhaps you should consider putting a mobile around Jake's collar.

(2) I'll remember to plead indigestion the next time I'm shot or stabbed in England.

(3) I'm wondering: say if the tests came a week later, and they were positive. Would they call you back into the emergency room? Cut open your chest (ouch!!)?

Of course, if they were positive, you would have dropped dead before they came back. So I'm still wondering why they let you go.

Of course, if you're grumpier than usual, maybe they were praying that the tests would be positive?


Portia said...

I hate having the doctor take blood. They are usually terrible about it. Give me the people who do it day in and day out!

I spent the night in the hospital due to a severe panic attack. I told them I have anxiety, it is a panic attack, but they felt compelled to do every possible test my heart could have.

ellen abbott said...

oh, right, the under-active thyroid. Me too. I pled no money for tests being uninsured as I am last time I called to renew my scrip. They were not pleased. I promised to come in in two months and have failed to show. no way they will renew it again. the only symptom I seem to get is a lump appears to grow in my throat. as long as I can't see it and don't feel it when I swallow I figure I'm OK.

JeannetteLS said...

Ah, you take me back to the good old days of blood tests, spinal taps, and... ugh.

What a freaking LOUSY reward for finally doing what you know you are supposed to do! Makes a person think, Gee. I think I'll not wait for my blood tests next time--NOT.

Happy Valentine's Day indeed. Frankly, even if I were having a yucky beginning to my week, chances are it would not hold a candle to yours Shrinky!

Thank goodness for your sense of humor, and thank YOU for your wonderful way of telling a story.

(After all this, your blood levels better be okay and have it all be a nice simple fix.)

Anthony Duce said...

I’m glad you escaped in the end. I always feel like I’m going to be imprisoned when in a hospital, even if just visiting.

silly rabbit said...

My goodness! I'm so glad that you are fine and did get to go home. My sympathy on the floor mess and missing food.
(My Roxy stole a fajita right off the man's plate the other day! Food left unattended is never safe around here.)
I bet doctors long for the good old days when we didn't try to tell them anything and only answered their questions. Good for you for standing your ground!

Furtheron said...

My weekend is way less complicated than yours sounds!

Happy Valentine's Day

Rock Chef said...

That sort of crap could only happen to you!

Hope today is better for you. My week isn't too bad - hope to do a catch up post later!

MarkD60 said...

Happy Valentines Day. I think I saw that same seashell on the beach in Costa Rica.

Do what the doctor says!

Bijoux said...

I've suffered from white coat hypertension all my life! And stories like this don't help!

Sometimes you have to wonder about 'preventative medicine' don't you?

chewy said...

Little heart shaped gall stones?

Akelamalu said...

At least Jake enjoyed himself. ;)

Kate said...

I frequently feel like I'm having a heart attack, but I'm told it won't kill me...mitral valve prolapse.
Thyroid and gallstones? Gee, Shrinky you're falling apart! A big West Texas hug from me. Hope you are feeling better soon. At least your dog had a fine day!!

Dave said...

Carol, you must be a fun person to know! I enjoyed this story too, as I did all of your others :-) - Dave

Shrinky said...

Cheers for that, Cloudia.

Shrinky said...

I have to admit Tabor, this ain't actually the ONLY time this has happened (blush), so maybe I should heed that advice!

Shrinky said...

Hi Helen, yeah, I was glad to draw the curtain on Monday, that's for sure.

Shrinky said...

Hmph, thing is Li, 'cos of my low pressure, my veins are hopeless for drawing blood (which is WHY I prefer the experts to do it)..

Shrinky said...

Hi there Dan, oh you, had me going for a moment there (shove)! As for the gall stone, it doesn't much bother me, when it does, I guess it'll go - but for now, why fix it if it ain't broke?

Shrinky said...

Hi Al, I know of a couple of other folks who've had the same proceedure done, I'm told goiter's are very common with thyroid problems.. as is poor circulation (sigh). Like your wife, it never gets warm enough for me!

Shrinky said...

Good gracious, Leslie, how on earth did that happen? My goodness, you are lucky to be alive, what a horrible experience to suffer! I am so glad you recovered without any lasting side-effects. My friend died of carbon-monoxide poisoning - such a tragic, sensless accident.

Shrinky said...

Haha, oh Ms A, you do make me smile (hugs). And no, that mutt has a stomach made of cast iron, nothing upsets it!

Shrinky said...

Hi there X-Dell, it's so good to see you back, I've really missed your wonderful comments! In reply:

1. Maybe. Do they make sea-water-proof ones?

2. I'm glad to have passed on this wisdom to you.

3. There is a simple, quick test they did there and then, proving I'd told them the truth - the other results pending are for my thyroid. But if the scenario you paint played out, they would need to catch me first..

And I can see you've obviously had prior experience with grumpy women, hence the quick ducking reflex!

Shrinky said...

Ye Gads, ellen - stop right there!! I don't want to alarm you, but that lump is a goiter, which MAY be benign, but equally MAY NOT. You cannot ignore it - please, please do not make that mistake. Promise me you will have it checked out, regardless of cost - this is IMPORTANT. On the up side, should the news be bad, this type of malignancy is usually extremely easy to treat, as it grows at a snails pace - the thyroid as you probably know, regulates metabolism, and if it is under-active, everything slows down. Um, intelligence too, so GET IT BLOOMIN' WELL SEEN TO, you hear??

Shrinky said...

Oh my word, Portia, it's a wonder they didn't flip the whole thing into a fully-fledged heart-attack, for you! Sheesh, sometimes being "thorough" isn't always best, is it?

Shrinky said...

Hi there Jeannette, that'll teach me to be so slap-dash with my check-up's, eh? Aw, thanks for your kind words, you always leave the best of comments. On the bright side, my week has only got better!

Shrinky said...

Hi Anthony, great to see you again! Yeah, like you, I have never been a great fan of visiting hospitals, for whatever reason.

Shrinky said...

Hi Silly Rabbit, your Roxy sounds as big a scavenger aqs my Jake is! Yeah, in my mother's day, no one ever questioned the treatments on offer, did they? The medical profession soon lost it's mystique for me, with the arrival of my son - he was mis-diagnosed more times than I can count..

Shrinky said...

Hi Furtheron, oh, it steadily improved (grin)!

Shrinky said...

I'm starting to develop a complex, RC, 'cos I strongly suspect you may well be right, there..!

Shrinky said...

Hello Mark, that is a pretty awesome shell, isn't it (smile)? Yup, I'm gonna' be good and take my medicine from here on out.

Shrinky said...

Bijoux, the part that had me worried was, reading the monitor I was hooked uop to, the nurse calmly asked, "So, have you had any OTHER heart-attacks we should be aware of..?"


Shrinky said...

Heart-shaped or no, Chewy, one day I'll pulverise them!

Shrinky said...

Ake, that hound is SUCH an opportunist..!

Shrinky said...

Ooooh Kate, that does NOT sound pleasant, do you just have to live with it, or can they cure it? Yeah, this old grey mare sure ain't what she once used to be (sigh). As for the theiving Mutt, he sure had a sound sleep afterwards!

Shrinky said...

Oh, what a lovely thing to say Dave, I may print that out and carry it - so all my family can see!

Linda Sue said...

SHITE! The only thing that could have possibly made this adventure worse is that a random drawing drew your name and arrived while you were gone to deliver a million quid cheque but you must have been present to receive- so, they went next door and gave it to them instead...and your dog tried to eat them. What a no good day! I will, however, remember the tip about claiming indigestion...that will be helpful.

Linda Sue said...

Oh and gall stones- YIKES- had them and it resulted in surgery to remove that pesky organ. Much better now thank you!

Shrinky said...

Oooooooooooh, hi there Linda Sue, I do so loves me a girlie with an agile imagination - I have a good feeling you and I are going to get along together just fine - welcome aboard, bonny lass, here's to the start of a beautiful friendship..!

Shrinky said...

Um, and glad it hasn't "galled" you too much, losing that organ of yours (wink)..

Helena said...


I have one of those blood forms getting battered at the bottom of my bag right now! It's to test my thyroid! No kidding! But I did not know that any meds for this, should I need them, would mean a greater risk of osteoporosis- which mum has. I was kinda hoping it might explain the weight gain and low mood, weird low moods, sort of not quite depressed, just worn out, bluesy and snappy.

Your hospital experience sounds horrendous but sorry I couldn't help smiling about Jake :)

After the IDIOTS I had to deal with in the medical profesison over mum's illness and seizures and dementia etc., I have learned not to be friendly to staff in the NHS, but rather stick to 'politely efficient'. If this doesn't work my voice starts to get raised. In any other workplace I try to think, these people are stressed, overworked, trying their best, so I should be nice to them. Busy shops, for example. But I have abandoned this when it comes to hospitals, I 'm afraid. As for junior doc's, oh just don't get me started.... I had to expalin to my last 'registrar' what bi polar was- this was meant to me my 3monthly 1/2 hour with a psych doc- I never get to see the consultant, just the latest trainee, who changes every time. Bipolar? Oh no, all depression is the same he grinned, patronisingly. WTF????? Well he got an education that day, I can tell you. I even wrote out a reading list for him. Couldn't resist it. I was mad (in more ways than one!!!!) and I wanted him to be the one that ended up feeling small for a change, not me!

HAHAHAHAHA (rubs hands together, evil grin....) TOLD you I had a bad side.

HEY I was thinking- after all this time blogging I still think the name of yours is the best!!

Shrinky said...

Yikes,Helena, you need to go have those bloods done, hon! Seriously, I went undiagnosed for years, and felt like I was wading through treacle - the doc's brushed me off and suggested I was depressed, but I KNEW I WASN'T! It was such a relief when I eventually found out why I was walking around like a worn out dish-cloth all the time - plus, as soon as I was placed on thyroxine, I shed three and a half stone in weight in less than a year! And please don't worry about the added risk of Oesteopirosis, that won't happen if the levels are right, and the levels can acurately be gauged through regular blood checks. Actually, my youngest has been diagnosed with the same condition, and I am furious with myself for not pushing harder forher to be tested years ago - when I noticed her piling on weight, I asked my GP about it, and he laughed me off, saying it is almost unheard of in kids, and wasn't worth the intrusive test to have her cheked. THREE YEARS later, I finally insisted, and hey presto, yes, she has an under-active thyroid!

I thought nothing could shock me about the medical profession, not after all my years of being sent from pillar to post, mis-diagnosis after mis-diagnosis with Sam, but I have to say I am completely floored to read of your "expert" not having a clue as to what bi-polar is, that would be laughable were it not so horribly serious!

Shrinky said...

Aw, and thanks for that lovely comment about my blog-title, I get very mixed reactions to it, y'know - some say they almost didn't stop by because of it (shaking my head), so I'm glad to know not everyone thinks it weird (grin)!

Helen said...

.. came back for another look-see and realized I should have said 'uphill' not downhill! Hoping you're on the upswing now!!!

Shrinky said...

Ha, I do that type of thing all the time, Helen, and yup, I felt pretty sure that's what you meant to type (grin). Thanks, every day since has CERTAINLY been an improvement!

bill lisleman said...

It appears your return to the kitchen could have given you a heart attack.
If I understand your story, you could have avoided this by going to the blood clinic? If so you'll know better next time.
"less of the cheek" - laughing? May I still stay in the gallery? It's so fun.

foam said...

Egads! What an ordeal. I hate going to the hospital. Ive had to go a few times for blood pressure issues.
You had a miserable time. Jake had a ball it sounds like. I don't suppose your misery and his good times balance each other out.

I do hope your new meds are working for you.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Wow, pretty exciting trip to the hospital. I tell you, I really try to avoid anything where they have to take blood. Needles. shiver

Shrinky said...

You can stay Bill, but only if you don't pelt me with rotten tomatoes! Yeah, in some ways I guess I had it coming - I'll be sure to keep my checks up to date from here on out.

Shrinky said...

Hey there Foam, where you been girl? I've missed ya'! Och, t'was all a storm in a teacup, everything is well again now (ish), I've only got myself to blame for the pickle I landed myself in..

Shrinky said...

Secret Agent, my hubby is like that, he passed out being vaccinated for our honeymoon, and when I was giving birth to our second born, he swooned, so everyone left me to deliver alone whilst they attended to HIM!! (Shaking my head..)

~Babs said...

Ha, at least 'ol Jake had a fine Valentine!

Shrinky, Shrinky,,,thyroid can be such a serious issue.Who knew,,,not me,,, until my sister had a 'thyroid storm',,,look it up. Extremely dangerous.
She will never be the same.
Of course hers was OVER active,,but still. Take your tests and meds, dear one,,,bad as those vampires are, they could be your best friend forever.We want to keep seeing you here!!

Fenstar de Luxe said...

ha ha oh Jake!
I guess at least they were thorough in checking you out, you'd hate for them to miss anything.
I am well sick of having blood taken, my veins are non existent now and it's always such a fuss!

Barbara Shallue said...

My husband always jokes that if you want to cut to the front of the line at ER, just say you think you're having a heart attack. He knows that from experience, unfortunately! (Fortunately, it turns out he wasn't having one!)

Hilary said...

Ahh Shrinky, you uttered the same sentiments that Frank did a few years back when his "hernia" was out of control. "It's NOT a heart attack, doc..." "It is too, Mr. Baron." "Oh."

I for one am glad that your medical people are as thorough as they are. But even more glad that you were right.

Now, I can only imagine the vet bill for stomach pumping.