Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Man flu update

I have now self diagnosed myself, with the help of Google, and I can tell you that my man flu has developed into acute bronchitis. I have all of the symptoms PLUS another one they failed to mention. Lack. Of. Sleep. How can they fail to mention that along with the hacking cough, sore throat, etc? You will not sleep for more than half an hour at any one time before that tickle turns into 5 minutes of gut churning, stomach clenching, phlegm producing 'howk, howk, howk.'

Lack of sleep, in its turn, leads to other symptoms; unreasonableness, snappiness, eyes like piss holes in the snow, enhanced inability to be arsed to do housework, an increase in the desire to watch TV and drink cups of tea and eat Mars bars.  These secondary symptoms are what, essentially, pisses everyone else off. This in turn leads to a whole household full of very unhappy people. And these unhappy people are not minded to be sympathetic to the primary symptoms. Vicious circle.

Am I feeling sorry for myself? Yes. Absolutely. I'm wallowing. Now....time for a cuppa.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Man Flu

I have man flu. It's my fault - I was less than sympathetic when my husband complained about his aching muscles, thick head and constant sneezing. 
'Man flu. It won't last long,' I muttered as I steadfastly kept my eyes on the TV.
Next day I wake with the sore throat.
Day after I start popping the Advil Cold and Sinus (which is a wonder drug second only to wine as a cure-all). 
Today, or rather at about 2am last night my right nostril turned on. I think I caught it before it hit the pillow. There followed 3 hours of tissues stuffed up my nostril, coughing then moaning as my muscles cramped, then moaning purely to get some sympathy. From the man who got no sympathy. Thankfully he's much nicer than me so I got a cup of tea, 3 dogs and my laptop for breakfast. achy muscles.
Bloody dogs are hopeless sympathy givers.

Friday, 7 January 2011

National Health Service Canadian style

Where do I begin? Perhaps a little background first which will serve as the contrast.
1) The NHS in the UK in my experience, at worst, meant paying for parking to visit, the odd grumpy nurse, busy emergency rooms where you may have to wait 3 or four hours to be treated (and only if it wasn't life threatening). 
2) An emergency ward in Chicago where, at worst, erm....well there was no at worst. I admit this may have been because we had medical insurance, but then again, we have insurance in Canada too.

So. Ambulance arrives and there are lots of questions, first of all being 'do you have your medical insurance card?' Ambulance guys calm and efficient. So far, so good. Then 'do you want to go to hospital?' I look at my husband - he looks at me. 'Erm...yes please.' After all WE didn't know what the bloody hell was wrong. At this point my question should have been 'Why? What's wrong with the hospital?' Hindsight is indeed 20:20. lighted all the way to the hospital with me in warm pursuit (our car is a bit crap) I found my husband by wandering aimlessly around patient-strewn hallways. I recognised his shoes as I passed a room the size of a shoe cupboard with at least another 4 people in it.  He was quickly transferred (I feel that transferred is perhaps too lofty a word for what actually happened. Perhaps cast aside would serve better). He arrived at his second stop that afternoon which, although we did not know it then, was the cushiest of spots. It was in a corridor facing the sluice room and the visitors' toilet - the doors of which were both open.  He was top and tailed by two other beds (trolleys?) and I had to go into the sluice room every time someone wanted to pass along the corridor, which was often.

First inspection: man in jeans and shirt with no name badge came with an ECG machine (he didn't tell us what it was, we knew from previous experience), didn't offer his name or position, just proceeded to rip off sticky pads put on in the ambulance from my husbands hairy legs and attach lots of leads. Paper burped out and he silently unclipped said wires and left. No 'the doctor will be here soon' or even ' someone will speak to you at some point in the future'.
Another 40 minutes of corridor shuffling in and out of the sluice room and then we were moved to spot 2. Spot 2 was on a 'ward'. The wards in the emergency room were 6 small curtained off spaces with a 'corridor' in between them. Our spot 2 was in the corridor.

Second inspection: another man in jeans and a this time a hospital type shirt (i.e. no buttons and blue) came to us and asked us what had happened. We explained AGAIN and he said 'well it's highly unlikely we'll find out what's wrong today but you're seeing a doctor next week yes?' Nevertheless, to perhaps cover their arses he said he wanted to do 'some tests' and then 'repeat them four hours later.' We'll have the results from the first test after about an hour and a half, he told us. We, perhaps naively, thought he might share the results with us when he received.  Nurse quickly arrives to take blood. She was cheery. Don't know her name either. We are then moved to our final spot of the evening. Spot 3 is, it seems, actually purgatory. I'd heard so much about it at primary school that I recognised it within the first couple of minutes. It was also in the corridor of the other 'ward' in the emergency room.

It's a long story because it was a long painful evening so I'll give you the highlights:
- gentleman in corridor position 'a' (we were 'b') had just finished explaining to a doctor that he was there because he had lost 65lbs in 3 months and no, he didn't know what the bleeding, pussy lesions were on his body asked me to help him tie his hospital robe. To be completely clear, he wanted me to tie up his hospital robe on his scrawny, naked body with his pustulating buboes. Of course I did it being careful to neither touch flesh or indeed look at it much. 
- time passes and we have to listen to every single persons conversation (our proximity made it impossible not to) but we also had to listen to their moaning and coughing. Lady in cubicle to our right had grandaughters visiting playing cards and arguing with her. This was irritating but more preferable to their later conversation about her spitting out her dentures so they could brush them before she went to bed. That cubicles highlight was the orderly opening her curtain to say 'Madam, why have you taken your gown off? You don't need to take your gown off to go to the comode.' Right there. Right there I was glad she had the curtained bit.
- guy to the right and rear howled in a sort of muted way every now and then but was otherwise innoffensive, unlike right and front who had diabetes and emphysema. He'd had a couple of heart attacks in the past and his daughter was going to bring him some chocolate in the morning. Mr Right and Front decided he wanted to sleep at about 9.30pm which, of course, meant he lay down. Bring on the phlegmy cough. I'm not talking about chest infection coughs here - I'm talking heavy duty, slimy, hacking, gooey coughs. 
- my personal highlight of the night was woman front, front and right. I say that because she wasn't actually in the ward but was in the corridor (which was on the other side of a curtain of cubicle front and right). At first I was near to tears listening to her 'help me nurse, help me I'm dying'. To her daughter 'I'm afraid I might never see you again.' Terrible. 3 hours later I was of a mind to suffocate her with her own pillow after her 387th 'I'M DYING. HELP ME.' She obviously wasn't bloody dying, or if she was she was taking her time. They eventually sedated her before I had the chance to get the pillow
- so....can I remind you....hacking phlegmy cough so disgusting I had to plug my ears to stop me wretching, the 'I'm dying. Nurse. NURSE. I"M DYING. HELP ME.' Then who joined in? Mr Buboes with the longest loudest farts. It was an orchestra from hell.

At about 11.30 after not hearing about the first lot of blood tests we were told we could leave. We were told the tests were 'all right' and not a word about what the problem could actually have been. We fled along empty corridors....perhaps the only place working that night was the emergency room. Perhaps it was actually all just a bad dream.