Everybody Look At My Pants

I haven’t heard back after my fit-to-fly test yesterday. Given I leave Exeter on Monday and fly Tuesday morning they’re cutting it fine to sort me out with oxygen and for me to inform the airline if I do indeed end up needing to take the oxygen with me. I’d like to take this as a good sign – if I need it surely they’d have let me know already, given the urgency of the situation – so I must be fine. I’m not that positive, especially as I’ve been in pain today and got more out of breath on a walk round the neighbourhood than I have done on other days this week.

Then again, yesterday’s test involved depriving me of full strength oxygen for twenty minutes so perhaps I’m feeling more out of sorts as a consequence and it’s a reasonable response to such an experience? I’m so anxious about having lost the ability to confidently determine what is going on with my health that it makes me hyper vigilant and likely to assume every physical sensation is a bad, bad sign.

However, I have made further preparations for my trip hoping that the rituals of getting ready for a vacation in Ohio will prove good joojoo. I’ve made copies of the details of all my travel arrangements: flight times and numbers, coach tickets, hotel, etc. And I’ve done a final round of laundry to make sure I have nice pants to wear while I’m away. That’s pants in the English sense, not the American sense. It’s liable to be so hot I’m expecting to just run around in my underwear.

Like I can run anywhere with my lungs.

I’ve also written a list of the medications I will need to take with me, hoping to avoid a repeat of November’s calamity when I discovered I hadn’t packed the right box of one of my emergency meds. I expect to be checking and rechecking the wash bag they’re being kept in about a hundred times before I leave on Monday. And then another hundred while I’m at the hotel.

Pants.

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And I’m Gonna Be Hiiiiiiiiigh As A Kite By Then

I’ve been up at the hospital for a fit-to-fly test this morning. This consists of them checking pulse and oxygen levels for a few minutes then shoving a peg on your nose and putting a scuba-type mouthpiece in your gob through which you are given reduced oxygen air to breathe.

Mmm yummy, reduced oxygen, fewer calories, even Catholics can like it. I can’t believe it’s not butter. I did not say such things out loud otherwise they’d have assumed I was suffering from apoxia which is the very thing I don’t want them to think I’m susceptible to when flying.

The scuba experience lasted twenty minutes so I read the book I had in my bag. And finished it. And then stared at the wall while they took readings every minute. And my throat got more and more dry. And my mouth wanted to reject the scuba thing. And sea monsters came up through my shoes to eat the table.

No, not the sea monsters thing, that’s apoxia again. But not really. My oxygen saturation went down – so would yours – but I don’t know if it dropped dramatically or not as I don’t know what they expect normal people’s sats to do under such conditions. That’s for my consultant to decide. I hope he will call me before too many hours have passed and let me know whether I need to take oxygen on the plane or not.

And I hope not. Of course I do. The sea monsters want me not to have oxygen on the plane too. And so does Harry Corbett who used to shove his hands up Sooty and Sweep’s bums before he died. For entertainment purposes, not out of some depraved sense of gratification.

I believe I deserve cake now.

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Hope

I went up to the hospital twice today. Once for my morning appointment with the respiratory specialist and the second time to check in my friend who was having some tests in the afternoon. It will come as no surprise that I found it a better experience to be the visitor rather than the one undergoing medical checks but the morning was good in other ways.

Effectively, I have the ok to head for Ohio on 3rd July but the specialist listened to my concerns and has organised a ‘fit to fly’ test for next week, more for my peace of mind than anything. They’ll check my oxygen levels and make a decision about whether I should take oxygen on the flight but I’ve never needed this before and I was told today that my lung function is actually better than it was at the same clinic twelve months ago.

Marginally better, obviously, but better. And I’ve flown to Dublin and back and, more importantly, to San Francisco and back since that clinic. Chicago is eight hours or so, less than the California flight, and it seems my lungs are finally showing signs of benefitting from the second course of IVs in six months.

That said, I’m not back to whatever is normal for me. I’m weaker, thinner than ever and fatigued but I can at least now properly get excited about a vacation which will replenish my soul even if it does batter my poor old body just a little more.

Inspired, I have done one lot of laundry, some cleaning in the kitchen, cooked dinner, ate raspberries and ice cream for dessert and, as I said, been back up to the hospital to see my friend then accompanied him home in the bus. Way more activity than I could have managed three days ago, let alone a week ago. Cancelling Tuesday’s plans depressed me but in the long run it now seems to have been the right decision. I was listening to my body’s needs which I’ve not been convinced I’ve done especially well for a while. 

So well done me. And yay for going to The USA at the same time as their satsuma coloured neo-fascist fatbloke will be in the UK. Perhaps he can be ill with lung problems and I can do his job in some sort of cultural exchange. Yes, we can.

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I’m Going Deep, Baby

Depression. Deep. Deep. Deep. I am up with my fed. Dumped in my downness. My happy is unbunnied.

This year is almost half done and it is so far unlikely to be remembered especially fondly by me. Of course if my health deteriorates any further I’ll just be dead and unable to remember anything anyway.

But, on the bright side. Oh, sorry. I had hoped to counter my gloom with some not gloom. Nothing occurred to me. I mean, yes, I am hoping a vacation in that America will still happen in twelve days time but I can’t guarantee it is certain because of my stupid health. 

Tomorrow morning I see my specialist. I guess that makes it the day things are decided one way or another. If he advises against travelling I will sink further into depression. If he feels I should go ahead I will still be extremely anxious about the actual travelling and the toll it will take on my ridiculous body.

If I do get to go on vacation the best bit will be the vacation. Unless I get ill and have to convince an American hospital that my internet health and travel insurance is valid enough for them to look after me without me coughing up thousands of bucks. I don’t want that to happen. I just want a nice, relaxing holiday with people I love. Recent experiences have left me terrified of being ill away from home, of being vulnerable and weak while having to deal with hundreds and hundreds of people as well as the stresses and anxieties of the journey.

Deep. Deep. Deep.

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Can I Kick It?

I know, most of you are sick of the cup filled with world football already and it’s only been going five days. I’m not sick of it. The kicky abouty stuff takes my mind off my current depression concerning my slow slow recuperation from my recent flare-up, distracts me from the distressing possibility that I may still not be well enough to go on holiday to America in a fortnight’s time.

So I enjoy the stupid people in the stupid studios talking stupid nonsense about a stupid game before a stupid ball is kicked. And I enjoy the stupid games. Especially when the holders of the cup of world football are beaten. And I enjoy the stupid people in the stupid studios talking stupid nonsense about a stupid game after the last ball has been kicked.

And then the cup of world football goes to bed for the evening and I am left alone with my sadness and my sorrow and my terrible anxieties and my fears and my physical pain.

Hope Wimbledon starts soon.

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Putin A Brave Face On

In order to help distract me from the agonies and anxieties of my recent recurrence of health issues the world has decided to have a cup of football. Wall to wall kicky runny fally over stupid haircut scorey scorey scorey. In Russia.

Yes Russia, that well known bastion of democratic values where no sportsperson ever has been found guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs.

I would, of course, prefer to just make a proper fucking recovery from my horrid lung shit but if I’m going to be stuck in bed feeling sorry for myself as well as feeling like shit then I might as well do so while the sights and sounds of footballs being hooded around occupy the air around me. The sounds are important as most of the time I’m too exhausted to even focus on the screen and I have to rely on commentators to make word pictures for me.

This goes on for a month. Hopefully my flare-up doesn’t go in that long as my best form of distraction would be to be well enough to take the vacation in Ohio I have booked for two and a half weeks time. Until then I shall drink from this cup of world football. And sleep.

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Doctor And The Medics

Another day, another national health service waiting room. I’m very early, on purpose, for my appointment with my GP. I say ‘my’ GP but since last year when the doctor I’d been registered with moved to a different surgery I have been shunted from one to another without seemingly being permanently registered with any of them.

I miss my previous GP. She was knowledgable and compassionate, which ought to be minimum requirements for the job. She was also okay with the possibility that my uncertainty over whether I might be struggling with muscular pain or inflammation more likely to signify another respiratory flare-up meant sometimes I might take up a few minutes of her time unnecessarily so she could use a stethoscope to make a more informed decision about the muscular/inflammation conundrum. Crying wolf, I call it, but not like some idiot mountain boy in the fairy tale. More like someone who genuinely is unable to tell at times if his musculature is bitching at him or his lungs are clogged with infection. Because pain is pain is pain, it’s not gift wrapped and labelled for ease of identification concerning its source.

I saw a pain management consultant yesterday and there are some options going forward when it comes to coping with the fact that I now live with an increased level of pain day to day. A body can only take so much, especially when it’s a body that hit an oil slick in its early forties and is now skidding violently out of control towards early geriatric status. Or death, whichever is more convenient.

If whichever GP sees me today assumes I’m just here to check in with feedback from that pain management session they’re in for a shock. I have a long list of concerns, both physical and mental, which I feel have become very problematic this past six months. I can no longer take it for granted that I know my own body better than anyone else: it’s time I made sure my first stop for everyday health needs step back up in terms of helping me live as normal a life as it is possible for me to live.

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