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Nick Jones

Health.....

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Bit of a roller coaster ride this week.

 

Tuesday morning whilst shaving I noticed I had developed a small additional adams apple below my usual one.  Interesting... don't think that was there before..... need to keep an eye on that.  Bit of googling at work indicated that ones thyroid gland is located thereabouts and when it gets big and fat it's called goitre and most common in elderly ladies.  Completely painless so easily forgotten until bedtime when yes, it was bigger...

 

Wednesday morning shaving time revealed a really rather significant tangerine sized  lump that was now firm rather than soft and squashy, though still completely painless.  Spoke to the household medic (management) who questioned me closely about progress and then ordered me to ring the GP and make an appointment for today.  This is inconvenient as I have client site visits and about 250 mile round trip so I compromise by ringing the surgery from the car to make a late afternoon appointment.  Same day appointment making is something of an ordeal involving telephone roulette and then a call back by the duty doctor to judge whether you are a worthy cause.  I passed that test rather easily with even the suggestion that morning might be better and am I'm feeling ok.  I'm 50 miles away by now.... and feeling fine.

 

So I did my calls and started home.  By now I'm not feeling ok.  I've got a dry mouth, sore throat, dodgy temperature control and elevated heartrate.  I also feel like I've drunk too much coffee, maybe with a red bull chaser.

 

The (locum) GP is impressed.  Both by the size of my new growing head (small orange) and the speed of it's appearance.  He finds my other symptoms alarming too, though he doesn't say so as such.  Sends me home with the promise to follow up by phone within the hour after he's done some checking as he thinks tests are needed ASAP. Oh great.  Do feel pretty rough though.

 

He does ring back after only 30 minutes to tell me to expect another call from a colleague.  That gentleman tells me I need to take myself to the larger of our two localish hospitals forthwith and advises preparing for an overnight stay.  Management, is in full agreement and rates my chances of spending the night in my own bed as slim....  She takes me there which is good as I'm now feeling like I've been on a major Red Bull bender.

 

The hospital have heard of me (although seemed to think I should female) and have found me a bed (!) They say they won't necessarily keep me in -  depends on what they find......  Basic testing, which involves much needle sticking and blood loss and wiring up to all kinds of electronics ensues.  The common theme is that they struggle to understand the rate of growth of my new head and of my decline.  Happily and for no obvious reason I start to feel better, or at least less bad.  The working theory is that something very unusual is happening to my thyroid gland and I'm having a thyroxine storm.  Then the blood results come back and reveal that no such thing is happening.  This is good because you really don't want one, but on the other hand bad because diagnostically they return to square one.  It's midnight, they decide to keep me for further tests in the morning.  The C word is mentioned followed by the suggestion I get some sleep. Really?After that little comment??!!

 

Sleep is further complicated by my being in a 6 bay emergency medical ward, which has a fair amount of traffic.  Two new patients are admitted.  The poor bastard with chronic king-size hiccups is moved elsewhere, which is good because he's incredibly irritating, but offset by the presence of a world class snorer, a graveyard cough and some old geezer who keeps farting a 21 gun salute.  Oh, and just in case you do nod off they kick you awake every 2 hours to have your blood pressure taken.  Remarkably mine has returned to something within a long spit of normalish.  It's a long night.

 

In the morning things improve.  The consultant comes round promptly, is impressed enough with my new feature (no longer growing) to order an immediate ultrasound scan and within a remarkably short time I get a a wheelchair ride (though I can still walk just fine) to ultrasound.  They have trainees present, which I always like as you are more likely to find out what they actually think.  They identify they problem immediately which is that I have a cyst in my thyroid (v common) which has been bleeding (less common, but far from rare) and it is this leakage which has cause my new feature.  Drain it and go home is their suggestion, with the happy (for them) observation that it's likely to need a BIG needle, but of course this is the NHS so protocols must be observed so it takes a few more hours for me to end up in ENT having my cyst painlessly drained by a rather lovely lady doctor who is moderately impressed with the size of it - I'm ranked 3rd in her personal league, not far behind second place but miles behind first place, which was apparently mahoosive.  I've still got a thumping headache and a sore throat but her diagnosis is a plain old virus infection which probably was the true cause of  feeling properly poorly the day before.

 

So in 3 days I've gone from feeling fine to feeling very poorly with the potential curse of serious disease hanging over me, and back again.  Tonight I'm weary but feeling ok again.

 

The NHS did me pretty well on the whole (they could have kept the C word under wraps maybe) and I met some interesting people, both patients and staff.  I was slightly stuck by the fact that while none of the docs I met yesterday seemed to have any great idea about what it might be, the ones I met today, did.  Pity I didn't meet them yesterday!

 

Apparently the "feature" may recur, but now I know what it is, it's less of a worry and I can point the treatment in the right direction from the start.

 

Moral.... Health - don't tale it for granted!

 

Nick

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Glad your on the mend Nick,

 

I've spent far too long as a guest of the NHS in all hospitals across Scotland throughout the years. 

 

It makes you appreciate what most people take for granted and what the news berates on a daily basis, I've never had anything but good treatment at a personal level from the NHS, sure they have made mistakes occasionally but they are human beings and it happens.

 

My partner is a Senior Charge Nurse (Ward Sister in old words), when you hear the stories going on in their day to day lives it just makes normal job problems fall into insignificance.

 

On average, she looses a patient every day, resuscitates 2 patients (full on jumping up and down on their chest) a day and then gets 3 complaint letters a week and a law suit a month for the privilege.

 

I have no idea why anyone would want to do the job for the money they are getting, what do the government do? send an advisor to the wards every month, of course you would expect this advisor would be medically trained, nope, management advisor....

 

**Political Rant Over**

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Successful in that I escaped alive this time..........!  

 

Not an experience I wish to repeat too often (or ever), but as Matt says, a valuable insight into the world of a biggish hospital and something of an eye opener.  We are a pretty hospital-literate family as senior management has been a hospital pharmacist for 25 years.  Most of our family hospital experiences (youngest son has had a couple of major emergencies!) have been related to a nearer hospital where she was actually working at the time, which makes a difference, if only because people will actually tell her what is going on! My recent experience was in a hospital we didn't know nearly as well as she's not worked there for 15+ years.

 

Nick

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Ooh, sounds like an uncomfortable couple of days, physically and psychologically. Lie you say though, sometimes these events really just allow you to appreciate good health (which so many don't enjoy).

Glad everything worked out well and that you have no more than a good dinner time story and a bit more spring in your step!

James.

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Yes.  I felt very fortunate to be able to literally get dressed and walk away when two guys who came in about the same time as I did (and of similar age to me) were both left behind with the prospect of many further tests for heart disease and brain problems respectively.  Quite sobering really.

 

Nick

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Gosh, Nick, what a graphic story!   Quite like the old "Casualty" series, before it became pure soap, and doctors would gather round the TV as in Grand Ward Rounds, to try and beat the Consultant (or scriptwriter) to the diagnosis!

I didn't get it, I was thinking infection, abscess, from the rapid progress and malaise.     Big C never on my cards for the same reasons.

 

Yes, always take early action on a health problem, don't think it will go away!   Glad you did!

John 

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Back a couple of weeks ago for another ultrasound - showing that it was refilling (I knew that, I can see and feel it) and then to the ENT/thyroid specialist consultant today.  He drained it again (less this time, only about 10cc), but also offered a partial thyroidectomy to remove the cyst altogether, which is probably the way to go if it persists in refilling.  I got the feeling he rather thinks it will, and also that he rather prefers to remove big cysts altogether.  He did also mention that he has patients whose cysts he's been draining several times a year, for years!

 

NHS functioned very efficiently though on both visits - on the ultrasound visit I actually left the hospital 2 minutes before my appointment due time, already done, and was seen 5 minutes early today.

 

Story probably not over yet......

 

Nick

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Story continues.  I've had to get myself "drained" 5 times now, most recently today.  It's relatively painless, though hypodermic operator skill-levels do vary and for some reason they ALL think that they need a smaller syringe than they actually do (even if I tell them it was 27ccs last time so a 10cc syringe won't do :ermm:) and have to change it part way through, sometimes more than once.  That is not my favourite bit.  The 40 mile round trip gets a bit wearing too - it's only a 5 minute procedure.

I'm now booked in to have the cyst removed mid-October which will hopefully be the end of it.  The surgeon seems to think I'll probably get to keep most of my thyroid (or that's what he tells me anyway), which would be very preferable to lifelong medication.  My first "general" since I'm old enough to remember :unsure:

Nick

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Oooooer! Anaesthesia, Nick!   No doubt you will meet the anaesthetist to discuss how they will proceed, when you're admitted, although most hospitals these days have out patient "Pre-Op. Assessment Clinics".    You will see a nurse who has been trained to ask all the routine Q's, ensure all the right tests have been done, and to detect any other health problems that may complicate your op.    But you will (you should!) see your anaesthetist when you coe in for your op. so tell the POA nurse or the anaesthetist of any concerns you have.   They will be happy to discuss everything about the op. 

I won't say 'Good Luck", you won't need it!

But best wishes

John

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Thanks John.

Already done the pre-op......  She said I was the most straight-forward one she'd had all week (and it was a Friday), so I'll take that as a good sign!

Nick

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I won't...... (I'm not anyway).

Irrelevant but vaguely amusing - one of the consultant anaesthetists at our nearer hospital (not the one I'll be going to) is a Dr Sleep........  I kid you not!

Mind you, one of our GP friends has a GP friend called Dr De'ath........ which is probably more amusing when he's not your doctor.

Nick

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Hope it goes as smoothly as my experience this week, in Wednesday Lunchtime out Thursday afternoon with a chunk out of my right Partoid Gland (Saliva), all a bit unexpected and v quick after they found it, but appears I had the "A" Team surgeon. Feeling only slightly beaten up, right side of my face is a bit like having very worn track rod end, not a lot of feedback and doesn't quite respond to steering inputs as well as it should, but should recover fairly fast! Surgeon has said I'll be OK for Prescott on 30th!

Alan

 

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I know a surgeon called Mr.Cutting.

"Nominative Determinism" was bigged up by the less-than-scientific Feedback column in the New Scientist.  They had so many examples sent in that they had  to refuse to publish any more, while stoutly maintaining that it had no basis in fact.  Which it doesn't of course, else the world would be full of butchers called Slaughter,  lawyers called Judge, and gardeners called Flowerdew.

John

Edited by JohnD

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20 hours ago, GT6Steve said:

Speak to us Ol' Buddy....

Don't panic - I'm alive.......! Couldn't post yesterday as poxy iphone had forgotten my forum password (so had I) and I didn't escape until this the morning.

Short version - It's done.  I kept most of the thyroid (just the isthmus removed), which is best-case scenario.  Looks like someone has tried to cut my throat and feels like it too.  Now stuck back together with superglue.  No stitches. No dressing. Provided the biopsy doesn't throw up any nasties (not expected to), that should be the end of the story.

Bit weary now thanks to the current NHS tactic of stashing of any excess dementia patients (forced by the national shortage of nursing home places) on medical wards, which makes them very noisy places at night.......

I may write a more detailed account when I've recovered a bit and the horror has worn off.......

John will be pleased to hear that the anaesthesia was entirely trouble-free apart from a persistent dry-mouth.  I could have done with another about ten o clock last night!

Your best wishes are much appreciated :thanks:

Nick

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