a series of remarkable events

I am incredibly grateful for some chest pain that I experienced recently. Yes, you did read that right. The chest pain turned out not to be heart-related but when you talk to medics about having chest pain the first thing that they want to do is check out your heart to make sure you’re not having a heart attack. I wasn’t. Once the doctors had worked out what was going on and changed some medication I was taking the chest pain went away.

However, because I had seen a doctor in the hospital about this pain they referred me to their chest pain clinic. At the chest pain clinic the nurse practitioner confirmed that none of my symptoms looked heart-related and none of the ECGs I had had showed even the slightest problem with my heart. But in order to be absolutely certain (and maybe also confirm that the other problem had caused the pain) . I was referred for a scan.

About a week later I was sat on a train on my way to attend a meeting in London when my phone rang. A very pleasant lady on the other end of the line told me that she was ringing to make some appointments for me to have some scans and X-rays on my heart. I thought that she must have the wrong patient number and queried this, but she triple-checked and confirmed that yes it was me that needed these tests because of the heart problems that had shown up in the initial scan. At this point she realised that I hadn’t been given the results of my initial scan and said she would ask the doctor to call me later in the day, and she would then call me to make the appointments.

Later in the day the doctor did call and explained that the initial scan had shown some underlying problems in my heart that needed treating and that yes I did need these further tests. He was so reassuring and gave me the confidence that he was on my case.

So within about 10 days I began a series of tests at our local hospital which just happens to be the cardiac centre of excellence for the whole of our county. The tests were fairly unpleasant but were designed to show what was actually going on with my heart. (I did have an allergic reaction to the dye used in one of the tests but even then the doctors I saw were able to resolve the problem after a couple of days).

The following week we met the surgeon who showed us video footage of what was going on inside me (quite a surreal experience) and explained what he needs to do in order to fix this problem. He explained a series of options including one procedure that he thought was most suited to me, and (modestly) said that he was one of only a couple of surgeons in the country who is able to do this procedure.

And the day before the appointment with the surgeon I had had a long-standing appointment with the brain hospital in London that has helped resolve my migraine problem. I mentioned to my neurologist that I was expecting a heart operation and he told me that there were certain things my heart surgeon would need to know and gave me contact details to give him.

So, in the near future (we don’t know when, exactly) I will have an operation performed by this excellent surgeon. It will mean a couple of months’ recovery afterwards but then everything will be back to normal.

I have had to tell people about this because of having to cancel or postpone commitments and I am almost overwhelmed by the kindness, encouragement, love and prayers that people have shown in response. I have been so supported by my colleagues. It’s really humbling. I feel absolutely fine in myself and when I think of that I realise how where I am today is as a result of a series of remarkable events:

I was (and still am) feeling quite healthy, but unknown to me there was a problem with my heart which would have gone undiscovered, so I am really grateful for the non-cardiac chest pain that led to me being seen in hospital (the centre of excellence in our county that is only 15 minutes from home); that led to me being referred for the initial scan and the scan being seen by a doctor who recognised the problem; that led to me having the further tests which clearly showed the problem; which led to me being placed on the list for a surgeon who is one of only a few in the country who is able to perform exactly the operation I need to sort out the problem.

About 4 weeks ago I was blissfully unaware that anything was wrong. I feel incredibly privileged that this series of remarkable events has led me to this place.

The good news for you is that the flow of bloggages may be interrupted for a while. The bad news for you is that once I am feeling up to it I will have a number of days when I will be looking for things to do and writing lots of bloggerel may be one thing I turn to.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

euphemistically speaking

We have interesting euphemisms for innocuous occurrences.

“bun in the oven” – pregnant
“economical with the truth” – liar
“indisposed” – on the loo (we all do it)
“pre-loved” – second hand (yes, honestly, it’s a phrase that’s coming into usage)
“built for comfort, not speed” – overweight
“need to recharge my batteries” – tired

I’m not sure why we do it for innocuous events and circumstances because surely the idea of a euphemism in to say something indelicate in a delicate way. I am about to indulge in some navel gazing, so if you are not in the mood for that you could stop here and simply enjoy the euphemisms.

At the moment I need to recharge my batteries. But that is literal, not euphemistic. The implant that lived within my abdomen and sent electrical impulses into my brain to (successfully) stop the chronic migraines and cluster headaches has ceased to be. It has shuffled off this mortal coil. It has curled up its tootsies. It has bitten the dust. It has croaked. It is dead.

Sadly this means that the headaches are back and seem to be enjoying their unfettered freedom by running at maximum. So, by way of a warning to you if you see me and I look like a bear with a sore head, I might be feeling like one too (without the fur or claws). If I am grumpy it may be because sleep is at a premium at the moment. If I look like death warmed up, it may be that I am struggling to cope. Sorry (in advance) if I am not up to expectations.

It has been my experience in the past (and is now) that God gives me the grace to cope (just) and the perseverance to carry on despite the pain. That’s not because I am heroic, but because he is gracious.

It has given me a fresh appreciation of what it is like for many people who live with chronic pain, and I can honestly say that if you are in that category I sympathise and empathise with you.

Be blessed, be a blessing.