Firstly, I have to say a big thank-you to all the people who helped me yesterday, from Margaret and Eileen, (on the right, neighbours), to the senior consultant, and in between - the doctor, nurses and other staff who looked after me so well.
Without being selective, I know that I can give special thanks to Charlotte, and her colleague, (OOPPSS!! - can't remember her name) who ministered to my needs in an attentive and competent manner. ESPECIALLY, when, at 9:00pm, and starving, they gave me some tea and toast!
I know that Charlotte will see this page as she pointed me in the direction of
http://www.londonclinic.com/ to get a photograph of her - it was supposed to be the welcome image. Unless, Charlotte, you used to be a wooden door, your photo is no longer there! Let me have one via email?
So, let me, "Tell you a story."


Tuesday, 05 March 2002. On Monday night I had an excellent, peaceful and normal sleep. These are not common now! I got up at about 7:30am - very early for me. Feeling motivated, I cleaned out the cutlery draw, (it's been annoying me for a while!). Then I went for a walk in the park, and on the way back, I met Harold with his dog. I bent down to pat the dog and when I stood up, I felt a bit "queasy". By the time I got home I was OK and did the tidying up of my computer HD, (lot of old stuff to get rid of after transferring to btinternet).
I had my lunch, a corned beef sandwich, and still feeling motivated de-frosted the fridge and freezer - moving at a reasonable pace.
Afterwards I sat down, but again felt a bit "queasy" - light-headed. I took my blood pressure and it would not register! I panicked a bit, but sat for a few minutes and took it again - still got EE - off the scale. Did it again and got a reading of 175/95 - this is VERY high for me. Feeling worse, (panic - anxiety?), I phoned Margaret and she came down with Eileen, another neighbour. I had already pulled the emergency cord but, was not in a condition to argue.
Margaret spoke to the help line and then called the doctor. He said for me to go to him. As I did not feel that I could walk to the surgery, Margaret called for an ambulance. I was not keen, as I thought that if I just rested, with someone with me, I would recover naturally. This had happened about two years ago.
When the ambulance arrived there was a discussion as to whether I should go to A&E and it was decided that I should. While in the ambulance, the doctor arrived and asked the para-medic how I was and he said that my glucose was 12.7 and they agreed that that seemed OK. In the ambulance, I was given oxygen and I seemed to feel better. But, when in the A&E the queasiness came back.
At A&E I had an ECG. The assessment nurse said that it seemed OK and sent me to the waiting area - I still felt not too good. This was about 4:15pm.
As an hour went by, I thought, "There can't be much wrong with me or they would have had me in the treatment area."
At about 6:00pm, I thought, "I feel OK now." I thought about going to reception and saying that as I was OK that I would not waste the hospital time and just go home. However, I placed that thought aside.
At about 7:15pm, I was called into the treatment area and placed on a trolley.
The doctor came and questioned me about the problem and I explained and said that I now felt OK.
She took blood samples and my BP was taken, (not too bad!). I had to wait a while for the analysis to come back.
The doctor then said to me that everything seemed OK but that she would like the senior consultant to see me. When he came, he took me by the hand, and said, "Your body is excellent! It is going tick, tock, tick. Your body is excellent!" What a relief that was. He then asked if a urine sample had been taken and it hadn't. As is always the case, I had just had a pee! Nevertheless, I went and had a try and it was a success!
I asked him, if stopping taking my heart medication had had a deleterious effect. He answered by saying that with the results he had, that he would not put me on any medication for my heart. So, it seems that my decision of two and half years ago was sensible!
When the consultant got the result, he told me that I had a urine infection and that my glucose levels were high. What a blow that was! Up a little while ago - down now - but, never mind. I was given the "pricked finger" sugar test and it was 15.7 (the tea and toast?).
The consultant returned and explained about the high glucose and asked the doctor to do a blood gas test and this was done.
The outcome was that I was told that I would have to stay in overnight to see how I did. No! No! I wanted to go home - I could relax there. It was agreed that I should go and I was given an anti-biotic for the urine infection. A letter was to be sent to my GP giving all the info.
I spoke to Charlotte about the infection and joked that I had not been with any naughty girls, (or any good girls for that matter!) We talked, and I could not think of anything. Then today I remembered my phimosis, (got you all again!), and wondered if when I was applying the salve that I had introduced the infection. I will have to be ultra-careful.
We also spoke of the sugar levels and I think that I had better cut down on the Tesco Special Reserve whisky and "start taking the pils."

So, all in all, as it is now 11:50am I will upload all this and have may pilchard sandwich.

Three good things transpired yesterday. First, my heart can't be too bad, second, I have found out about the urine infection and last, the blood sugar problem seems to be confirmed.

"Good night, Seattle!"
Thursday, 14 March 2002. I now feel that I can write down what happened subsequent to the above.
On Wednesday 6th March I was OK until the evening when I felt ill again and my BP was up. I phoned for an emergency call and the doctor that phoned back asked what medication I had in the house. When I told her, she said to take a beta-blocker and a sleeping pill and go to bed. I did this.
On Thursday 7th. I was partly conscious and delirious. It was like flue but much worse. It felt as though I had been thrown out of a fourth story window!
I was only a little better on the Friday. On the Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun I slept for 20 out of 24 hours. I reckon that the infection I had when in the hospital had broken out again. The surgery phoned me and said that the doctor wished to see me. (I thought that it was to discuss the letter from the specialist at Basildon hospital or Southend hospital.)
I attended the surgery and the doctor said that he just wanted to see how I was. After I asked if he had had a letter from Basildon hospital he found it and glanced through it. All in all, I was not very happy - I was also not feeling well.

The outcome was that the doctor gave me a prescription for an anti-biotic, and said I was to have a blood and urine test to check my sugar and cholesterol. This should have been today but I was phoned and told that the nurse had rung in sick and that I was to attend tomorrow. Southend hospital was to be chased to see if an appointment had been arranged for me to see the cardio-vascular specialist about the vessels in my neck.

The health service falls down if you want emergency treatment. You fall foul of the Catch22 rule. If you are well enough to phone then you are well enough not to require an emergency call!

And again today, Friday, I have been phoned and told that the nurse appointment is cancelled again and that I have to phone on Monday for an appointment!!

Thursday, 21 March 2002. Finally, on Tuesday, I had the blood test done - but - the nurse had problems getting a vein and only got a small amount of blood! I am desperately hoping that I do not have to go to the hospital to get another done. The urine test for glucose showed a ++, not very good.
The blackness is gradually leaving - though the medical conditions are still there. My phomosis is now again under control - that makes life a little more comfortable. I have still not heard from Southend hospital about an appointment to see the cardio-vascular specialist. This is despite me chasing them up a week ago.
For the moment, I am going to ignore it all. After all, if he says I need an operation, I am not going to have it. I'm now believing what my sister Dolly believes, "Best not to know what's happening, keep away from doctors!" I'm coming up to the 'three score years and ten' so I have had my innings. What I find depressing, is having been told that my condition is serious and no-one giving a bugger about it. It would be better not to have known!

Saturday, 23 March 2002. The blackness has lifted, and I now feel at peace again! It has been a bad three weeks. Never mind - let's get on with life.
I had a letter with an appointment to see the surgeon, about the obstructions in the blood vessels in my neck, at Southend hospital 12/4/02. Don't know if I will go under the knife, though.
The GP's receptionist phoned yesterday and asked me to go in straight away. My blood test showed that I have high of normal cholesterol and high of normal glucose. I am now on medication for both. The GP has also instructed me to have a double whiskey each evening. I had to explain to him that I do not like to drink each day. My routine is a drink on three nights of about eight/ten units. He seemed happy with that. (Though!! The notes with the glucose controller says, "No alcohol!") I'll just use common sense. I asked for an appointment to see a counsellor to talk over some of my problems and he agreed. Also, I will be seeing the dietician.
At last, it seems that people are taking notice of me. I have never been lonely or felt alone, but in many of those days recently I felt that the world had turned it's back on me. That is the blackness of depression. My philosophy is still, "Hell is caring for someone. Heaven is having no-one to care for."

Friday, 05 April 2002. I saw the dietician today. She was a very nice person, informative, and very professional. She thinks that my sugar level at average of 9.0 is high and should come down to 7.0. My diet is not too bad, other than I have my meals close together and my main meal is a bit big. The sticking point is my phew drinkie poos! She advised no more than two/three units with food. The surprise was that alcohol can have the effect of lowering the sugar level - but, it can bounce back up high. Would be good technology if I could drink instead of taking medication! In the end, you have to compromise between a miserable life or a happy death. (Though, as I said to the dietician, I could go all religious and, give up the booze and go to church instead!) Considering all the other things wrong with me, if the sugar doesn't get me, the arteries in my neck will! For the time being I will do all that she recommends other than, maybe, moderate the booze a little, and see how things go. Might be interesting.

Saturday, 13 April 2002. I saw the consultant yesterday and the news was quite good. I am not any more likely to drop dead than any other 69 year old! To summarise. Two arteries in my neck, that serve my eyes, are blocked, but as I have had no adverse symptoms, since the original loss of sight in my left eye, it can be assumed that no further problems will occur. My logic says, " If two arteries are blocked, Where are my eyes getting their blood from?" When, eleven years ago, I did not have the double by-pass and survived, I was told that the heart muscles can get their blood from alternative sources. Is this what has happened? Make's you think how complicated this ol' body is!
I am still trying to come to terms with the diabetes. The sugar levels are under control, but I feel too restricted in my diet and when I can eat - still I expect I'll get used to it. I'm still drinking, but seem to have less more often.
Several years ago I said that if just one more thing went wrong with me then I would 'quietly exit stage left'. Several thing have gone wrong and I am still here!
Friday, 10 May 2002. Had an interesting day at Southend Hospital having an MRI done. The poor radiographer, like everyone else, had a job getting a vein to put a canular in! He apologised and said that I would have bruising, but all OK nowt there. He first tried the forearm and then the wrist. For the life of me I can't see where he put it in the wrist - clever guy! The first session of four short bursts were OK. But, oh my Gawd, the noise of the ten minute session! It was like laying between the rails while express trains were going over at 100 mph! I got used to it after three minutes and had a nice relaxing time. I've said it elsewhere, and it bears repeating, that we are very lucky to have such dedicated people in the health service. Another thing - the radiographer explained more to me, in a few seconds, about the circulation of the blood in the vessels in the neck and head, than the consultants did.
Wednesday, 26 June 2002. I may have a problem with one of my pills, Lipidor, (atorvastatin, a cholesterol reducing medication). I have had bad pains in the calves. On the web, I found some worrying information that said that there can be the side effect of liver damage that can lead to the muscle breaking down and leaking toxins into the bloodstream, with fatal results. I did not take my dose yesterday, and I see the GP on Friday. I'm hoping that all is OK.
When I was with the specialist at the hospital he asked if I had had leg pains, and I had not at that time. I thought it was strange that in talking about the blood vessels in my neck being blocked, that he should ask about my legs. Then I remembered that I had just shown him a list of the drugs that I was taking. Did he pick up on the atorvastatin?
Wednesday, 03 July 2002. I bought a cholesterol tester, (by BodyWatch), and got a reading of 2.6/0.5. This was very low and I thought that I had used it wrong - it is a bit fiddley! I just got the result of the blood test I had done last Friday, at the hospital, and the result was 4.0/0.88 ......... excellent, other than the ratio is 4.5:1 and ideally should be less than 4.0. That is with no medication, just diet (see previous entry). I see the specialist on Friday and will discuss it with him. I still have the ache in my calves. The numbers used for the cholesterol test are total cholesterol/high density lipids - ('bad'/'good' cholesterol)

Blood Cholesterol (HDL & LDL)

Cholesterol will not mix with water, and therefore needs some assistance to travel throughout the blood stream. With the help of a form of cholesterol HDL (high density lipoprotein), packets of cholesterol are formed to help move cholesterol through the blood. HDL helps remove cholesterol from the body by transporting it to the liver. Another form of cholesterol is LDL (low density lipoprotein). LDL does not aid in the transportation of cholesterol out of the body, instead it deposits cholesterol onto the vessel wall. LDL molecules contain much more cholesterol than HDL molecules.

How to Increase HDL

How to Decrease LDL

(Good Guys)

(Bad Guys)

  1. Exercise
  2. Cessation of smoking
  3. Weight reduction
  1. Decrease saturated fat intake
  2. Maintain good body composition
  3. Increase dietary fiber
  4. Increase aerobic exercise

The HDL/cholesterol ratio is more indicative of cardiovascular disease than total cholesterol. The amount of HDL and LDL in the blood are added together, this number for all practical purposes, indicates the amount of total cholesterol. Therefore, if your HDL count is low the LDL count will account for the remainder of the total. For men an acceptable ratio of (HDL/Total Cholesterol) is 4.5 or below, and women is 4.0 or below.


Friday, 05 July 2002. The specialist said that the MRI had confirmed the findings of the Ultra Sound. One of the vessels in the left side of my neck is blocked, and one on the right side is partly blocked. He said that if there were going to be a serious effect from the blockage, it would have happened at the time. The partly blocked, most probably will not cause any bother. The risk of operating to clear the blockage is greater than leaving it alone. We talked about my apparent reaction to atorvatstatin, and he said that some people do get muscle pain, and put me on pravastatin as he wants to keep the cholesterol low. Let's see what happens. I, on my part will get on with my life - f*** 'em all!