In March last year I spent a couple of days in University College Hospital, after I collapsed at home on a very hot day.
Today, I went for a check-up and they told me to get lost, as my heart had now returned to normal. Obviously, I’ll have to keep taking the tablets for the rest of my life, but it does mean that I can live a much more normal life.
The consultant said that only a third of those, who end up in the hospital with the heart problem I had, make this sort of recovery.
So perhaps, I’ve been lucky. But then, I put it down to the luck that gave me a double dose of survival genes at conception. If the Jewish genes don’t poke a stick in the Devil’s eyes, the Huguenot ones will get her. Egging them on is a good helping of Devonian stubbornness.
I hope, there’s a few more years in this old London mongrel yet!
There is a widely trailed story today about what expectant mothers should avoid. It’s here on the BBC. This is the main advice.
- Use fresh organic food rather than processed
- Avoid food and drink in cans and plastic containers
- Minimise use of moisturisers, cosmetics, shower gel and fragrances
- Avoid buying new furniture, fabrics, non-stick frying pans and cars when pregnant or nursing
When C was pregnant with our first child, she was a student in her last year at Liverpool University. She actually did her exams at nearly seven months pregnant. She got a II-2, so she couldn’t have done badly.
She didn’t purposedly avoid any chemicals, but as the nice flat we lived in didn’t have a shower, she did at least avoid shower gel, which is on the list of products to avoid. As to the last point, we couldn’t afford new furniture or cars. our frying pan had been borrowed from her mother and was a well-used steel one, complete with a bit of added rust. Did it put iron into the food?
Neither of us smoked, although throughout her pregnancy, she had to endure the Capstan Full Strength cigarettes of her tutor; Robert Kilroy Silk.
But advice was different in those days. We went to stay with a family in Hingham in Norfolk, where C had been a mother’s help during University holidays. The mother, who incidentally was the daughter of a doctor, asked if she’d like a brandy before going to bed, as it would make the baby sleep better. She declined, but only because she was pretty abstemious with alcohol.
We also moved south just a week or so before the expected birth date and then in London, she didn’t have a hospital. I told that story in a post called Waiting for Apollo 11. Theses are the links to Part 2 and Part 3 of the story. We didn’t do boring, even in 1969.
We all survived and the only question, that sometimes comes to mind, is was the cancer that killed her caused by all of those smoky tutorials forty years before she died?
I do know that if she was here today, she’d be laughing like a drain!
We have an awful lot of bad NHS hospitals in this country. My son was in one in Manchester that was terrible and should have been closed years ago. I also grew up in Southgate, where there was a ring of bad hospitals and from reports recently, one is not much better, fifty years later. But protestors still fight to keep it open.
Now we have the story of Julie Bailey and the backlash against her campaign against malpractice at Stafford Hospital. It looks like her cafe business is now going bust and I suspect lots of people will be pleased, when she leaves town.
For many years, I lived in the Suffolk countryside, miles from any hospital. But on the whole healthcare was good, as we were always taken to Addenbrookes at Cambridge, which is a large well-equipped hospital supported by a very good ambulance service.
There was a tremendous fuss, when Newmarket Hospital was downgraded, but a few years later, no-one felt the system was worse, than when it was a General Hospital.
Healthcare is moving on and more and more things are being done in the community, by GPs and even like in my INR testing, by patients themselves.
but those evil people in Stafford don’t seem to have seen this reality, hence the title of this post.
Interestingly, at Stafford in an unrelated piece in the Sunday Times, it is stated that recent data shows that those choosing Stafford Hospital has dropped by two-thirds.
I can’t remember the last time I was put under anaesthetic for an operation. I suspect it was when I had a tooth out at about ten!
Some years ago, I looked at a database of cases of horse anaesthesia and was surprised how many died. An anaesthetist that I used to know, once told me that you avoid it if you can. I’ve also had two friends die during hip-replacement operations.
Now though, there is a report on the BBC, where Peterborough City Hospital is using films instead of anaesthetic. at least the lady in the picture looks pleased.
I have had two endoscopies without anything at all and I would recommend this. Admittedly, I was talked into it the first time at Addenbrooke’s by the smoothest surgeon anybody has ever met. He argued that I wouldn’t break teeth and I could help him with the procedure, by moving as he required. Not only was he smooth, but I felt no discomfort , except for a small release of wind.
The second one was in the same hospital and it was performed by a lady doctor, wearing a floral summer dress. Work out where my head would have been, as I lay down facing towards her.
I’ve also had a vasectomy, which was performed under a local. It was successful and nothing untoward happened.
If it’s possible, I will continue to avoid anaesthetic.
So I wonder what film I would choose!
I suppose Death In Venice would probably send me to sleep anyway.
Yesterday was fairly typical of what I go through. My nose seems to run from the time I get up until I go to bed.
The picture shows all the tissues I got through in a couple of hours.
It used to be bad when I was a child, I can remember my mother constantly boiling up handkerchiefs on the stove, both for myself and my father, who was similarly effected.
But it’s never been as bad as this.
It seems to have started when I was in hospital in Hong Kong, and it just seems to be getting worse and worse.
Could it be long term effects of the Warfarin?
This is very much in focus, after the Francis report into Stafford Hospital. Here’s my four-pennyworth, which I wrote to BBC Radio 5.
In the last five years, my wife and son have died of serious unrelated cancers. I’ve also had a bad stroke and also hospitalised because of heart failure.
The large modern hospitals, like Addenbrookes, University College and the Royal London have been superb. But the small hospital in Manchester, where my son was, was completely Dark Ages. But NHS and local politics wouldn’t allow the wrecking ball in.
All these small hospitals should be demolished and everything centralised.
After all if you were any form of medical staff, would you like to work in a small crap local hospital or a big prestigious one? So crap hospitals, like Stafford and I suspect a few others, get the staff they deserve.
So when you want your local hospital to do everything, just think again about what you want!
But then wasn’t in any different. As a child, you avoided all of the local hospitals in Enfield and Barnet, and went to London if you could. Recently, at Newmarket, everybody avoided Bury St. Edmunds Hospital if they could and went to Addenbrookes. At that hospital, I’ve met so many staff, who live nearer to Huntingdon, but prefer to avoid the hospital at Hinchinbrooke, whose reputation isn’t the best.
So can a lot of the problems in hospitals like Stafford, be put down to the good staff leaving a sinking ship?
My left humerus hasn’t been in the best of sorts the last couple of weeks. But it’s always been like that in the cold, ever since the school bully broke it. After Southgate I took the train up to Oakwood station and could see the park, through which I used to walk every day to get physiotherapy on my arm, in the three months or so after it mended.
I always used to walk, rather than take the two buses, as it was in some ways easier. And of course, I got to keep the bus fare! What I used to spend it on, I can’t remember! But it was probably bits for my Meccano.
In some thmgs, I waste money, but at other times, I’m quite the opposite. It must be my careful Jewish and Huguenot genes!
This is due to be announced soon and it’s already here on the Downing Street web-site.
Sadly, it’s too late for my wife and son, who died of cancer in 2007 2010 respectively.
My wife had a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart, which is so rare and deadly, that I don’t think any new technique would have helped. The doctors at Papworth Hospital, where she was treated had never seen such a vicious cancer. Short of a transplant or an unexpected miracle nothing could have saved her.
In my son’s case of pancreatic cancer, his lifestyle hadn’t helped and he might have stood a chance, if Trafford General Hospital where he was first treated in Manchester had picked it up earlier. As it is, they didn’t and Addenbrooke’s took their time too, as it was unexpected. Knowing what I know now, I would have got him to Cambridge earlier or taken him to Liverpool, where treatment of pancreatic cancer is a specialty.
So although the sequencing of cancer sufferers DNA will help in many cases, it wouldn’t have helped in their two cases, which were so tragic for my family.
What would have helped my son, would have been better diagnosis of his problem at an earlier date.
My wife went to the hospital fairly soon after she started running out of puff. She also led an exemplary life with regard to food, drink, not smoking and keeping very fit. Although that couldn’t be said for my son, who smoked heavily. And not just tobacco!
As an aside here, I am a coeliac.
This disease can be picked up by looking at the DNA. So if DNA sequencing becomes commonplace, looking for hereditary diseases like this may be a sensible and worthwhile use of the technique.
It is being reported, that nurses are calling for more compassionate care in hospital.
I’m 65 and last year I collapsed and ended up in hospital. It was a teaching hospital and the doctor asked if I wouldn’t mind being used for interviewing practice by medical students.
It made a miserable time, almost enjoyable! Especially, as some students were attractive female ones.
Do other hospitals encourage their medical and nursing students to do this? It certainly, is a good way to get them up to speed in an important and perhaps neglected part of their training.
The BBC is running a story about the first hip transplants at Wrightington Hospital near Wigan in the 1960s. There’s a lot more in the Wikipedia entry for John Charnley, the surgeon who led the pioneering work.
At Liverpool University in the 1960s, I was in digs at Huyton. My landlord’s daughter, Sheila Vaughan, was one of the nursing sisters at the hospital and told us about the work there.
Sheila had been a very good golfer, who’d played in the Curtis Cup.