When I saw the new GP last week she wanted me to have some blood tests done, as well as putting in an urgent referral to the rheumatologists. I need to be re-referred because although I know the name of the consultant I saw the last couple of times, he was a locum and none of us knew if he was still working at the local hospital. Also, the rules about waiting times only apply to new referrrals, not returning patients.
So today I went back to the surgery to have my bloods taken. Yesterday was a tough day and I was already shattered. I didn't think I looked too awful though, until I made it into the surgery and the practice nurse saw me making my way to reception with the help of the wall. Useful things walls.
My practice nurse knows me, so she knows just by looking at me if I'm struggling. She got me sat down then went off to sort out booking me in at reception and finding the phlebotomist. Nurse took me through and hung around while I had my blood drawn, which was useful as it turned out we needed an extra pair of hands to elevate my arm afterwards. Thankfully it was a pair of hands well aware that if they weren't careful they'd have to put back a dislocated shoulder as the phlebotomist looked ready to flee by that point!
Nurse decided she wanted to see me herself, and so found me the 'comfy chair' to sit in whilst she saw a patient with an appointment and had a word with the GP. The GP wanted my temperature and blood pressure taken, so we did that. Both of which were 'textbook' normal. Despite the fact I was grey, shaking and alternating between dripping with sweat and shivering. Eventually Nurse decided the only sensible thing to write in my notes was...'ill'.
Nurse helped me back to the 'comfy chair' having decided I needed to see the GP anyway. A 'just doesn't look right' from an experienced nurse should never be underestimated. I did not have an appointment booked with either the nurse or the GP, but time was found. Again, these are the kind of daily happenstances which keep primary care functioning at such a high standard in the UK. Sadly they are also the kind of happenstances which cannot be measured and quantified by bean counters in the Department of Health, so there they are deemed not to happen or even be needed amongst the clamours for attention from the middle class worried well.
I like the New GP. I know she's at a bit of a loss in this situation but she's dealing with it remarkably well, and vitally isn't pretending she knows all about EDS when she actually knows next to nothing. New GP had wanted to check for a few things, general inflammation levels, rheumatoid factor just in case, kidney function and to test for streptoccocus as I've recently had a throat infection. My personal feeling is that, despite problems with precise diagnosis, the recent flu I had was more than likely swine flu and this is the after effects on a vulnerable EDS body. Nurse was telling me about a relative of hers who had swine flu, seemed fully recovered other than a slight cough, then was taken ill while on holiday and is currently in an overseas Intensive Care bed. Hopefully the young patient in question will be better very soon.
New GP wanted to alter my pain medication as chronic pain can cause the kind of symptoms I'm experiencing. I'm a little wary of this as I feel more than anything my body needs rest at the moment, and additional pain relief may mean I just push myself harder. We settled on adding in an extra 10mg of Oxycontin to my regular doses to see if that damps things down a bit. Hopefully it won't be so much I can declare myself immediately healed....until ending up in A&E.
I've got a very special weekend planned in the near future so until then I'm on strict, rest and recuperate orders!