Ignorance is NOT bliss

I spent most of yesterday in bed, then spent some time sorting through clothes. (My wardrobe is full to bursting, so it’s high time to get rid of some stuff. It’s only fair to say Elly did the physical work – I just made decisions.) I slept through most of the night, waking a few times from pain and dehydration, eventually rousing well after noon. After lunch, I tried to phone the hospital to find whether my colonography results were available yet.

I first phoned the hospital in Livingston where the colonography was done. They told me that that only the consultant who had ordered the colonography could tell me. The only name I had was that of the colorectal doctor who had seen me at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital on 21 March. So I phoned the Western: the hospital operator had never heard of this doctor: it appears that she did not have a full list of doctors and numbers at the hospital.

Despite asking to be put through to the colorectal unit, I was put through to the neurology department: naturally the receptionist there couldn’t help and so put me back to the hospital switchboard. Again I was put through to an incorrect department, but this time they couldn’t put me back to through to the switchboard.

A thard call got me to the Royal Infirmary: they put me back to the Western, where I simply asked to speak with the colorectal unit. This worked, and the receptionist there was friendly. However she told me that the radiologist who did the colonography would need to write up the results for the consultant. He or she would then need to dictate a letter to my GP, who would then contact me: results cannot b given over the phone. (This makes some sense to me: how can the hospital be sure it’s me that’s calling; how can a receptionist describe results of a clinical test and the next steps these imply?)

However, despite the colorectal receptionist’s friendliness, the unhelpfulness of the others, and the time taken to get nowhere, had me in in desperation. It’s probably not much of a coincidence that my guts were on fire again too. I screamed obscenities and burst into tears. I’m rather glad I was sure I’d put the phone down.

The ever-wonderful Elly then phoned my GP practice they promised that the duty GP would phone back that afternoon. In the meantime, I helped Elly put some hooks on her wardrobe doors: that is, she did the physical work while I patronised her about marking up, drill diameters, piloting screw-holes etc. We also sorted another drawer in my wardrobe. This involved repairing the drawer, so I was also able to patronise Elly about knock-down fittings (aka block-joints).

The GP called back around 6pm: she told me that while she is not a specialist and so cannot speak in depth about the colonography results, she had at least a précis: nothing abnormal found in my bowel! We discussed options: I had definitely got worse since she sent me to the Western on 21 March. Did I want to go into hospital just now? I didn’t see an advantage to that unless they could do something to either diagnose or at least reduce pain.

So the upshot is that I’m seeing her on Monday morning, but I’m to go to A&E if the pain gets really bad in the meantime. (She recommended against going through NHS24 in this case: the time taken and possible frustration would be unhelpful.)

So as of now, I have no real idea what is going on inside me. (We have theories but I’m no medic, and I don’t want to think myself into hypochondria.) All I know is that it’s getting more debilitating and depressing: I cry quite often, mostly because I’m not being the active, capable person I like being, because it’s a drain on people I care deeply about, especially Elly, and because there’s no end in sight.) The one bit of good news is that achieving things – the clothes sorting and DIY-overseeing – has made me feel better. Ho-bloody-hum!

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