Saturday, 10 September 2011

The best laid schemes......

I do believe I have quoted this line from a Burns poem before…but its apt again this week. The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley”. The fireworks started well-we had a prime spot with a marvellous view of the castle from the park just a short walk from the house, it was a mild night (for Edinburgh) the swans peaceful on the small pond below us. And the first half hour was magical and probably the rest was too we just missed it! I was especially enjoying the music from the Nutcracker section when I realised my husband was acting distractedly. His tendency is to play things down so I commenced the third degree and my questioning disclosed he had severe heartburn (his words), was feeling clammy, dizzy, had blurred vision and felt sick.

As you may recall I am a nurse by profession so I was checking his pulse and listing the signs of heart attack in my head (www.bhf.org for more info!)And also remembering that there is many a story about people thinking the pain of a heart attack was heartburn. As this was an organised event in the park thankfully the paramedics were quickly at hand when our son went off to look for them. As he insisted that really he was fine and could walk home in a minute, the female paramedic replied, “ I will be the judge of that”. He then conceded control realising he was dealing with a formidable force. However once she had mentioned several times that he didn’t look his age they became firm friends …… A night in the Royal Infirmary resulted in a happy ending I am much relieved to say. The reaction was to a painkiller his GP had prescribed for a rib injury and was indeed severe heartburn coupled with dropping his blood pressure and pulse. His resting pulse is normally low so the combination caused a suspicion of cardiac signs and again the doctor in the Infirmary saying his pulse was just low because he is fit, boosted his ego no end.

So all’s well that ends well…a quiet week to recover and stopping the tablets means he is well again. Phew. Although a reminder yet again-as if we need it-that life is precious. My planned visit to the GP consequently was after a night of no sleep and worry so when she said to me you need more time to rest and recover from all you have been through I gave in without a fight for once! Its been a quiet week all round but its helped.

I saw Mike at the breast clinic too and we agreed to do nothing further this year to allow me to get my strength back. I wanted to understand better the risk of the cancer returning. If this was a first diagnosis I would, with such early disease have 90% chance of no return in 5-10 years. I know I can live with that but what is uncertain for me is the complication of this being for the second time. There are no stats for this as my situation is still unusual. So no definite answers but a bit more information to help with my decision. If I can ever make it! But I guess postponing a decision is a decision of sorts and frankly the only one I am currently capable of making. Most unlike me but these are after all uncharted waters. And I have decided that I will wear my asymmetry as a badge of honour-and remember only try on new bras when I am feeling more robust (a long story for another day..)

Our experience this week of course confirms the importance again of early diagnosis whether it’s for cancer, heart disease or a long-term condition like diabetes. The sooner the treatment commences the better for all, including the stretched resources of the NHS. Charities like Breakthrough Breast Cancer, BHF, Diabetes UK and many others do vital work raising awareness to improve early diagnosis knowing it saves lives and quality of life too. Working in partnership with the NHS is powerful and it would be great to see more of that in the future to enhance the impact of all our work.

Reasons to be cheerful are of course happy endings and the love and support of family and friends. I am hoping to see the new Jane Eyre film soon too. The actress was Sophie in “In Treatment” (great series about a psychotherapist starring Gabriel Byrne) And she is a stunning actress. We have two Mary’s visiting tomorrow: my mum and the West Highland terrier puppy of the same name. I am sure they will get on…less sure about Koshka though. Also our daughter comes for a few days before heading of to a wedding on the Mull of Kintyre…all together now ……!

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