Wednesday, 10 October 2012

But yesterday...

Yesterday, he walked to the radiology department.  Yes, he stopped to catch his breath, but he got there, and back.  Yesterday he was talking to his family.  He enjoyed his dinner.  He made his fire.  He had plans to go out with friends.

Today, he's wheeled into the department.  He can hardly catch his breath.  He can't talk.  He can't move his arm or leg.  He lifts his eyes to grab my attention.  He understands.  He moves the other hand, grasps onto the bed side rails.  He's impatient, he's uncomfortable and he's distressed.

In just over 24 hours, his life has changed forever.  That's what a stroke can do.  Take a proud elderly man, and force him into giving up his independence.  Stop him taking his medications which help his heart failure, make him breathless.

I read somewhere once, the question, 'would you prefer to have a form of cancer, or a stroke, a motor neurone disease?'.  The answer slightly surprised me, the reply was cancer, and today I see entirely why.  That man didn't want to live like this.  He told his family that.  He wanted to die at home.  His wishes will no longer be upheld.  But I certainly hope his passing is comfortable and dignified.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Blog neglect

Life has changed.  And in trying to fathom it out I've had to neglect my blog.

In the last two months, I've turned into not only a fully qualified doctor, but also a patient.  I am pregnant again.  And whilst that is reason for celebration, there's a great deal of trepidation.

I've had many miscarriages in the past.  It's something I don't dwell on, but it's something that in the early weeks of pregnancy is always in the back of the mind.  It's a human thing.

We weren't trying for a baby, it is a lovely surprise, however that has led to complications.  I didn't know my dates, I knew when my last period couldn't have been after, but not when before that date.  I booked a '12' week scan.  Going along, they dated me at 9 1/2 weeks.  That was at least 3 weeks back.  Not too problematic, until you realise that I therefore had a positive pregnancy urine test at 2 days post-conception.  It's just not possible.

The sonographer didn't understand.
The consultant's 'team' member didn't understand.
Noone understands.

The implications in my mind are that a baby which is dated incorrectly could be left to go post-dates too far, putting it and myself in grave danger.  That a baby who is not dated correctly is therefore already small, and it was my daughter being small that saved both our lives - got us into the system of seeing consultants and being carefully monitored.

So now I am a walking pharmacy, ad-cal d3, aspirin, folic acid and for good measure ferrous sulphate.  Except I'm not a good patient.  Ad-cal d3 and folic acid make me feel sick, really really sick.  So i've not really managed to get them down my throat.  I'm constipated enough to not want to take the ferrous sulphate.  And I just don't want to be on tablets, so haven't started the aspirin yet.

I suspect the roots of this are deeply held, and that no health care professional, doctor or midwife, will even ask any question relevant to find out this.

You see, I am now terrified of pregnancy.  Almost phobic.  The thought of getting 'fat' makes me nauseous.  The thought of getting pre-eclampsia again terrifies me.  But equally the thought of not getting it, and having a 'normal' sized baby also terrifies me.  My daughter was 'perfect', how can a big 'normal' baby be any better than that?  I don't know how to care for a new born.  I know how to care for an incubator baby, and a 3 week old, but not a new born.

I don't want to have choices about giving birth.  I'm still affected by my c-section.  I still feel the need to explain why, and how ill I was; how there was no choice in the matter.  I don't need to feel the guilt that my body can look after one baby, but not my first born.