Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Walking around eyes wide shut

My last post was about news which changed my world and I would like to say thank you to those who have contacted me and to bring readers up-to-date with what has happened to date, but first a couple of photographs I have taken in the last few days.

I have stood under this sign countless times loaded down with shopping, waiting the little to carry me up the hill, yet until last week the wonderful Commercial Inn pub sign never registered. I must have looked at it eyes wide shut. Now I see every time. I must find out more about the scene depicted.

I was also slow to notice the demise of the Belle & Jerome Café Bar and its replacement by Rye. From what I have read elsewhere, Rye is owned and managed by the same people who ran Belle & Jerome, so it can be fairly described as a rebranding exercise. Looking at the price list, it appears to be offering themed food days for £10 including a drink. I will go and try the coffee before too long. I do like the frontage and the signage. According to Beestonia the name is a nod in the direction of Beeston Rylands as well as alcohol.

Right now though, Susan and I are so pleased that when we decided to downsize from Lenton last year after thirty-five years we were determined to look no further than Beeston or Chilwell (OK, we did look at Bramcote and Sandiacre too, but in each case just once, honest). Our main reasoning was to do with being close to shops, public transport and hospitals.

We only ever needed the latter big time back in 2006, when Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer and we found ourselves visiting the City Hospital regularly for about three months. The attention and care was excellent then and it has been during the past month for me. Since the 8 May I have been to my GP or hospital nine times, with three hospital visits already booked for June, and the attention and care from the local NHS has been fantastic.

In my case I can only describe myself as one lucky bunny. My visit to the Nottingham City Hospital Respiratory Assessment Unit (RAU) resulted in better news than I and Susan dared expect after the x-ray report from the QMC two weeks ago, which said I showed signs of ‘established fibrosis of the lungs’. My young doctor moved fast — hence the visit to the City Hospital last week.

The specialist doctor we saw ordered another x-ray, which was identical to the first one on 8 May and she said what the x-rays showed was ‘some scarring (of the lungs)', but not enough to produce the symptoms, so it is unlikely that I will need any treatment now. Having presented early they want to see what happens, as they don’t know what causes scarring/fibrosis in 40% of cases

There have since been further blood tests, a chest scan and next week I have a heart scan, because when the hospital doctor examined me she identified some calcification of the aortic valve of the heart, not unusual in someone of my age.

My cough can probably be traced back to a virus I had before Christmas for three weeks and the accompanying cough in some people continued for up to two months afterwards. I then cleared out the loft, followed by some reaction to cutting grass for the first time in twenty-seven years and the blood I saw was probably from small blood vessels in my throat rupturing.

I have been told to avoid crowds and public transport during the winter and my GP is being told that if I ever have a chest infection, I am to be prescribed anti-biotics. On hearing this, my daughter Alicia’s comment was ‘No more buses for you Dad’.

As you can imagined all this comes as a relief, but I am not sure life will ever be ‘normal’ again. It is the closest I have come to examining my own mortality. How I am going to miss those winter bus rides!

It will probably be another couple of months before I fully understand what has happened, but I will try to find some way in which I can do more to help promote public awareness of lung fibrosis and how people can best support and fund research into finding a treatment just to arrest its progress. If I understand what I have read, the medical profession and researchers have given up trying to find a cure — and that is a dramatic measure of just how bad lung fibrosis is!

For now, to repeat myself, I am one lucky bunny!

Our NHS is a truly wonderful institution, which I am sure we all know from personal experience. Occasionally it will get things wrong and when it does they need to be put right ASAP.

Living in Beeston, we are truly blessed when it comes to easy access to hospitals. A close friend, who lives in Gainsborough, has a knee problem and will  be coming to the QMC later this month to see what can be done. Beeston, truly, is a great place to live.

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