(A couple of shockingly self-absorbed posts coming up. You have been warned.)
So, for those of you who are interested in the minutiae of my health – which, of course, is everybody I know, and ever sit next to on the train, otherwise why else would I spend all my time telling you about it – I had some sort of stroke a few months ago. Thrashed around a lot, probably made a mess of the carpet, broke some bones and knackered my back, yadadada. Don’t ask me what happened – I wasn’t there at the time.
My treatment for the damage has been great, on the whole. Had a shoulder replaced, undergoing physiotherapy, enjoying all the painkillers I can wash-down with a big glass o’ Bailey’s. However: actually getting to the bottom of what caused the stroke in the first place has been rather limited.
Two months after the incident, I had my first consultation with the stroke department at Burton Hospital. The conversation with Clearly Very Bored Consultant went something like this:
CVBC: “So we scanned your brain when you were admitted, and found this patch here. See? I don’t care if you can’t, and my fat fingers are in the way anyway. Hurry up, because the weather’s nice and I’m playing golf this afternoon.”
Me: “Oh, right, OK.” It is a blurry picture of some sort of cauliflower, but with a rotten-looking patch in the middle. If this was in Tesco, I sure as hell wouldn’t have bought it.
CVBC: “Now here’s your scan from this week. As you can see the patch is still there.”
Me: “Oh, right … OK.” Is it my imagination, or does the cauliflower look slightly mouldier? Yep, definitely would have sent it back.
CVBC: “So if that patch is still present, then it can’t have been a bleed on your brain because that would have dispersed by now. If it’s not a bleed then you didn’t have a stroke … so I’m discharging you from the stroke department. Can you see yourself out?”
Me: “Oh, right … OK?” He’s already closing my file and mentally-practising his golf swing as I find something to ask. “So, if it’s not a stroke … what is it? Should I be worried?”
Some long-distant memory about good bedside manner and the Hippocratic Oath surfaces in CVBC’s whisky-dulled memory. Something about answering a patient’s questions, no matter how trivially obsessed with their own mortality they might be.
CVBC: “I can’t answer that. You’ll have to ask the neurologist when you see him. In six weeks, according to your notes.” He is unclear about whether he can’t answer it, or won’t.
So someone who is qualified to look at my particular sort of mouldy-bit-of-cauliflower will allay my worries in six weeks. Presumably if CVBC saw anything that looked like a ticking time bomb on my scan he would have said something there and then … or at least, told me to cancel my neurology appointment because in six weeks I’ll be too dead to need it.
So, putting on my coat, I felt vaguely comforted in CVBC’s opinion that I would live for at least another six weeks. If he’s not worrying about my immediate health, then why should I? But then – holding his office door open for me – he finishes our time together with this little corker:
CVBC: “And remember – if you suddenly get dizzy, or your limbs start twitching uncontrollably, make sure you ring 999!” He nods in an affirming manner and closes the door.
What the f…
I like to look on the bright side. And in this case: well, at least this is good material for my blog, eh?