Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A bit of a headache

A couple of people have commented on the lack of new postings on this blog. I'm grateful that you noticed. Here are a few words of explanation.

Three weeks ago I was doing some work on the computer when I had what I thought was a bad migraine attack. My vision became blurred and I felt nauseous. I switched off the PC and lay down in a darkened room to recover.

Normally a migraine leaves you feeling a bit shaky and after a couple of days you are right as rain again. but the feeling of shakiness never really went away.

After the attack I noticed a few symptoms that were a bit scary because they were really odd. For example I had trouble telling the time. I could see the hands of the watch but couldn't seem to make sense of it. I also had trouble finding the pointer on the computer screen, even when I knew where it should be. These symptoms did start to wear off, but I still felt that something wasn't quite right.

For example, if I was trying to pick something (like a Wainwright summit name) from an alphabetically sorted list on a web page I couldn't find it. If my radio was on 145.450 and someone said they were QSYing to 145.525 I had trouble finding the channel.

I also had - indeed if you could watch me typing this you would find I still have - a lot of trouble using the keyboard. It became so frustrating that I lost most of the desire to post to the blog.

I was in denial that anything was wrong. Plus, to be honest, I didn't have much faith that the system here would do much to help me. I hoped that if I just carried on trying to do normal things one day I would find that everything was back to normal again.

Last weekend I went for a walk to the top of Binsey, one of the local Wainwright summits. I made it to the top OK but after I finished making contacts and went to leave I felt strangely disorientated and had to search for the way down. On the drive home I almost went off the edge of the road because I had trouble judging the distance on the left hand side.

Walking around town several times I knocked into lamp posts and other obstructions on the left hand side, as if I didn't notice them.

Eventually, yesterday, I decided finally that I should see my GP. He listened carefully as I described all the symptoms I have mentioned and did a few tests on my reflexes and co-ordination. Unfortunately it seems my pessimism about the system was not misplaced. The doctor told me that the specialist he would like to refer me to, a neurologist, is not available here.

He said - these are more or less his exact words - that the NHS is very good in an emergency, such as if you have a heart attack, but in the case of ongoing problems it doesn't work very well. His role is just to help me get the best out of it. So he has arranged for me to have an appointment at the hospital in Whitehaven for a CT scan. which given the speed things normally move here could be several days. In the meantime I have been advised not to drive, which is obviously understandable but a major hassle in an place where public transport is very limited and it is a couple of hours by bus just to reach the hospital.

So I don't know exactly what is the matter with me. I just  have to wait for the results of the scan and hope for the best. In the meantime I can still talk to people on the radio but it is unlikely that I shall be posting to the blog or answering emails very much.
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