Sunday, 4th December, 2022
Day 5 of the Sun/Heatstroke and it is very unpleasant. I am constantly tired and cycling through hot and cold. Mainly I feel cold although others say I feel very hot and my body, unpredictably, starts to sweat heavily. It has meant that I haven’t been outside for two days. It feels seriously weird.
The temperature has been quite hard to live with. Pauline found this wrap-on plastic thermometer which I’ve never seen before.
She wrapped it across my forehead for about 20 secs and a green, indicator line appears to show my current temperature is 38.5C. The standard adult reading would be 36.1 – 37.2C and 39.4 is phone the hospital.
Confined to the house, I’ve reached out to male friends as we all watched the matches today and shared our views on them. It is nice to know good people.
Back in our Angmering village, Jason, our builder, will have taken the car out around the Development to keep it ticking-over and charged. We’ve been here 6 years now and the first 2 saw us socially committed. We went down to the village ‘do’. When we realised it was too exciting for people of our advanced years, we stopped going.
Monday, 5th December, 2022
Sorry to go on but this illness has gone on too long. Woke up soaked again. Talked it through and decided to get some professional advice. Phoned 111 this morning. They just said the wait to be spoken to individually would be a few hours and that the website could be consulted. The first 4 questions I answered each responded with, Phone 999 so that wasn’t much help but it was a bit scary.
It has been decided that I need to go and see a Doctor which is where we are going now. Could be an interesting experience.
The place was fairly routine and not particularly well appointed but the people were lovely. We were seen by a very fat, black lady Doctor and her chavvy, black, tattooed Assistant. They were both absolutely lovely thoughtful although neither side really understood what the other was saying.
How much do you weigh? I told her in ‘Stones’. How much is that in Kilos? I told her.
What medication are you taking? ‘Doxazozin’
How to you spell that? D O X A Z O Z I N
I spell it over and over until she says, You mean A zee, O zee?
I said, You are weird people!
She replied: You think we’re weird. You weigh yourself in ROCKS.
Now take this next door and stick your ‘spotted dick’ in it and fill it. I said we cover ours with custard. They both thought I was mad and stuck a huge needle in my arm. One pint of blood (maybe a bit of an exaggeration) later, my urine sample – brilliantly presented and without custard – brought the news I hadn’t got heat/sunstroke all along and it was almost certainly an unrelated liver/kidney infection that my blood analysis would reveal in a few days. A cheery farewell and don’t forget to pay $165.00 on the way out. If you feel bad and would like to pay some more, don’t hesitate to call.
Tuesday, 6th December, 2022
I slept throughout the day until a phone call from the Path Lab late in the evening told me my results were in and they didn’t look good. I had Elevated (double normal) liver enzymes which they needed to see me about tomorrow at 9.00 am.
Suddenly, a man who got up early to embrace the joy of a 10 mile walk, loves to write and communicate, is specialised in research has found himself having to think 10 times before shuffling off to the toilet and struggles to maintain his balance in that process. Has struggled to write anything coherent for days
Wednesday, 7th December, 2022
Pauline and I discussed over night what our response should be tomorrow and it was soon proved right. We were back at the clinic. It was as we had suspected. They had found Liver damage. They recommended Ultra Sound which would cost around $1000.00 moving up toa CT scan which she instantly warned was not cheap. How much? Well in to the multiple $1,000.00s and it is the treatment that it reveals is needed which really costs.
Of course, we have insurance which will pay for all of this but there is the sense of escalating cost set against increasing treatment. We had decided if the process sounded too intricate or costly, we’d go back to UK and the NHS. M&K have been unbelievably nice to us and they already sense our disappointment. They have said immediately, you come when you want and stay for as long as you want. It makes the leaving seem so much easier.
One of the immediate problems with this illness is that it has attacked my ability to think clearly, make decisions confidently write directly. I’ve had M help me contact my UK Dr’s Surgery through Patience Know Best. We copied the identical blood test which I had in September which produced ‘Satisfactory’ results and the pdf them for the surgery here to compare.
After we’d made the decision to return, she helped me find and book a similar Premium Economy flight from Tampa. I felt like a geriatric as we did it. Same Flight, same airports, same timings. The price of $2,620 x 2 = $5240 which seemed reasonable at such short notice but the whole thing was waived. We just had to pay a $200 administration cost.
It was obviously horribly cold when we booked and received the details on my BA app. The current temperature at Gatwick, which is renowned for low temperatures at night, says we will land in 2C.
Thursday, 8th December, 2022
Slept for a large chunk of the morning and then went out with M&K to return the hire car and then on to visit a few local beaches. I wasn’t really up to it but I did my best. I even had my photo taken with Pauline.
I was wearing winter clothes because I felt so cold even though the temperature was about 28C at the time. It is one of the symptoms of my problem which I think started with heatstroke. Enterprise, the hire car firm, returned all our unused deposits instantly and everything was done so easily that we will almost certainly use them next time.
I actually ate some pizza for tea – my first food for a week – but almost instantly regretted it.
Friday, 9th December, 2022
Our last full day here. Pauline was packing but I was so tired I slept almost all the time. I’ve been having lurid dreams but last night’s really shocked me.
In 1972, I was starting my first teaching job and was given a list of rentals I could try by the LEA. They were all absolutely dire. The best of them was the most deadful ‘Room’ in a former stone mason’s house which had, until very recently, been used as a brothel. I arrived there desperate for accommodation.
The ground floor room was as basic as you could get. It had a double bed in the corner, a sideboard where I could put a TV, a Dining Table and chairs under the window and an armchair next to a small, tiled, open fire. The one other room was a tiled kitchen which held an old, sit-up-and-beg gas cooker and a sink and drainer. Toilet/washing facilities were upstairs and communal.
I can describe that in detail now because of my dream. For all these years I had blocked out that awful experience. It was the most uncomfortable and unhappy of my life. In my dream, I was standing outside in the courtyard through the gate looking in on my younger self sitting in the armchair completing another Open University Essay at 4.00 in the morning before setting off for work. For the first time in all those years, my mind had allowed myself to see the memory in an accurate way. I woke up in tears.
The other dream was a typical ‘fever’ one for me. It was all very vague and difficult to recall but we were on a train in central France in pitch darkness. If you know anything about me, you will know that Pauline is my sat.nav. I am so useless geographically that I can get lost going to my local supermarket.
We got off the train in to sheer pitch blackness. I turn to Pauline for guidance. She is nowhere to be seen. I reach for my mobile but it isn’t in my pocket. I think, I am in central France in pitch darkness without my mobile and unable to call anyone for help. My mind is panicking and I am going mad as Pauline touches my wrist. I hear myself say, Is that you? A groggy voice says, Yes, what’s wrong?
Apparently, she didn’t touch my wrist. She was deeply asleep when I woke her shouting, Is that you? which she thought wasn’t normal as she was the only other in the bed. Just shows the turmoil that goes on in my subconscious.
Saturday, 10th December, 2022
Travelling day. Our BA flight doesn’t leave until early evening but the dilemma is where to watch the Match. Pauline & I decide not to put M&K to any more inconvenience and chose to go to the airport early rather than have them make a mad dash after the match.
We were there before 1.00 pm, said our goodbyes to M&K, found comfortable armchairs with charging points for our phones, iPads and Laptop and settled down to watch the match. The airport wi-fi was reasonable but the match wasn’t.
As soon as the game ended, we quickly went through the World Traveller bag drop desk and down to gate.
Everything was totally efficient. Boarding started completely on time by ticket price. We were on early and had an overhead locker to ourselves. Very soon after the 7.30 pm departure, Dinner was served. Unfortunately, this was one occasion that I wasn’t hungry and couldn’t really enjoy it but Pauline compensated for me. We both had the chicken and it was lovely.
After Dinner, I just pulled the blanket over me and slept and slept …. until Breakfast was announced about two and a half hours from London which was 6.30 am (UK). I just had a glass of orange whereas Pauline stuffed herself with chicken sandwiches. She certainly deserved it after being so worried about me.