One thing I have learnt over the years of being in and out of hospital is that if I have any doubt over whether to do something medically then I should be talking to my General Practitioner (GP). Actually I think I have learnt a few things so strike that “one thing”. I have also learnt that if a doctor asks whether I want to admitted into hospital, the correct answer is always “yes” because in hospital I will get all the tests done quickly and efficiently. I have also learnt that I am the expert about me, what I experience is sometimes more important than what the doctor thinks is going on because I can feel the repetition of an event whereas they can only observe from the outside (unless internal explorations are undertaken by scanners or cameras but by that point a decision has been come to).

Okay, I got side tracked again. So the point is, if I am in doubt then I should be talking to my GP. Despite being under tremendous pressure, my GP has never once been negative about me going to see him, and he has always taken the time needed to cover everything I need to talk about. Sometimes he runs late with appointments but I don’t mind, I am quite happy to meditate in the waiting area. Unfortunately getting an appointment to see my GP can take a while. He’s a popular guy and normally the next standard appointment is a month away which is fine if he wants to see how my blood pressure is going or review other long term medication or chronic illness. If I had an emergency then I would probably head to the local accident and emergency department (A&E) which just happens to be a ten minute walk down the hill from my house.

It is possible to get “emergency” appointments with the GP but I am not sure what that would cover to be honest. Interesting, perhaps I need to do some searching on that point. There is also a NHS run 24 hour call line which after an assessment, may advise a trip to the out-of-hours GP service, or arrange a direct entry into a hospital ward. Now I know this isn’t the case in every country. I know that in Germany I would be able to walk into my doctor’s surgery, sit down and wait to be seen; that is partly because in Germany, I would have direct access to a specialist doctor. Anyway, in the UK we have the NHS and I believe in an emergency, our medical care is top tier.

The problem lies between the acute and chronic illnesses, the illness which can last a few weeks but can suddenly go as quickly as it appeared. My current condition is a case in point. I started feeling a bit uneasy on the last day of my trip to Barcelona. A cold ensued over the next week and at some point during that week, I had a migraine. Ever since that day I have had a headache. Not a migraine but enough for me to wince when I move suddenly, to have a stiff neck, not to be hungry, and to feel a bit unsteady on my feet. I have taken high dosages of analgesics to cope with trying to get something done each day, but my abilities are limited. I have tackled simple and emergency things at work but the more complicated tasks have to be left for the moment because I cannot think clearly enough. I cannot make difficult decisions.

Today I didn’t take any pain killers because I wanted to check how I was without them, to reset my baseline if you like. I have survived. I did some writing which turned out completely different than I expected. I have been putting off food shopping but I went this morning with my daughter. It was probably too much but it seemed to be successful in the end (measured in getting everything on the list). I spent the rest of the day either snoozing or relaxing in front of the TV. I have been trying to look after myself. Tonight I finally planted up the window boxes (the advantage of living in Scotland is that at 11pm I can still see well enough to do some gardening), and picked up my son from his friend’s house across town.

It is past midnight now and I have taken some pills to ease the headache overnight. As I sit here in dim lighting and inverted colour scheme on my laptop, I really appreciate how peaceful and relatively pain free night-time is. I think light sensitivity plays an important role in the headaches. It is a common theme of mine, that making decision thing. I still haven’t convinced myself to talk to my GP but having looked up a few things about migraines online, it seems I probably should. I will have to wait a few days now. You never know, maybe the headaches will be gone by then.

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