Friday, September 15, 2006

I've seen a consultant!

It was all a little tight as the roads flooded yesterday morning and the NHS is notorious. Miss your appointment and you could be waiting months for the next.

I failed to make the check-in ten minutes early, as ordered, but was there at 930 with seconds to spare. It took a while to find the "check in" desk on the second floor as the elevator only went up one floor. The appointment was in a new Treatment Centre.

The receptionist was polite and efficient but unsmiling and unreassuring.

The doctor was terrific. Almost his first words were "these guys are often brief but this is one of the briefest I've had", about the GP note.

He gave me a demonstration on using the Epipen and stressed that "nobody has ever died who carried an Epipen" and "I've never lost anyone yet and you're not going to be my first."

He ordered tests for about ten different substances and promised to call me if the tests threw up anything unexpected. We discussed anti-histamines and I said I was concerned I had been suffering losses of concentration when driving. He gave me a prescription for an alternative anti-histamine, levocetirizine, and told me that although they are one a day I could take up to three. Apparently had I lived across the local authority border he could not have done this but he is allowed to prescribe for people from my area!

Then on to the phlebotomy centre for a blood sample to be taken. The nurse - or practitioner, possibly, I imagine - took two phials of blood. I felt I should have offered a further pint for the blood transfusion service while we were doing it.

Unfortunately I thought it might be helpful to break my diet in advance of the appointment. So on Wednesday I had a brown bread sandwich and then for breakfast, just before going, two slices of toast.

So for about 48 hours I have had to put up with all sorts of things, including the pain in my eye - which I have not had for months. So I took an extra levocetirizine.

The drug is certainly an improvement. Its lack of side effects is a little unnerving. I've got used to sleeping very deeply and to falling in a sort of dreamland, which is so realistic that waking up can be incredibly confusing.

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