Monday, September 29, 2008

Senses restored

 I had my ear syringed today - finally. I'd followed the doctor's advice and poured oil into the ear for a couple of days before hand, rapeseed rather than olive as he wanted. The nurse wasn't satisfied I had done enough but she managed to get most of the wax out.

I felt quite dizzy at the end of it.

My hearing is now acute. And when I returned home, my sense of smell - which has been mostly absent in recent years - was acute too. Thankfully the sun is shining so I have been able to open all the windows.

A few days ago I obtained some music I have been wanting to listen to for years. I did not enjoy it at all. It seemed bland. Now I'm listening to it again and realising I missed half of it.

Now all that remains is that lower left side.


Saturday, September 27, 2008


Here's a thought about my troubles this week. Earlier in the week we ran out of bananas and did not stock up again until yesterday. When they arrived yesterday I had two together - I missed them desperately.

Today I'm feeling a great deal better although not perfect. There's still some stiffness in my left side and I may still have to make that trip to the doctors. But it makes me wonder - is there something in bananas that's keeping me going?

I'm never quite sure what's in them and how good they are. Fibre, sugar, potassium, certainly. You are sometimes warned to be careful of them if you have allergic reactions as they contain histamine-like chemicals.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Food intolerance testing

I came across this press release from the consumer magazine Which?.

It's an investigation of commercial testing for food intolerance and allergy. It makes some good points. Probably the best point to note is that often problems are only identified through careful detection and keeping a record of what you eat.

However they undermine their case by stating that their researchers went to "hospitals" and managed to have one peanut allergy and one lactose intolerance diagnosed. I wonder if they filled in food diaries. Were they NHS hospitals or private one, I wonder, and how did they manage to jump the queues?

Of course there is no test for salicylate hypersensitivity. When I went to the hospital all my laboratory tests came back negative, even though I had classic allergy symptoms. When that happened, the consultant looked at all the foods I had told him, beer, tomato, pasta meals, avocado and suggested salicylate. I excluded salicylate foods and got better - but not totally better. He seems to have been right.


Upping the dose

I'm having real trouble driving. And last night I made a big mistake. I came in late and they had left me some pasta but nothing else. In the pantry were some tins of sardines in tomato sauce, which had been delivered wrongly by the supermarket. But no fish in brine. So I grabbed these, reasoning that in the past tomato sauce with fish had not been too bad.

It hasn't helped. Today the stiffness down my left side seems to come and go as does the pain in my gut.

And driving - and even getting in and out of cars - is difficult and painful. Both the knee and the hip are stiff. If it wasn't for the salicylate problem I'd take aspirin or nurofen. They are anti-inflammatories and just what you need to stop this kind of problem getting out of hand. I can't take them. So instead I took a double dose of antihistamines at lunchtime. I feel a little better and more flexible this evening - but I'm going to try to avoid driving for a few days.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ten days later

 Ten days after the Chinese meal I'm still stiff and painful down my left side. I took an antihistamine on Sunday, then took a day off pills and then took a montelukast yesterday, just in case the pill was aggravating the problem. It's all made little difference. I'm bending with difficulty and cannot sleep on my right side. It does seem to be emanating from the left side. I've been into my book of symptoms and I don't think it can be the kidney. I think I know what it is - unpleasant but not malevolent, something in the gut. Maybe I should go and see the doctor. Maybe making a booking will make it go away, just like the wisdom tooth and the ear infection.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gammy leg

It's a week since I indulged in a Chinese meal and the side-effects are still lingering. The stiff leg and back I developed the next day hasn't gone away. Yesterday I went for an hour-long walk and was limping by the time I got home.

It's starting in the lower left-side and going down to the knee. As so often I don't know if it's a specific problem or general inflammation in this region. It's like the wisdom tooth problem in August that wasn't a dental problem at all. What's in the lower left side? A kidney? Gall bladder? I've got a vague idea of anatomy. I've signed on to a new system for booking appointments with the doctor on-line - but I have to make sure I keep appointments. If I make appointments and cancel them I'll be removed from it. So it can't be like in August when I booked a dental appointment and cancelled it. The odds are it will be gone in two days.

I took a montelukast yesterday afternoon but I cannot say it has improved things much. According to the terrifying list of side-effects on Wikipedia, it could be making things worse. More on that later I think.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Flapjack and walnut

 I popped into a newsagents for a snack as I skipped lunch and could not eat a meal until late.

I bought a cheese dip and then spotted some flapjack. It was topped with white chocolate and looked delicious. Now flapjack is made from oats and treacle, isn't it? I bit into this flapjack and it tasted of walnut. It was nice, apart from the faint taste of walnut, which I've never particularly liked.

I looked at the wrapper. It mentioned chocolate but nothing about nuts. The list of ingredients was too small to read especially as my eyes were blurring a little. There seemed to be no other  immediate ill-effects so I ate about two thirds before giving up.

As I walked away my tongue and lips began to tingle and my throat began to choke. Thankfully the effects did not last long.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hypo-allergenic shampoo

A few weeks ago I stayed with somebody who had a bottle of "hypo-allergenic" shampoo. The bottle was plain, suggesting it was sold by a pharmacist. I tried it and it seemed to work. That would be great as I've been doing without shampoo for some time. I've continued to use the Tesco wheatgerm and corn conditioner, so it's not been obvious.

So I popped into Boots the Chemist to see if they sold this product. The trainee pharmacist behind the counter seemed pretty clueless about hypo-allergenic shampoo. I'm not sure if she even understood the word. What do they teach pharmacists?

Eventually she showed me a branded product called Simple. It's marketed as for sensitive skin but not labelled as specifically hypo-allergenic. The label says it's free of perfumes and colourings - so that was pretty helpful. I checked the ingredients and there were no obvious salicylates. There was citric acid however - which I'm never sure about.

So I thought I would give it a try. They had a three for two offer so I bought one shampoo and two conditioners. I've been using it for about a week now.

And, so far as I can tell, it's been okay, pretty good in fact. The conditioner seems to need to be used in large quantities so I think I'll be going back to Tesco's for my next stock-up.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chinese challenge

A Chinese restaurant last night. As I've noted before Chinese cooking can be low salicylate, bean sprouts are meant to be free of the stuff - but you never know what extras have been used. I concentrated on fish courses. The first was meant to be a platter of fried fish. What came was a plate of fish that was anything but fried in a thick tasty source laden with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and those miniature sweetcorn heads. As always very tasty but texturally pretty disgusting. I ate the fish and carrots and left the broccoli. I thought I ordered abalone, bean sprouts and Chinese mushrooms for the main course but it may have been bamboo shoots. Abalone I think is a kind of shellfish. It might as well have been thin sliced ham. Another thick, savoury sauce - it might just as well have been the starter. There was not a great deal of difference. Then to finish, a chocolate pudding which appeared to be little more than chocolate ice cream.

And I did drink several glasses of Jack Daniels.

I took a montelukast earlier in the day. But you can draw your own conclusions as to why today I'm stiff all the way down my left side, from the lower back to the knee.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Training caterers

I'm gathering support for a campaign to get caterers better trained in salicylate hypersensitivity. You'll see a poll to the right. So far this week this blog has had 300 visitors and hardly anyone has taken part in the poll. So come on - register a vote if you're passing!!

If you google the question about salicylate, there is loads of information about the problem. It's not all consistent but there is enough to tell any decent caterer the basic principles. Maybe more on this in the near future. I get all sorts of catering from conferences, parties, weddings, funerals, hotels, businesses. I've never, ever come across anyone who understands the problem. If you think I'm wrong, please vote 'no' and if you think the idea's a waste of time vote 'don't know'. Otherwise please support us!!!

(Sometimes the blogspot poller's a bit slow. Try it a couple of times if it doesn't record your vote the first time)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The dreaded hives

I took the montelukast pill at about midday yesterday. So some time today its effects wore off. Unfortunately last night's meal had clearly not been digested. So tonight I have been itching all over - the dreaded hives! Hastily took another pill and a couple of hours later I'm pleased to say things have calmed down.

My ear is steadily getting better and undoubtedly will have fully recovered by the time I get to see a doctor on Friday morning. Perhaps I wrongly blamed the pills for aggravating the problem.In any case I need to see the doctor to discuss getting a repeat prescription.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ears and montelukast

I keep hoping this ear problem will go away but I've now booked to see a doctor about it. I should have done this a long time ago. It's getting up the enthusiasm to negotiate an appointment. Day to day there's a persistent low level buzz and my hearing in that ear is quite erratic. I wonder if I got a piece of dirt in the ear?

Yesterday for the first time in a month I took a Singulair pill as I had to eat out that day. It is worthwhile because it makes a great deal of difference. I ate trout yesterday. Today there are no reactions, in spite of all the herbs and spices used on the fish.

On Monday I took an anti-histaminebefore switching to montelukast yesterday. I still think Singulair aggravates the ear problem and I notice that ear problems are indeed a rare side effect (which you are meant to tell the doctor about immediately). However I think that was in case you had some kind of allergic reaction to the pill. This was not caused by the pill.

Today the problem is much better but it's still there and I cannot put off that visit to the doctor any longer.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The ears

I must do something about my ear. I keep thinking the problem is  going away - then this morning I woke up with an awful buzzing and not a lot of hearing in my right ear. In fact I felt awful all morning despite getting a decent night's sleep. I've put off making an appointment with the doctor. I'm not sure what they can do It seems to me the problem is being triggered by sinusitis. There's a problem in the left ear too and I wake up with a stuffy nose - so it may all be the result of indulgence (a meal at Little Chef) last night. It is a lot better than it was in August. There's still a slight buzzing tonight. Maybe I'll give it a couple of days and see how I get on.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Some reassuring news

Sometime ago I promised to talk about the side-effects of montelukast. Mental health problems were not on my mind but nevertheless this report is reassuring:

American Lung Association Study Finds No Evidence of Depression or Suicide Linked to Asthma and Allergy Drug Montelukast