Thursday, June 11, 2009

At The Hospital: The Bard Of Semilong Gets His Head Examined

I went for my long-dreaded hospital appointment yesterday, after interrupting a funeral procession at the Holy Sepulchre Church in the morning and then getting torrential rain poured on my head.

It was a strange day generally. I was asked to take a urine sample for one thing, and unable to find any other receptacle to piss in, I gave my lunchtime best to an empty multi-vitamin carton. Can you imagine what the results of the urine test would have been, if they'd taken them? But they didn't. I walked all the way up from Semilong to Cheyne Walk and spent an hour in the hospital with a carton of my own wee-wee in my pocket for nothing.

The consultant I saw, who's well known to the caring fraternity, questioned me for a long time on the seizures I'd had, how I was when I wasn't thrashing around on the floor, and asked me about my family history. Which isn't that great, medically speaking: meningitis, cancer, insanity...we've had everything the Grim Reaper carries in his hold-all, or near enough.

I was so nervous and uneasy talking about all this I actually forgot what dosage of medication I was on when she asked me. I could almost hear her thinking, "Is this man safe to do anything but stay at home by the window with his glasses on his lap?"

She reckoned there is a 70 or 80% chance that most people's seizures can be controlled by medication, if the dosage is right (which mine currently isn't, apparently, so it's going to be increased), and if there are no underlying causes for the seizures. To which end, I had to go off to the neurophysiology department, still carrying my piddle,after I'd finished with the Consultant,and have an eeg.Or is it an ecg?

Anybody who's ever had one of those will know what a surreal exercise they are. You are filmed, for one thing; I wasn't quite sure what the purpose of that was, though she did her best to explain it to me without being alarming. Then a kindly nurse draws on your head and starts attaching electrodes to it. After which you have to lay down, open and close your eyes a lot, and at the end of the examination breathe really exaggerated deep breaths for three minutes.

It's all to record the electrical patterns in your brain. Serious business, as Noel Edmonds would say. But being the mature and intellectual man I am, I had a fit of the giggles during the deep breathing part. The nurse assured me that was common. In schoolchildren.

Once everything was done she washed my hair for me and I was let loose on the world again, feeling a sense of elation just because I'd actually gone to the hospital, despite being scared shitless, and survived the appointment. When I left the neurophysiology department I took my wee-wee out of my pocket and dropped it in an overfull wastepaper basket. Probably a dirty thing to do, but I figured I'd been walking around smelling of my own urine for long enough.

I don't know what the results of the eeg/ ecg were, however. They have to be looked at by a doctor. I don't know when I'm going to get them either. If there's nothing startlingly untoward in my electrical patterns, the nurse said they might wait until I had to come back for an mri, which apparently I'll be getting an appointment for through the mail.

So let's hope my phone and my letterbox are quiet for a couple of days at least.

1 comment:

All This Trouble... said...

I'm glad it all went as well as possible. Your take on hospitals is so vastly different from mine. Of course, I've worked there and that makes a big difference. I've never heard of them asking you to bring along some urine. They usually only hand you a specimen cup and have you go at it. Strange and funny. And serious.

I'm sure your scans will be fine. Even with the fit of schoolgirl giggles. That's what oxygen does for you!