So I have been feeling unwell for a while...initially just some sort of viral illness I thought...but then I developed a cluster of neurology symptoms that included transient blurred vision in my left eye;pain from above my left eyebrow to my upper lip;a left-sided trigeminal neuralgia;a feeling as if I was wearing a mask over the left side of my face and head...much like the Phantom...and "yes,thank you" to all those who will write in and tell me how it would improve my looks!!
My face felt warm and swollen and numb...it was neither warm to the touch or visibly swollen,but it was numb to the touch.
There was also an odd sensation that I can only describe as a feeling of pressure under the left parietal and frontal skull bones.I have also had nausea and vertigo.
I have no history of migraine,cluster headaches or epilepsy.I have had several episodes of trigeminal neuralgia over the past few years though....hummh.
And I do appreciate that there may be several people sticking pins into a voodoo doll of me!!
After a few days,with no change to the blurred vision or the feeling of pressure I thought I should probably get someone to check my pupils at the very least.
I wandered down to the local Walk-in GP service as I couldn't get an appointment at my GP...despite what the Labour Government said over the past few years...its just impossible to see a GP in this town on the day that you're actually ill or unwell.
The doctor was charming and well dressed with clean teeth,a bright smile and freshly washed hair.
Apart from looking into my eyes,she didn't examine me in any other way...now...in fairness...I do not always need to examine a patient to determine what is wrong with them...sometimes its just obvious...mainly it really just about taking a good history ,but the examination...the actual physical "laying on of hands"....reassures the patient...even if you do share a common language...and she appeared to have some difficulty understanding me...mainly because English was clearly not her first,second or probably even her third language.
And of course,the need to answer her personal cell phone several times did lead to a slight mis-communication.
Fortunately I speak fluent Spanish..."Hello....I'm an Allied Army officer...I understand you're neutral...please give me a small dry sherry...where are the women?"
She thought I had a brain tumour...suggested I see my own GP...and suggested I take some paracetamol.
I did take some paracetamol...with a large glass of red wine and half a chocolate fudge cake.
I was then able to see a GP at my own practice the following day...he looked into my eyes...also didn't feel he had to examine me...suggested I had a sinus infection...and prescribed a course of Amoxil.
In fairness he did do some blood tests...my U+E,LFT's and FBC were all okay although I had a raised ESR and CRP.
I didn't get any better.
So a week later,still feeling like death warmed up,still with blurred vision and an odd feeling in my head, -(stop laughing you there at the back...)- I saw another GP at my practice who took a full history...who didn't look into my eyes...and sat staring blankly at me....
So...what do you think is wrong with you ? he asked
"Ummh....I'm not really sure....novel concept, but I sort of thought you might have an idea...?"
No...not really...Umm...I see Dr Nospeekadainglish thought you had a brain tumour...what do you think?
"Well....I don't really think I have a brain tumour...but I do think I have a cluster of neurological signs and symptoms...perhaps you could refer me to a neurologist?"
Well...okay...there's about a six week delay...
"I thought I could see a private consultant...perhaps you would write a referral letter for me...?"
Oh!....Okay...when do you think you can get an appointment to see someone?
"Actually....I've already made an appointment to see someone on Thursday..."
Oh!...Well...what if I won't give you a referral letter then?
"Well...Doctor....I will just write it myself on a bogus letterhead...but I'll use your name..."
You South Africans...you're so demanding...always wanting to be seen immediately ...always wanting better care than anyone else...
"In fairness...I don't want better care than anyone else...I just want some care....and I'm willing....happy even, to pay for it myself...and...not to mention it too loudly...neither you nor your colleagues know whats wrong with me..."
And that's why I saw a specialist neurologist this morning...and why I am having an MRI of my head on tuesday next week...when I hope to prove conclusively that I do have a brain despite what every woman in my life has ever said...are you listening Boss?
There we go then...40 % tax and private health care...its a plan...