You may have noticed, dearest reader, that there was no blog entry last week. This was because Ive been very ill with food poisoning from which Im still recovering. Heres what happened:
Two weeks ago, before my last uploaded blog entry, myself and Mrs H went for a lunchtime meal at a well known restaurant in Hartlepool – followed by a couple of swift pints of beer. That evening, Mrs H started having stomach pains and the inevitably nasty toilet consequences followed. Annoyingly for her – I felt fine. Thinking this was a 24 hour bug (a certain type of person always says that theres one going around as soon as you mention a bad stomach these are the same non-medically trained busybodies who think that Chlamydia is a type of climbing rose) no further action was taken until a couple of days later on Friday night when she felt so ill she had to visit an out of hours doctor at the Hospital, who immediately diagnosed food poisoning. Drugs were administered and Mrs H retired to her new porcelain sick bed. The next day I started with the same symptoms and visited my GP for help when he opened on Monday. He listened intently, prodded me, listened to my tales of Mrs H and told me that I had something gastric (No really I wouldntve guessed!) and that it was some kind of bug. I mentioned Mrs Hs symptoms but he still maintained his wonderful, detailed diagnosis.
After another seven days with very little food (by this time Mrs H had got better as shes got the constitution of an ox), taking double the recommended dose of prescription pain killers and being bedridden I decided to visit the doctor again. This time I wasnt strong enough to walk the 200 yards to the doctors but had to be ferried to and from the surgery by the saintly Camella. This time, another GP diagnosed food poisoning and I was ferried home again where I spent another five days in bed with very bad stomach pains.
I am now out of bed and eating fairly normally. I still intermittently get really bad stomach pains (only yesterday I had to return to bed for five hours in the afternoon where I lie shaking and in agony). All my energy has disappeared, the muscles in my abdomen have been damaged, my lung capacity diminished and my appetite has been drastically reduced. A pint is at present a distant goal on the horizon. Looks like Ill be watching the six nations rugby with a cup of cocoa instead of a lovely gallon of cool, refreshing beer.
I recount this tale of woe to highlight two points: The first is the massive variance in GP diagnosis – It is not acceptable for someone to have seven days of pain before being diagnosed. The other thing is the efficient first-time diagnosis at the hospital which resulted in immediate, correct treatment for Mrs H. Oh how were going to miss this local, excellent service when its gone. In the future, when we have the same problem again are we really expected to take a taxi to Stockton to see a doctor out of hours (Come on you lily-livered excuse for an MP, stop defending the party line in your speeches because youre afraid of the party whip and dont want to harm your career do what you are paid for and REPRESENT US).
I have the answer to getting immediate out of hours treatment when the hospital moves. Dont feel guilty its YOUR money Just ring an ambulance youll get to hospital and the correct treatment and diagnosis much sooner than you would by popping round the corner to see a coughs and sneezes generalist. Whilst GPs are usually pretty darned good, they seem reluctant to refer the standard answer to most medical issues seems to be Chances are youve got (Never a definite diagnosis) followed by being sent home only to return if another week of pain has been experienced. The other GP favourite diagnosis (if smoking and obesity arent to blame) is a virus. People of Hartlepool the time has come to fight back! Next time a GP tells you that youve got a virus, immediately ask which one exactly Make them earn their hundred grand a year.
p.s. I thought Id spare you the grisly (but admittedly hilarious if its not you) details of taking a stool sample into a beaker the size of a cotton reel when you have diarrhoea! Ill send it to Gillian McKeith so as she can enjoy a prod and a sniff.