In The Clear – But Warning Taken

A few weeks ago I had a bit of excitement by way of a dash to A&E for a heavy nosebleed that just didn’t want to stop. I was told that my blood pressure was quite high, and that a trip to the GP was in order to have that checked out. That was last Friday.

Well, the good news was that for starters my blood pressure was down a bit from the previous week’s reading, so it was heading in the right direction. Even better was that all the blood tests came back negative. Cholesterol reading was a bit above average (6.2 compared to national average of 5.6) but there was no other issues to deal with. The ECG had been a bit of a worry – but it too came back A-Ok. It was all a bit of a relief, but I agreed with the doctor that getting just a little more exercise, losing a little more weight and watching what I eat was very much part of the plan.

I was wary about a lot of physical exertion immediately after the nosebleed, but in the last few days, I’ve gone back to walking from the centre of town after getting off the bus. Its a 2 mile walk to work from there, and taking 30-35 minutes (its uphill!) gives me a decent amount of exercise. Then there’s the 30 minute walk back, so all in all, its 4 hours exercise a week before I even think of any formal exercise. I might just get back to doing zumba on the Wii. I did that before when we were really watching our diet and exercise, and it worked a treat, so back to that this weekend.

Even though all the tests came back negative, and my blood pressure although high isn’t dangerously so, I’ve taken the whole episode as a warning to do the right thing and make sure I’m here for the boys while they grow up. We were so good last summer and I lost 22 pounds at one point. I know I can do it, and I’m keen to get back to it. Not just to look and feel better, but to make sure my blood pressure remains under control. I’ve still to get a 24-hour blood pressure monitor, but the doctor thinks it will only confirm what he said last week.

At least now I can move forward with the worry taken away a bit. I’ve been downloading some relaxation apps this week, and they work a treat (as Jane will tell you when I fall asleep halfway through!) The diet & exercise is one thing, remaining as calm as possible is something else. It all adds up to a hopefully healthier me for 2014.

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Medical Investigation Begins – An Update

As I said in my post earlier today, I was in the midst of three appointments at the doctors to have blood pressure investigated. This morning’s appointment was to have blood tests done then to have an ECG. Unfortunately, because my notes weren’t right up-to-date, the ECG wasn’t done. A phone call to the surgery, and it was game on this afternoon at 230pm.

The second appointment of the day came around, and off I went. I have to say that I was slightly apprehensive about the thought of an ECG done. We fear anyone looking at our heart. After all, if it fails, we’re dead! The nurse put all the sticky pads on my chest, and on my ankles, that hooked up the ECG. I could hear it bleeping away, and the scribbling of the ECG record.

Finally, the nurse turned it off after only a few minutes, saying that it looked perfectly normal. Now, although Jane had a “normal” ECG a few months ago, she was still referred for a full-on heart scan, which backed up the ECG. I guess its what happens when computers take over the diagnostic process from humans. But, it was still a relief to be told that my heart looked normal. We’ll see what the doctor says next week, but for the time being, I appear to be normal. That’ll never do!

Medical Investigation Begins!

I posted the other day about my adventures on Saturday night when a heavy nosebleed ended up with a trip to Accident & Emergency The end result was an appointment with a GP on Monday afternoon to investigate high blood pressure. There’s a bit of family history of it, so perhaps there is something there that needs sorting and that Saturday was just a little warning. Anyway, the GP said they’d take some blood to do tests for liver & kidney function, diabetes and cholesterol. They’d also do an ECG as changes in that might be better to highlight changes to my blood pressure.

I duly made an appointment to see the nurse, then to see the GP again the following week. Well, today was the nurse. I had fasting tests scheduled for 9am this morning, so I took Matthew & Daniel to school – leaving a sad Daniel at the school gate as I needed to be at the surgery. Blood tests didn’t take a minute, unlike on Saturday where the doctor needed to stabs (literally) at it. She said that was it all done, and it wasn’t until I was heading down the road home that I realised they’d forgotten the ECG! I thought I was out of there a bit too quickly!

Cue a phone call to the surgery mid-morning to tell them my ECG had been forgotten about. Apparently there was no explicit instruction on my notes to the nurse to carry out an ECG, although the lady I spoke to said my case file should have highlighted it. I did think that it might make next week’s GP appointment pointless without the ECG. Fortunately there was a free slot with the nurse available at 230pm. All rather good timing really, because as soon as its all over (apparently it takes 30 minutes) I can stroll round to the school and pick up the boys at 320pm.

The investigation has begun, and we’ll see next week what comes of it all. Right now, I’m happy to be taken seriously.

An Unexpected Night

Last night was going along nicely. The boys were getting the DVD in their room ready for us to watch Curious George 2 while I was sitting with Jane. I felt my nose run and thought it was just the tail-end of a cold I’d had recently. I was slightly surprised when I went to wipe it to find blood! I can never recall having had a nosebleed before, so this was new territory! After about 10-15 minutes it stopped and the evening resumed. However, about 1230 – 1245am, I felt a sensation equivalent to my nose draining when it is blocked. Then the bleeding started in earnest! It was dripping, but dripping a lot. With a tissue held to my nose, I checked NHS advice on nosebleeds online which gave treatment advice, so I pinched my nose and waited. 10 minutes later it was still bleeding. After nearly an hour I decided I needed to get it checked out, as that was the advice on the NHS website. I popped upstairs (at 145am) and got dressed. Jane stirred and I told her it was still bleeding and that I was off to A&E. Stuffing a tissue up my nose to stem the crimson flow, I got into the car and headed off on the short-ish journey to hospital.

I was wary about going to A&E on a Saturday night. I had visions of marauding violent drunks being held back by the police. Maybe I remember too much from Casualty of 20 years ago! There was about half a dozen people waiting when I got there – naturally as the bleeding was stopping. Details were taken, and the wait was on. After about half an hour, my name was shouted, and I was about to get looked at. Blood pressure was taken, and it was a shock to be told it was very high, and was a likely contributory factor along with my recent cold. They were taking it seriously even though I thought I might be wasting their time. Maybe I was, but I’d never seen so much blood coming from my own body, so it was a bit worrying! The nurse typed away on the computer then I was led through to a treatment area. Time ticked by and I was seen by a few nurses. The first one I saw said I’d be seen by a doctor who would treat me. Then one came by to say that as the bleeding had stopped, I’d be sent home!

Finally a doctor came to see me. No sending me home. No. He tells me he’d have to insert a cannula to get bloods to test, and in case I bled again and needed fluid. First he tried by arm at the elbow joint. It was sore going in and sore as he tried to draw blood. Then he says, “this isn’t going to work.” So out it came and another attempt was made to get it in on the back of my hand. A nurse was asking if I was in any pain. I just looked at the cannula and said, “yes!” But it did the trick and the doctor was able to get blood which was sent off to see if there were any problems with it clotting or otherwise. Then I was wheeled through to the main treatment area of A&E for a bit of waiting. Another doctor and nurse came to see me to take more blood pressure readings – one lying/sitting and one standing up to see if there was a major drop off in BP. It was still really high! (White Coat Syndrome?) Finally at around 550am, the news came back that the blood tests were normal, and I was free to go! Not the night I had in mind, but it was over.

The whole episode was really odd for me, never having had a nosebleed, but the thing that really stood out was the blood pressure readings. They were really high and it made me think that I really need to take action to control it – both in terms of lifestyle and seeing my GP asap. I know I get wound up to easily, and go from one extreme to the other with the boys. Its bad for my health is the bottom line, and that has to change. I’ve got to be around for the boys, particularly with them needing additional support for their ASDs. Nosebleeds may be common place, but this was a real wake up call for me, and its one I intend to heed.