IPH Health 21st December 2017

I am writing this on 22 January 2018 but it was not until then that I have had more to report.

Background

This page is the sequel to the health story given as Heart failure? Health story December 2017

On Tuesday 19th December 2017 I was at Frimley Park Hospital for about 4½ hours, 13:00..17:30 before I was allowed to leave and head home.

In the echocardiogram department, the young lady who sat with me and did the scanning for half an hour told me she is from North Africa (maybe Algeria... I thought) and that her mother in French.
After that I walked to the AECU as I had been told in the previous departing letter, where I waited for about 2 hours before there was anybody to see me. The following is from the letter which they gave me when I left that evening, and which they sent to my GP; the two doctors who came and saw me sat down and discussed the situation. They were quite different people from the two doctors who saw me on 29th November in the same little department: Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit. All four doctors have on their badges Acute Medicine as their consultancy subject.

I do not have heart failure

The echocardiogram showed “no obvious/significant regional wall abnormalities at rest; normal systolic function... TDI pattern suggestive of diastolic dysfunction.” So my heart is, after all, not too bad. But on the major hand strength weakness that comes and goes every day now, and has been making even typing on the PC difficult for the last three months, the doctors said they need to do investigations for Myasthenia gravis, which is quite scary. If tests give results consistent with this, they will refer me to Neurology, they say.

That was how things stood at the start of Christmas week 2017. I do not do anything for Christmas so I just pottered on at home, writing emails, and bits for this website...

I attended at Chase Community Hospital, Bordon, on 21st December for a second chest X-ray to see how my heart and lungs were looking again four weeks after the first such. The doctors said there is something slightly amiss on the left side but it is not quite clear what, as I understand it.

Effect

I have been feeling barely able to do anything much with my hands all day, each day. I managed to tie my shoe laces OK before I set out on trips such as the hospital and to shops on other days, and they did not give me any problems now that I am used to coping with things like turning keys in locks and the car ignition. Buttoning my shirt at the hospital after having to remove everything including T shirt (vest) from my top for the ECG took me a while but I was in the AECU waiting area for nearly 2 hours before I was first seen so I slowly buttoned up while I sat around in there.

I have to have pointed-nose pliers by me for opening food packets like cold meat slices or cheese, of the kind that say to pull the corner tab and pull. My fingers can pull after I get the corner started with the pliers.

I have to have help opening bottles, such as supermarket squash, for the first time, to break the perforated plastic links to the unrotatable ring that secures the product until after purchase. Not having been an invalid or elderly and frail before, I don’t have the gadget made for that. I have been using a huge plumber’s wrench that I had for replacing bathroom taps and fitting house pipework.

Medical progress

I saw my GP on 17th January and it was decided that I should try taking just the ramipril to reduce blood pressure: so for a week I stopped taking atenolol, which I had been taking for many years. I had stopped the amlodipine after beong told on 29th November so took none since 30th November whenI started taking ramipril instead.

But I had also only been told to take furosemide for a few weeks. I had been given 4 weeks more of that after the 2 weeks supply at end November, but my GP confirmed that I not take that any more either, from 18th January. After all, the diagnosis was now not heart failure, with which that treatment had been connected.

To investigate the myasthenia gravis hypothesis, I have to attend again at Frimley Park Hospital to have electromyography investigation of my muscles. For how that day went, see Update 29th January 2018.