Heart attack

My Heart Attack

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Medical Matters

Carol has been off work for about a week. We've had several doctor's appointments and she's had no end of different prescriptions for quite a range of medications, including antibiotics as well as an electrical gadget called a TENS machine. (T.E.N.S. is short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) Having been injured when I worked at Vincent House I had one because I had physiotherapy which, on one occasion was 'out-sourced' to a private physiotherapist when I lived in Bedford. The twenty-minute session consisted of having these electrodes fixed to my back and shoulder (where the pain from the injury was, mainly.) these battery-operated machines work by creating a mild electrical current by connecting to the skin surface with small sticky pads called electrodes, very similar to what are used when you have an E.C.G. reading taken. The current stimulates the production of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. Actually quite effective and I thought I would get one for myself as I do occasionally get a recurrence of the pain, even though the original injury was over 20 years ago, and that Carol might get some relief for her pain if she used one. I hunted all over the internet and eventually bought one from Boot's. It wasn't cheap, around £60, and I was somewhat annoyed to discover, a good deal after I bought the one in Boots, that it was possible to buy a similar, it not exactly the same, model from Amazon, at about a quarter of the price. The same except for being given the Boots brand. No sooner had I bought it and read the information on the packaging, than it said 'not to be used by those with any sort of heart condition.' Which would never have occurred to me, as this would include me, having had a heart attack. I asked the pharmacist in Boots and was told that it might set off a sort of irregular heart-beat, which is why it would be dangerous for me to use. So I bought it anyway, and Carol uses it on a regular basis.

I've mentioned in earlier posts the difficulty of getting a doctor's appointment. I don't think it's necessarily just our surgery at Ashfield Medical Centre, and no doubt every other doctor's surgery in Britain is the same. You can't ring much before 9.30 and when you do eventually get through, you'll then have to wait for a doctor to ring you back in order to ascertain the seriousness of your requirement and possibly book you an appointment for later in the day. They seem to have improved the telephone technology and there's a simplified menu and the music is better. You also get told where you are in the queue, for example it will say 'you are number three in the queue.' But it can still take around 10 minutes before you speak to an actual human being.

Carol wanted to get a repeat prescription of the antibiotics she has been on for the last week. Mid morning on Friday she rang the surgery. A long wait before she got to speak to a real person and was told a doctor would ring to arrange an appointment. She was hoping that it wouldn't actually require a doctor's appointment and that they would let her have a prescription regardless. No telephone call forthcoming, by 3.30 I suggested she ring again. She had been signed off from work since Wednesday anyway, and I had to go to the surgery to collect the doctor's certificate to take to The Academy. The usual procedure if you're off work for a certain length of time. Actually 'signed off' until Monday, even though by Friday afternoon the school will be closed because they've broken up for the summer.

As she was speaking on the house phone, my mobile rang and it was one of the doctors, so I handed her the mobile and the doctor said he'd arrange for a repeat prescription. Carol asked for this to be sent electronically to Sainsbury's pharmacy (our selected pharmacy for our repeat prescriptions, although it's not run and owned by Sainsbury's any more as Lloyd's runs it now.) So we decided to go to Sainsbury's to get the prescription, with the hope that the doctor had sent it and that the pharmacist there would have received the electronic prescription and got it made up for us to collect.

On arriving at Sainsbury's we went to the pharmacy to then discover that the prescription hadn't been sent (I presume if it's electronic then it's sent as a sort of email). The pharmacist then rang Ashfield to find out what had happened to the prescription. It hadn't been sent electronically as promised. After some considerable time, in which we did some shopping in the store and also went to have tea in the café, we returned to the pharmacy and they said one of their staff would go to Ashfield and collect the printed prescription and bring it back to have it made up.

We had to wait for the lady to return from Ashfield Medical Centre with the prescription, and fortunately we were able to complete our shopping, buying ingredients for the evening meal. By which time the prescription had arrived and was made up and we collected it from the pharmacy and left for home.
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