I’ve not written a blog for six days – An unplanned hiatus caused by the latest fantastical plot in my real life soap opera. This storyline, introduced by whoever oversees my existential odyssey, seeing me hospitalised for the second time in twelve weeks.
This affliction a gastric virus completely unrelated to the cardiac arrest which rendered me a disgruntled, although still appreciative, guest of the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) for four nights in January.
The LGI the venerated halls of healing where one of my heroes, the late comedian Eric Morecambe, was treated after a heart attack in 1968. My great aunt Lottie amongst the nursing staff who cared for the funny man during his admission. One of her tasks that of providing him with sick bags so he could entertain staff with his trademark invisible coin in a bag trick.
There’s also a gag in there somewhere about nursing staff being asked not to draw Morecambe’s hospital bed curtains as, which he proved endlessly on stage, he’d problems navigating his way through them. However, none of the punchlines are quite scanning at the moment.
Anyhow, I digress…….
The health issues causing this week’s hospitalisation manifested themselves last Saturday morning during the gentle weeding of my mother’s garden borders. An activity undertaken as preparation for the later heavier horticultural work my brother Ian undertook.
Shortly after commencing this reasonably light work, though, I became overwhelming tired and lethargic leading to a downing of tools and me venturing back into mater’s abode ……. The irony of pulling out weeds making me feel close to a state of pushing up the daisies not lost on me.
This sudden draining of my physical resources from minimal effort perplexed me. After all, during a gym pre-assessment examination less than 48 hours earlier I’d performed strongly, leading to complimentary fitness level comments from rehab staff.
A further indication all wasn’t well with GJ Strachan’s health were given by bowel activity. Because of the delicate nature of that topic, I’m not inclined to expand on the finer details; other than to say toilet visits gave incorrect auguries I’d spent the previous evening quaffing Guinness.
On Sunday and Monday I felt slightly better, but when I rose on Tuesday this overwhelming tiredness had returned. Stupidly, I still didn’t seek medical intervention at that juncture. Instead made plans to take my mum for her weekly shop.
My flawed judgement guided by foolish notions that Rudyard Kipling, when feeling below par, didn’t become a literary icon through laying in bed with a laptop or seeking GP intervention. He got off his arse, got ready and took his mobile device down to Starbucks and, while the baristas mulled over the correct spelling of Rudyard on his cup. he proceeded to pen works of literary significance……. Followed by taking his mum for her weekly food shop at Sainsburys.
In the end I didn’t get to my mothers house, after a toilet visit yet again wrongly indicated I’d recently imbibed a vat of Irish stout. Subsequently, I booked an emergency appointment with my GP; a pleasant young locum doctor of Indian who luckily was able to accommodate a meeting between appointments.
As part of this appointment I underwent the first back passage examination in my 50+ years on this planet. This, with the possible exception of my Maths ‘O’ level in 1979, was without doubt the worst examination I’ve endured during that half century or so.
I’m not sure who was more embarrassed, me or the young doctor who looked around the similar late twenties vintage as my two adult children. Surgery edicts require chaperones for such personal examinations, which I was relieved to find were medical professionals not the woman from the sandwich shop a few doors down from the GPs.
I know Edith the sandwich maker would’ve worn gloves and had the benefit of margarine lubricant if required, however I prefer those present during such personal procedures to have a level of medical accreditation.
Anyhow, as per her occupations remit, it was the young doctor that facilitated the examination with a nurse present. Moments before she was about to proceed I tried to break the ice by mentioning to the fledgling GP that “Are you sure this is necessary, doctor….. After all, I only came here to deliver the mail!”
Thankfully, she laughed and didn’t feel moved towards a retributive shoving of a rolled up copy of The Lancet where the sun doesn’t shine!
After the examination, I was sent to Accident & Emergency Unit at the LGI, and onward to St James Hospital, where I spent the next three days/evenings after an endoscopy and blood tests showed the extent of my malaise (virus and bleeding ulcers). I was discharged from St James Hospital around midday on Friday.
I’m midway through my course of antibiotics as I write this. feeling a great deal better than I was but still feel fatigued. A lethargy that has made writing this first blog in six days significantly more difficult than I ordinarily find.