Tag Archives: illness

I Have Covid [Day 8]

So I have had exactly eight days of Covid symptoms. It began on Day 1 Wednesday 16th February when I woke up with a sore throat. Jack, my young son, had Covid at that time – it was his Day 6 – so I know exactly where I got it from. It seems schools are an absolute caldron of infection with the children passing infections around like sweets. And those sweets always end up with the parents of course. If ever there’s a more deadly version of Covid I’m taking my kids out of school immediately. It’s where all our illnesses come from.

Yesterday I had a raging, awful migraine. It was so frightening because of how rapidly it hit. I’d say it was about half an hour from feeling okay to feeling in a lot of pain. They don’t normally come on so quickly. A few weeks ago I had a private consultation with headache specialist Dr. Shazia Afridi, after a disappointing and very unpleasant NHS appointment with my (male) GP who sneered and shouted at me for daring to ask questions about migraine treatment. During the course of our excellent 45 minute discussion Dr. Afridi told me that Covid makes migraine worse. I was so glad to have had that talk with her and to know this about Covid because I’ve had two migraines in six days, which is frequent even for me. Six days prior to testing positive for Covid I had also had a migraine so in total that’s three migraines in two weeks, which has been truly awful. It’s difficult to distinguish a real proper migraine from the normal Covid headache at first because pain is everywhere in your body, but when it starts to morph into agony just above the eyebrow you suddenly realise what it is and rush to swallow a triptan. Sadly by then it’s a bit too late and the stomach is already in gastrostasis meaning the tablet won’t get absorbed quickly because the stomach’s not digesting effectively any more. It means longer in agony and longer to battle the rising panic before pain relief slowly ebbs in.

After taking the triptan yesterday, getting to bed early and sleeping long and well, today my Covid symptoms have dramatically lessened! I can say that right now, 9:30am, I only have mild tinnitus, congestion and a cough. The congestion is all in my head stuck solid, but there is loose congestion in my chest which I cough up regularly. But that’s it for now. No other symptoms. In the old days I’d easily go to work or the gym with just congestion, but I’m still in self-isolation. I tested positive on my LFT this morning and it’s my legal duty – until tomorrow!

Yes that’s right, self-isolation laws for Covid come to an end tomorrow, my Day 9. I will still be coughing and will almost certainly still test positive. Today’s test was strong and immediate so I doubt it will suddenly be completely gone tomorrow, but legally speaking I can go out and mingle again – get my shopping, go to hospital, visit my parents… But of course I won’t be doing any of that. Just because there’s no law against it doesn’t mean to say I’m doing it. I wouldn’t dream of going near my elderly parents and I’m going to continue to stay at home, go nowhere, do nothing. It’s boring now, after eight days, but my infection was so strong that I would be very concerned about giving it to someone else if I treated tomorrow as my ‘Freedom Day.’

At least the most awful suffering part of the illness has passed and my appetite has returned. I’m convalescing. It’s curious that I never got the fatigue that a lot of people complain of. That wasn’t part of my experience – just the predictable tiredness from lack of sleep.

So that’s my dispatch for today. I may wait a few days and file my last report about my Covid when I feel my symptoms are over so that there’s a record of exactly how long it went on for and how long I continued to test positive. If there’s any relapse or anything bad happens I’ll write about it when it happens. In the meantime, I’ll go back to my ironing and watching ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race Versus The World’ – the ideal antidote to dreary Covid isolation days.

Are My Breast Implants The Cause of All My Health Problems?

Seventeen years ago I had two Mentor Siltex Contour Profile Cohesive Gel-Filled, 280cc breast implants done on the NHS. They’ve served me well in the sense that they gave me what I needed at the time.

But things have changed now that I’m older and wiser and care more about my health – my health that is deteriorating almost by the day. I’m worried my implants have caused me to have an auto immune illness, just like these celebrities in this article.

My state of health today is: a hip that has “severe” degenerative changes (arthritis) and needs replacing; multiple slipped discs in my back; and two knees that keep subluxing (partially dislocating).

A recent blood test shows I have raised centromere antibodies, so rheumatology think there might be an underlying autoimmune disorder – I’ve previously been diagnosed with Crest Syndrome, then undiagnosed with it. Also fibromyalgia, then undiagnosed with that too. No-one knows what’s going on.

I have very frequent and intense migraines. This could be to do with the fact that I’m peri-menopausal, or partly due to this fact. But many women report that their migraines stop when they have their breast implants taken out.

I recently found a UK Breast Implant Illness group on Facebook and was astonished (and a bit horrified) to read that thousands of women (in this group alone) who all have breast implants – many the exact same type as mine – suffer from autoimmune type symptoms to varying degrees. And those who have had their implants taken out (explanted) say their chronic symptoms have mostly vanished.

Among this group we’re not glad we had our breasts augmented. We wish we’d never gone through with it, we wish we’d known it could seriously effect our health, and we now face an explant operation in the hope that we can get healthy again.

Explantation isn’t as straight forward as you might think. You can’t just whip out the implants, you have to take the scar capsules that have formed around the implant out too. And if you’re unfortunate enough to have sub-muscular implants like I am, this can be dangerous because the capsules get can get stuck to a rib and become too risky to scrape away (ribs can be broken and lungs punctured). It means that parts of the toxic sac stays inside you forever, possibly leaking silicone particles, possibly causing cancer. It’s a truly horrible state of affairs.

I can’t WAIT to have my implants removed. I have a date with a private consultant in late July, although it’s not soon enough but it’s his earliest availability apparently. As soon after that initial consultation as I can, I will make a date for an explant operation (as long as it doesn’t clash with my total hip replacement – I’m so broken!).

My next task is find a way to get the money to pay for it. It’s going to cost about £8,000 altogether and I have no savings or access to that kind of money. I’ll be looking at credit cards and loans. I don’t have anything I can sell. But getting into debt is nothing compared to living with two toxic bags sitting on my chest. The idea makes me shudder.

How To Get An NHS Doctor’s Appointment Today

Well, it’s a nightmare. It’s a battle. It’s hit and miss. It’s a protracted and exhausting procedure that I’m sure puts most people off bothering.

Today I suddenly broke and realised I can’t continue living the way I am – every day in pain and agony from my hip, back, knees, and head. Something isn’t right. I can’t cope with the pain any more. And why do I have all this pain anyway? What is WRONG with my hip, my back, my knees..? And why do I get a headache every single day and migraines most day? Why do I wake up every morning with a splitting headache? I honestly can’t take it any more. it’s making me a bad mother and a miserable human being. I need to make a doctor’s appointment.

BUT… Gone are the days when you simply pick up your phone, call the surgery, and book an appointment. Gone are the days when you can go online, select a day and time from the list, and make an appointment. No, no. You can’t do anything as simply or easily any more. Why? I do not know. Perhaps it’s because they’re using the coronavirus pandemic (that isn’t a pandemic in the UK now) as a continual EXCUSE to keep patients away so doctors can have an easy working day, but if so, this is a stupid strategy long term. We are all so ill and suffering, and we’re only getting worse and worse alone at home, making our injuries or diseases more complex and harder to treat every day that slips by that we don’t have any medical attention.

But back to my story. Having decided I need to see a doctor to find out what on earth is wrong with me, I went straight to my GP surgery’s website where I discovered that unfortunately I can’t do anything today or tomorrow because it’s the weekend and, naturally, the doctor’s are closed. You can’t phone, text, email, or fill out a form – they are shut, closed, offline. This is extremely inconvenient.

Meanwhile I’m resigned to the fact that, even on a weekday, I won’t be able to see a doctor face-to-face because… Coronavirus Excuse, so Monday (in two days’ time) is the earliest I’ll be able to fill out the electronic consultation form. I will hope against hope that the vicious triaging guard dogs allow the form to be seen by a doctor, and then hope that a doctor, any old doctor (I never see the same one twice) replies and sends me an email to say that I have permission to phone to book an appointment with him or her, by phone. It definitely won’t be a face-to-face appointment straight away because Coronavirus Excuse. I will then get on my knees my knees and pray that the appointment they make for me isn’t scheduled too far ahead in the future (and not at a time when I’m already doing something important – because I get no say at all about when my appointment will be. If you don’t accept the one they offer you, you get the feeling that there won’t be another one and you’re made to feel utterly ungrateful). It could be up to two weeks away. When I finally do get that precious telephone appointment, which will obviously be without any eye contact or body language or any physical examination, I will have to ensure I convince the doctor about how much pain I’m in every day, and how I can’t go on, and desperately need help. (Why does it have to be that I’m absolutely desperate before I seek help?) After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Most likely they’ll offer pain killers but no exploration as to what’s causing the problem. If I’m extremely, incredibly lucky, I may manage to somehow convince him or her to allow me to come into the surgery and sit down opposite them and have an actual real, life face-to-face appointment. This would be like some kind of miracle, a similar feeling to winning the lottery. If they examine me, they will be shocked at how much I’m suffering and FINALLY, I might actually get some help – hopefully a referral to a specialist. But in reality, a face-to-face appointment with a doctor is extremely unlikely.

This is what it’s like these days in the NHS. No exaggeration. It’s easier to get a hairdresser’s appointment, your nails done, a virgin media technician or even a plumber to come to your house. Massive problems are being stored up for the future and patients will be dying in their thousands because doctors – the first port of call for us ill and suffering people – are trying their best to keep us away as long as possible.

I’m usually proud of the UK and England, but right now I’m losing that. The GP service is not fit for purpose. The NHS is failing its people. God help you (me?) if it’s cancer.