Thursday, 21 January 2010

Still Ticking Along

Yesterday I made the trip to Kings Hospital for the specialist FSH clinic with Dr Rose and his team. Once we had negotiated the near impossible task of parking within seven miles of the main entrance and then found our way through the maze of corridors to the Therapy Suite we were greeted by an enthusiastic volunteer who presented us with a pile of questionnaires designed to reveal my innermost concerns regarding my condition. No sooner had I started answering questions about my sleep patterns than we were whisked off to the cardiac clinic for an ECG.

The woman who performed the ECG was one of those people who wants to tell you all about someone they know who is in a wheelchair. In this case we were regaled with the tale of her nephew who had been run over by a drunken vet in Ireland, paralysed and then mugged by four Polish men in an alleyway in Dublin of his Christmas bonus. I think the subtext was that I'm lucky to only have Muscular Dystrophy.

A little later we squeezed in to a consulting room with Jo, the physiotherapist, Chris, a post-doctorate researcher studying MD, and Dr Rose himself. The purpose of the consultation was to review progress since the last one six months a go and to anticipate what was going to be required in the future. Everyone admired the super-duper wheelchair which they had been instrumental in getting funding authorised for and bemoaned the lack of progress regarding our housing situation. We discussed various problems I've been having with my hands and everyone looked at my toe. I was rather alarmed by their reaction to it. Words like 'tissue viability' were used. I was firmly told to get my GP to look at it.

Various technological ideas were mooted to help with my increasing difficulties with communication and I'm being referred to the appropriate specialists.

On our journey home I found myself in reflective mood. These sessions are of immense value but they force you to confront the reality of the situation. My condition is degenerative and, in reality, this means I am forever playing catch up with myself, compensating for physical abilities lost forever. I am not a particularly 'head-in-the-sand' type person but sometimes anticipating the future is difficult. Sometimes it makes me want to pick a fight with four Polish men in an alleyway. Mostly though it focuses my attention on what needs to be done so that my quality of life remains as spectacularly high as it is. I'm not exactly looking forward to some aspects of what is to come but, all things considered, I'd rather know and be prepared than be caught by surprise and left wallowing. You can't anticipate every change but some are inevitable and, as such, forewarned is forearmed. I'll drip feed you the details as and when they occur.

I'm mentally preparing myself for what I hope will be a very brief stay at the Royal Brompton Hospital next week while Dr Simonds and her team try to get a handle on my blood gases by fiddling with the BiPap overnight. My beloved is so distraught at the thought of my absence that she has arranged for a 'girls night in' with a whole coterie of friends to help her cope emotionally.

If I can get a Wi-Fi signal in my ward I'll blog you from there. Until then, thank you for reading.