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As those who look at my blogs will know, I've had a few medical problems lately. And, since some have asked how things are going I thought I'd post a quick summary of what's going on.

Last years heart attack was bad enough but, my doctor suspects I may have had a stroke at the beginning of this year also. I'd been crossing my living room and all of a sudden I toppled over. When I tried to get up my right arm and leg wouldn't work. It took me about fifteen minutes to get back on my functioning foot and hop back to my computer chair.

My vertigo has got worse too. When I'm going up the stairs I have to watch my legs carefully (my edema means I can't feel anything below my knees). When I get to the top and have to let go of the handrail I need to lunge around the right corner and grab the doorframe of the bedroom around there. One day I might miss and that'll be exciting. Coming down is a pain too as I have to lower myself to my bottom on the landing, drag myself over and then go down one step at a time on my bottom. A bit undignified but safer.

My breathing's rough too but we'll get onto that in a bit.

Finally Lucija persuaded me to ring the doctor and he called by later that afternoon and gave me as thorough physical as he could at short notice. The following day brought the first of a few visits from the brides of Dracula to take blood samples. Over the following few weeks I've had three physicals, more blood and a call from the district nurse. I'll summarise the results we've had so far (in no particular order).

My blood pressure is spot on. Heart rate is a bit elevated (90 intead of 70's) but I know what that is. I don't like people getting too close to me and that always beats a bit faster.

My blood oxygenation level is at 98% and my eyes are clear and unveined. Cholesterol level is perfect and I'm the correct weight for my height (I'm six feet tall).

The blood tests show, as far as they go, that all my internal organs are working fine. Ian had been concerned that the odema might have been caused by incipient kidney failure. My stomach is a little distended though and the practice nurse feels that this is pressing upwards on my lungs and causing my shortness of breath.

My blood sugar is fine and no indication of diabetes in the future.

Treatments then.

I've got more pills than you can shake a stick at. A grand total of eleven in the morning and others during the day. Steroids (rather disapponted that I didn't develop a chest like Arnie), diuretic, stuff to counter the side effects of the diuretic, antibiotics and what Ian calls 'wobble pills' to help with the vertigo.

Social Services have been 'round. Thet're going to fit a second hand rail on my stairs and grab rails outside my front and back doors. They suggested grab rails in the bathroom but all they had were white plastic, nothing in antique brass at all. They would totally clash with my bathroom decor so I turned them down.

Next week I have the first of a number of visits to my local hospital to be stared at by a variety of consultants. Ian wants a full body scan, X-rays and a scan of my brain. No doubt other things will be suggested when I get there. The ambulance service will be sending a car and driver to take me and bring me back.

On his first visit Ian was filling in his notes while I got dressed.

"Considering how much you drink" he remarked (I've drunk a bottle of spirits every day since 1973 except when my kiddies were living with me) "and you've smoked since you were at school.". He glanced at my slightly mangled left hand,the scars on the back of my right hand. I was just putting my shirt back on but he's seen the many scars on my upper body lots of times................."I can't understand why you're still alive."

"I don't know." I told him " "Just too alkward to die I suppose.".


Finally, so many thanks are due to my beautiful Lucija. Not only did she set this course in motion but, she's also kept on top of things. Calling the surgery, checking on blood tests and many other things. Also, suggesting things to make life easier for me around the house. The walking frame/food trolley was her idea.

Without her I'd probably be lying face down on the floor by now, turning blue and with my tongue sticking out. I don't know what I'd do without her.