Christmas Eve 2019:
It’s almost time for the Big Man to arrive…there’s a cake left to marzipan and ice, shopping to be done, presents to wrap, cards to hang…what there is absolutely no time whatsoever for is illness. So you can imagine my utter delight when I dialled 111 on my way home from my last shift before Christmas on Thursday – expecting they’d advise me to go to my GP the next day – and I was informed I had to pull over, as a matter of urgency, as there was an ambulance on its way.
Yet again I found myself in an A&E department with a nurse desperately fishing around for a vein. My car abandoned in a pub car park.
After a swift blood test I was told my heart was perfectly fit and fine but there was a blood clot on my lung.
Cue: uncontrollable bawling! Maybe I’d been overdoing it, going to too many Christmas parties – including the 80s one with my good friends Amy and Cat, stressing about all the festive stuff there was left to do…
It’s alright though because like a true Brit after a nice cup of tea and a couple of slices of toast I’d absorbed the news.
I had literally felt fine…really good actually. Well, apart from the fact that for nine hours before I made the phone call I’d experienced excruciating pain in my left breast and shoulder blade – shooting pains that made me wince every time I breathed in. I’d tried shallow breathing and ignoring it. It’s probably indigestion I thought…(I think we’ve been here before!)
Luckily, my colleague Dave convinced me I needed to get checked. Why do I still have such an aversion to getting checked? Note to self: you are not invincible, Sue!
Anyway, after being told I had a clot, once again I felt that overwhelming disgust for my own body. How the hell could it do this to me? Again! But I was tired, it was 03:00am. I’m over reacting, I thought.
Turns out we all were because a CT scan found no clot.
Instead the levels of an enzyme in my blood that detect clots were raised, but this happened because of my lung disease, sarcoidosis. Apparently.
The only thing that is really clear is that no-one really knows much about this auto-immune inflammation that is having a right bloody good go at me.
After some emergency anti-coagulant drugs – I didn’t need – a couple of hospital meals that were actually pretty decent and 24 hours of listening to the confused old lady in the bed opposite, asking repeatedly why she couldn’t go home and if someone would turn the telly up, I was discharged and finally made it to Center Parcs for the surprise holiday we had planned for the kids, albeit a day late. They’ve had a blast!
I’ve been referred back to the Royal Brompton in London where I’m due to get all my sarcoidosis results in January…though I’m starting to get the feeling they won’t answer all my questions. Having a rare disease sucks but at least there was no clot. Small mercies.
Right then. Let’s get on with it! Merry Christmas to you, have a magical time and I’ll speak to you on the other side…let’s all try to avoid any drama and stay out of hospital!