Tag Archives: blood test

Day 19

I finally dragged myself down for blood testing at around 10.30. There was a bit of a wait but I was till only number six in the queue. They were moving though us rapidly and I was in and out in just under 15 minutes. It would have been quicker but I couldn’t stop bleeding. The pills must be working, though part of it was probably that I had managed to fit in two cups of tea before going to hospital. When they have trouble they often blame it on my lack of liquid intake in the morning.

So far I’ve had no panic phone call so it looks like I might be OK.

Last night I did several of the Citizenship Tests posted on the internet, to see if I knew enough about the UK to be allowed to live here. Well, fortunately I passed. I did four tests and got six questions wrong out of a hundred. As I’ve lived here for over sixty years I feel I could have done better. I’m sound on Magna Carta, Tudors and Stuarts and electoral law, but can’t see that the first two are very useful today. There was a distinct lack of questions on queuing, recent history and the law as it applies to motor vehicles. All three of these are more important in 2022 than the date of Magna Carta and the Spanish Armada.

And in case you are wondering, yes, this is what they mean by “displacement activity“. It meant I didn’t need to fail to write any publishable poetry.

Anyway, why you would want to be a citizen of a country that demands you know such things?

The picture is one of Mrs Botham’s pork pies. There were no questions on British cuisine in the citizenship test. Not even fish and chips.

Fish and Chips – more British than Magna Carta. 

Day 5

This might be a slightly misleading title, because it’s not quite 9am. I have, however, got up early, moaned about having to get up early, got stuck in traffic going for my blood test, moaned about traffic and inconveniently placed roadworks, struggled to park, moaned about parking, and, finally, had a blood test.

The tester took three attempts but didn’t panic. Yes, strange as it seems, seeing as they are not the one being stabbed in the arm, they often get agitated if they miss first time. I know this because, as I have said before, they often do miss with my tricky veins.

I don’t mind a phlebotomist taking three attempts because it’s a difficult job. I do mind the other stuff because with a bit of planning  much of it could be avoided.

All I want is a blood test at the GP surgery. I’ve been having them there for months, but because of the number of nurses needed to give vaccinations there are none for blood testing now. The result of this is that I have to get up  at 6.30, add to the congestion, try to beat the staff to a space in the car park where staff, according to the big notice, are not supposed to park and then write a blog post to moan about it.

Is this what my “day off” is meant to be like? I haven’t had my breakfast yet and I already feel like I’ve put in a good day’s work.

“Work” was my 250th word, so I will leave it there as it’s my self-imposed minimum. If I carried on I would just start moaning again, as I’ve just been engaged in conversation with the pharmacy regarding a prescription that has disappeared. I didn’t want it, but they told me they had it for me. Julia went in to pick it up this morning and they now deny all knowledge of it. My original thought, that this was the most inefficient pharmacy in the world (you may have heard me mention this several times) has now been replaced by a theory that there are really two pharmacies working in parallel universes, which would explain why their right hand (in Universe 1) doesn’t know what the left hand (in Universe 2) is doing.

Header photo is my standard heron photo, looking hunched, dejected and/or grumpy. It seemed apt.

Closing Down for Christmas

I’ve just done 450 words on the evils of modern Christmas, but I thought I’d leave it until later. Christmas Eve (or Christmas Morning by the time you read this) needs a lighter touch and I don’t want to sound like a modern incarnation of Scrooge.

We closed the shop at 1.00 today, and queues at the shops were already backing up as people tried to get into the car park. One pm on Christmas Eve and you are doing your shopping? What sort of person are you? What sort of Christmas Dinner are you going to have. I missed a few items when doing my lists, but I’ll work round it rather than engage in a scrummage with a group of disease-riddled people who can’t plan.

Our day finished on a high note. I put a cheap medallion on eBay and the boss told me I was wasting my time as it was cheap, dull and wouldn’t sell. Twenty minutes later, it sold. I always like it when that happens. I have just checked, and find that two of the other items I put on have also sold – just goes to show the magic of new stock.

Meanwhile, I had a blood test yesterday. My INR ration should be 2.5. It was 1.5 at the last test. It had gone down to 1.2 by the time of this test. To compare – a normal person has a ratio of 1 to 1.1. I(n other words, the pills were doing no good at all.

I had the usual questions, but I hadn’t missed a dose or changed medication. Then she said, “It’s Christmas, the brussels sprout time of year.”. “Yes,” I replied,”and I have been eating more greens.”

I knew that green veg could counter-act the medication. I had no idea that they could wipe out the whole,benefit of it. I call it “medication”. It’s actually rat poison, but “medication” sounds better.

For blog post on the opposite problem, try this. It only seems like a few months ago that I had the opposite problem. Oh, it was only a few months ago. Warfarin is a very imprecise drug. Next blood test?  Wednesday 29th December. Bang goes my ambition of wearing my new pyjamas and slipper socks and not getting dressed for a week.

Happy Christmas everyone, and many more of them. Or Happy Holiday, or just Best Wishes for the next few days, depending on what you celebrate.

A Review of My Targets and Another Pan of Soup

My first job of the day was to take nourishment in the form of two slices of toast (brown seeded bread) with chunky cut marmalade. I know how to live.

I then reported for a blood test and, duly punctured, picked up a prescription from the pharmacy, had a cup of tea with friends (whilst delivering Christmas cards) and returned home for a light lunch made up of leftovers. Tea was home made soup (broccoli and cauliflower, including stalks and leaves) with a sandwich and I am now hungry as I sut and write this.

It is the price I must pay for my health. In the last three weeks I have not gained any weight, but I have not lost any either, and I need to get back into good habits. Lunch tomorrow will be more of the broccoli and cauliflower soup. Fortunately it is quite tasty, though Julia describes it, unattractively, as beige. It isn’t it’s a delicate green shade which, in certain lights, looks a little beige. But it’s definitely pale green. I would call it Eau de Nil, but I’m not sure that I want to associate my soup with the water of the River Nile.

A lot of my afternoon was spent in reviewing how my writing plans went over the last year. The plan took a bit of a knock due to me being ill and missing the best part of three months as I slowly recovered. I had  a target of 63 submissions, and managed 49. Not great, but not too bad.

Of those, I had 13 Haibun and one Tanka Prose (which I’m going to count as the same thing for the sake of these figures) accepted, which is 14 against a target of 18.

Haiku target was 12, and I have had 12 acceptances (a total of 15 poems) so that is OK.

I’m also writing Tanka, which I hadn’t planned for and have had four accepted.

One thing went badly – I had planned on doing three articles but after the first one turned into a bit of a disaster (originally accepted with edits, then turned down when the editor changed his mind< I didn’t pursue that. However, it will still be in the plan for next year.

I have also submitted ordinary poetry five times during the year and had three lots accepted.

I had been feeling a little deflated about my writing, and the way the year ended, but I’m actually quite pleased by the way it’s gone when I review the figures.

However, talking of figures, I’ve just been reading a website where a poet talks of their work. They have been writing poetry for 15 months and has had over 300 published. I really need to up my game. Or I could just stop reading author websites.

Old Oaks of Sherwood Forest

A Good Result

This was written yesterday, I seem to have drifted off into catching up with reading other posts and forgotten to publish. So here you are, yesterday’s post . . .

I have been in communication with the surgery three times today. Once they rang me but I couldn’t talk because I was driving. Then I rang them back when I stopped – they gave me my blood test result for the Warfarin – I am in the correct range and have another two weeks until my next test. Hurrah! he said ironically. In the early afternoon the original caller rang back to give me the same news – they hadn’t told her I’d called back. This confirms my suspicions about communications within the practice. Finally, in the evening, a doctor rang. I’m never keen on doctors ringing a it is seldom good news . . .

For the first time in my life they were ringing to congratulate me. They are, it seems, very happy with the way I am losing weight and, according to my blood tests, becoming healthier. This is unusual, and not entirely welcome. It’s a little like being smiled at when you meet an undertaker, as if they know something I don’t. However, they did remind me there was still more to do, and told me to stop eating bananas. That was my fault, I shouldn’t have admitted to it in the first place. I already knew they were bad for my diet. That’s why I try to say as little as possible when I talk to medical people.

Another unusual occurrence was me forgetting a submission deadline, and even more strange, not being concerned about it. I’m not sure if this is good or not. On one hand, it’s good to have ambition and discipline. On the other, I’m doing it for enjoyment o why should I make it hard work?

Blood, Soup and Tears

Today we had Cauliflower and Stilton soup. It’s like the soup we had yesterday but I added garlic and the remains of a packet of  Stilton. It was much better for the added flavour, though I think the lower calorie version (without cheese) is better for us, and means I don’t have to struggle with my conscience about putting Stilton in soup. It doesn’t seem a good use of  what Orwell called  “the best cheese of its type in the world”.

I had a blood test before that. She tried the left arm, then the right, then the left again. After that she went for another nurse, who tried both arms again. No blood. So they brought a third nurse in. She went further up the right arm and hit the vein straight away. Four plasters on the right arm, two on the left. It’s a new record!

Some days are like that.

And that, apart from some TV, is all I have done today. It’s 4.30pm and I am having a short break from TV.

No, there is one other thing, I weighed myself while I was at the surgery. Good news is that I haven’t put any weight on. Bad news, of course, is that I haven’t actually lost any.  It could be worse, I might have gained, but it’s obviously time to start getting serious about weight loss again. I probably need to become ill again as nothing helps a diet along like feeling too rough to eat. However, it’s a high price to pay for losing weight.

Today’s soup picture is a poor attempt, but I’m not in the mood for a long photo hunt.

Blood, blood, blood . . .

This morning I went to have my blood extracted, not all of it, but a substantial amount. I went for two tests, but it’s just occurred to me that they took three tubes of blood. No doubt it will all become clear in a few weeks when I get another helping of unwanted medical advice.

They did my blood pressure too. It’s high. They know it’s always high when they take it in the surgery – it’s known a the “white coat effect”. It’s also a result of being messed about by the NHS with more inaccurate record keeping and unwanted tests and attempts to make more appointments I don’t want. To be fair, it’s more complicated than that and just as deadly as ordinary blood pressure, which is, as we all know, more dangerous than a charging rhino. Or so my doctor would have me believe. On the other hand they also told me that losing weight would lower my blood pressure, which turns out to be inaccurate. I’m beginning to think that the medical profession may not have all the answers.

To add to my annoyance my weight has crept up. It’s not a disaster but it’s disappointing. It has become more difficult to cut back after my appetite returned, and I’m still eating  less than I used to, so I thought I should at least be steady, rather than putting weight on. It’s a puzzle, but one that is easily solved by use of the ELF method – Eat Less, Fatso.

Not sure what to do for the rest of the day. I was planning on going out with Julia but as she is now booked in for flu vaccination at 2pm (after having been involuntarily rescheduled twice – ran out of vaccine the first time and and staff illness the second) the day is less convenient than it was. She won’t be able to settle if we go out before the appointment and it will be dark not long after the appointment, so it’s not really practical. That was one of the reasons my blood pressure was up this morning.

The header picture is a reminder of what we did in November 2019. And a reminder that I am hungry.

Packing Parcels and Other Stories

Today was a day for packing parcels and listing foreign banknotes on eBay.  also rang for a blood test appointment. There were queues of 12, 18 and 9. I didn’t fancy any of them but eventually, at about 2pm, decided that I would have to join the queue of twelve. It took me 31 minutes to get through. Thirty one minutes of appalling twangy music. The time was incidental to the mental anguish of the music. Every so often a dopey male voice came on the line to tell me I was “now in position . . .” and a female voice then added a number. It’s all very strange but at least they have removed the bit where they say my call is important to them.

Fortunately there were no customers and no phone calls in that time. I say “fortunately” but customers are really the point of having a shop . . .

I have a blood test appointment for 8.45 on Wednesday, which will give me plenty of time to help Julia with the list of errands that need doing. I’m looking forward to my “day off”.

I’ll tell you one thing that has really suffered during my recent illnesses – fluency. I used to be able to sit down and rattle off 250 words without thinking. They just came into my head. They weren’t all coherent, or spelt correctly, or even grammatical at times, but they were there. Now I struggle to find 150.

Even now, after over an hour of trying (not, I admit, continuous effort) I’m only just creeping up to 250, my self imposed lower limit.

And now I’ve done it, I’m going to bed. See you tomorrow.

Julia saw an iridescent cloud today. I didn’t even know they existed. She sees better things than I do.

Slowly Bleeding to Death

I have atrial fibrillation, as does Mark Spitz, the record-breaking American swimmer.  Mine isn’t as dramatic as his, mine was simply discovered when I went to the doctor and she listened to my heart.

“You have an irregular heartbeat.” she said.

“I know, I’ve had it for years.”

“We really should do something about it.”

That’s why I hate going to the doctor – I always come away with more than I take in.

I have an International Normalized Ratio (INR) test every few weeks to see how my blood is clotting. I need this because the doctors make me take Warfarin to stop my blood clotting too quickly. Until a few years ago I thought of Warfarin as a very effective rat poison.

If you have a normal set-up you have an INR of around 1. If you have atrial fibrillation they try to get it in the range 2.0 -3.0 which stops it clotting and prevents strokes and heart attacks. If you have a mechanical heart valve they like it to be a bit higher. It’s nothing special, a million of us have it in the UK and ten percent of the over 75s have it.

However, it can be a bit variable, and you may have noticed that I often complain about the testing, as the results can be very imprecise, which annoys me. I do my bit – eat a dull and unvaried diet, take the pills at the same time each day and let them take regular bloods. They, on the other hand, don’t do much, as I recently pointed out to them.

So, I believe I had got as far as 3.5 for people with mechanical heart valve and similar problems. The next step is 5.0 – 8.0. They start getting twitchy at this sort of level, particularly if it is accompanied by bleeding, and start threatening vitamin K injections. At 8.0 they start getting very twitchy . . .

And at 9.6, if you haven’t admitted to any bleeding, they tell you to stop taking the pills immediately and to go for another blood test in two day’s time.

I’m not sure whether to worry or claim it as a personal best.

 

 

 

 

An Interesting Day

Got up late and felt sluggish. Socks went on OK but the trousers fought back and it took some time to sort out. After that it was down to the pharmacy to sort things out (again) which took nearly half an hour). Then, with what was almost a bin liner of dressings and bandages, I staggered across to the doctor. Here I had a blood test. The nurse in question has a good record of getting the blood, but clearly learnt her testing technique in a time when patient pain was not such an issue.  They are still short of tubes. There was a short wait after that as I changed nurses and gat new bandages. The leg is looking  a lot better. I’m still not keen on having it attached to me, but it’s not as repulsive as it was last week.  I now have,enough bandages to make myself into a passable mummy for Halloween.

As I left the surgery I had a phone call –  it was the shop asking if I was anywhere near McDonald’s as we had visiting London dealers and they were making a day of it.

That was about the end of the excitement apart from the tempura pork. We had a pork joint at the weekend and still had some slices left so Julia did it in tempura batter and put sweet and sour sauce on it. It was delicious.  We also had stir fried vegetables but, as you know, I consider them a penance rather than a pleasure. Fried pork in batter with a sticky sauce, on the other hand, is a real pleasure.

The diet?

I’ll get back to you about the diet.

The picture is an old selfie from a day when Julia left me waiting in the car and I ran out of inspiration to write haiku. At that point it’s either turn to limericks  or selfies with special effects . . .