Doctor’s appointment on Thursday was rescheduled to Monday. I didn’t know until I went out that the Monday was the local public holiday. Because of that, the Medical Centre was going to be closed at 3 pm and I had the last appointment. That was when I realised the reason why the last appointment was 2:40.
I was running little late. At the moment, my body doesn’t start functioning until around 4 pm. So getting ready for 2:40 appointment was challenge for me. I phoned in and apologised that I was going to be little late. And the receptionist cheekily told me not to worry, and take more time as Dr TL was running more than little late. I’m aware that people get really upset when a doctor’s not on schedule. But it doesn’t bother me at all. Like yesterday, I never late for the appointment, even I’m running very late. And doctor behind schedule is a sign that the doctor takes time and listens to patients when necessary.
The waiting area was still very crowded. Since the other doctor wasn’t on duty, and other medical centres in the area were closed due to the public holiday, there were more patients than usual. Both couches in the waiting room were taken. I decided to wait in my wheelchair and see how I feel. My friendly receptionist was on duty, I feel easy to ask for a place to lie down as soon as I feel the urgency.
There were some children. Children are always fascinated by wheelchair, and the different appearance I have. One girl particularly showed curiosity and started talking to me. She even showed me her lovely bag filled with children’s make-up sets. She showed me how to use each items.
When her interests shifted to other things in the waiting room, I saw my neighbour friends, J & K walked into the clinic. I waved at them with delight. We instantly shifted the corner of the waiting room to our own cosy lounge area.
J went for walk about in the Shopping Plaza first.
K and I caught up a little. I had received her email already and knew her mother was in hospital. Mama has a carer who lives with her. However, he doesn’t look after Mama at all. He doesn’t feed her properly. He doesn’t shower her regularly. He doesn’t attend her hygienic needs. As a result, she developed infection and ended up in hospital. K was also sure that the carer is physically abusing her and Mama is very scared of him. It sounded very familiar to what I had been through, and I couldn’t stop hoping that Mama’s situation would improve soon. He is receiving carer’s pension for more than 20 years and controling Mama’s pension income. How can a person do that to another person?
Sadly, I heard few other stories how carers are taking advantage of sick and disabled people. And it really made me want not to seek for a carer as long as I can manage my life.
J & K has a plan. Mama might need to go to cared home first to get out from the situation. Then, J & K will find a bigger house with two bathrooms to take Mama and take care of her. They will give the same respect and love J had given to his parents. K told Mama that she would not leave her in the situation and she was keeping her eyes on EVERYTHING. Mama grabbed K’s hand and cried with relief and gratitude.
People are suffering everywhere. And taking grown up person’s pride and dignity away is the worst thing ever we could do. They may not be able to move or talk, but they can hear and they can feel.
I once again impressed by J & K’s humanity and compassion.
J also suffered from various illnesses, and some are similar to ME/CFS. K explained how heartbroken she was to see him cry leaning on a car because he could not move. And I know exactly how he was feeling inside. He’s been through a lot health wise, but none of them developed into ME/CFS. The only thing I, as a medically untrained ME sufferer, can explain the reason why J doesn’t suffer from ME/CFS is because he doesn’t have genetic component to develop ME/CFS.
Then, we talked about ME/CFS. K was worried that I was sitting up for a while, and she had already knew about Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) that I may not be able to sit up for a long time. On the other hand, I was starting to learn that I am able to sit up longer when I am talking with someone. I’m guessing that it is because my blood circulates while I’m talking and moving slightly, instead of blood pooling at my legs.
This confused K. I’m confused, too.
The length of time I could keep talking depends on my energy reserve. And my energy reserve is very little. It is like my body is running on faulty rechargeable battery, or should I say almost non rechargeable battery… I cannot estimate my energy reserve accurately half the time. Sometimes I have more, which is a big bonus. Sometimes I have less, which is a big trouble. It is also something to do with adrenaline energy. (When adrenaline energy is involved, payback is unavoidable.) This is only my guess, so please don’t quote me. When I’m stressed or excited, my body release adrenaline, which is stress fighting hormone, and which gives me much more energy. The only trouble is that my body doesn’t know how to stop releasing it. So once it started; it doesn’t stop until my whole energy is completely used up. This excitement energy is still going long after my day was over. While this excitement is going on, I cannot sleep. So I’m making the most of the situation and writing this blog. And I shall crash sometime during the day, evening, or tomorrow…
Just before she went into the consultation room, K teased me about Dr TL. I am half aware that I talk about him as if I am a school girl who has a big crash on her teacher. K speculates that most of young patients at the Medical Centre are fancy about Dr TL. I can agree with her. He’s good looking and caring. I even heard 90 years old woman whispered, “He is lovely.”
He is a married man. He is untouchable. And I don’t steal someone’s life partner.
If an unattached man with his simile, his compassion, and ability to accept a sick person with lots of limitation like me as an equal partner, I will definitely consider him seriously. (Who wouldn’t?) But I know the reality. Such great man belongs to fantasy world.
While K is having her consultation, J and I had a lovely chat. He has very calm energy and calm smile. I like the way he talks about people. He is filled with humanity. As K pointed out to me, J has beautiful blue eyes.
When my turn comes, I was little conscious of K’s teasing. My face must have been still blushed because he checked my temperature… No matter how long day or how stressful day he has been having, Dr TL always greets me with warm welcoming smile. I was little out of breath from all the lovely chat with J & K. My weight was better than when I had constipation crisis. I can live with it. It probably goes down again when summer comes. At least that is my hope.
He noticed my hand was cold. To me, it was normal. When the air is cold, my hands and legs are cold. He asked if my body temperature drops below 36. These days, my temperature is slightly high and it is very rare to drop under 36.
My nose was constantly running. He gave me some tissue papers to keep me going. He had a big tissue paper day. I wondered if there was many cold going around. But he had many emotional patients. He has the special atmosphere and calm energy that people can open up their deep feelings and talk to him. It’s just the way he is. I cried big time last year. I am trying not to cry anymore this year. I occasionally get moments that I push my tears down from his compassion.
My blood pressure was high. Last year, my BP was consistently low. But this year it is playing up. It is going towards high. Sometimes, just after I sit down, it is higher. Then after I wait a little, it goes down to normal. I assume that My BP monitor is not accurate. And I probably need to concentrate on how to check on the BP. But it gives me some indication, which is good enough for me. Yesterday, BP stayed the same when we tried again. He checked my chest sound carefully and told that my chest was tight. Oh yeah, I remembered that my PB also goes up when asthma is playing up.
So we did little investigation. First, he asked me to stand up and waited for a couple of minutes. Then he checked my BP. It went down. It wasn’t enough to entitle me to any treatment. I was bit puzzled because usually my OI doesn’t react that soon. He offered me to bring my BP monitor next time, so that he could check the accuracy for me.
Then, he made me to inhale asthma reliever, and checked my chest sound again. He was happy that my chest sounded better after that.
There is a better controller/preventer medicine than the one I’m currently using. But I had scary reaction from it when I tried the sample he gave me. We had no choice but stay on the one I’m already using. He suggested not to rinse the spacer after I wash it with soap. I felt it was bit odd as I don’t want to inhale detergent that might evaporated into the spacer. But he assured me that the detergent stays on the surface, but more medicine can be inhaled as it doesn’t stick on the surface because of the detergent. I learn something every time I see him.
So, I need to remember to use asthma reliever more often during the day. Since I don’t feel when my asthma is bad, it is easy to assume that I have no problem. There was no particular reason for asthma to play up. He blamed on the cold weather. He noticed my puff was almost empty, and offered me to take his sample as Chemist wasn’t open that day. I told him that I keep stock at home.
Then he asked if I needed any more prescriptions. I needed Movicol for my constipation. I explained that I ended up taking his advice and use 5 sachets a day. He rang up to authority office and gave me an authorised prescription, which means I can get 150 sachets (one month supply) with one prescription, not five prescriptions.
Next thing I had to do was to ask for Ambulance Transport for Neurologist appointment on the 20th. Then, my brain fog hit heavy. I had mixed feelings about Ambulance Transport. It is partly because I still feel back at my head that I should be able to get to the hospital clinic by myself. Then reality sinks in and I realise that there is no way I could make it without some support. At the same time, I feel guilty of using Ambulance. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty as I really need some support to get to the hospital clinic. Dr TL gave me practical examples if I take the service and if I didn’t. But he left the decision to me and patiently waited until my ME brain finally came to the conclusion. I requested the service.
Hopefully, this is the service I don’t need for long time. I don’t feel that MRI will reveal anything that is treatable. And I don’t feel the Neurologist pays interests in my case.
The last question I had was about little bleeding I’ve been having. I am guessing that it was something to do with gastro problem I had a few weeks ago and it upset the effectiveness of the pill. I asked if I should stop the pill or if I needed to let period happen every now and then. He didn’t think that was necessary. He asked me with different type of bleeding, but I couldn’t understand any of the medical terms. I felt I was over acting, so I told him that I would keep my eyes on for another month and see what happens. I was only talking about very little blood. He was not happy about the idea, either.
I’m a disgrace when woman’s health is involved… He asked me when I last had Pap smear. Then, he asked me the reason why I hadn’t had the Pap test for so long. The answer was simple, because I don’t have any activity. I’m a recycled virgin. Well, there was a news flash for me. Women who are not sexually active still need to have Pap smear test… Dr TL doesn’t do Pap test. So he gave me another doctor’s number to contact. Once the result is sent to him, he will review the result. I was little relieved to know that Dr TL doesn’t do Pap test. It’s nothing personal. It’s a woman feeling, I guess.
We had a good laugh over Google’s new Street View. When he finished the Request of Ambulance Transport, he punched in my address and showed me my house. It’s almost hidden by trees in the front yard, though. We also checked my neighbour friends’ house. My car at the side carport is blurred and there is no way you can read my number plate. There’s no zombie (me) trying to check letterbox, or no little dog trying to kill neighbour’s cat (as in Basil’s mind image). Since there was no information that would reveal my privacy, I was happy with the view. At least, it is not live broadcasting. Then Dr TL told me that someone saw a friend’s car parking at his house on the Street View and found out his wife was having an affair. That would be a bitter way of ending the marriage. I saw a guy trying to break in a house and hanging onto the window from TV news. But I find that seeing an evidence of wife’s affair online is more shocking. Dr TL joked that he saw his mother-in-law’s car in front of his house. We concluded that his marriage is in safe hands.
This was another happy holistic consultation. He was trying to help me put my jacket on. Then I remembered K teased me about him. He must have thought I was weird to grab the jacket from him instead of putting it on.
I had a nice chat with the friendly receptionist. From now on, my appointment stays on Mondays, unless something happens. So, we will catch up what’s going on again.
The Supermarket was still open. I decided to get some bread quickly before it closes.
While I was slowly pushing my chair, a gentleman offered me to help. He was very persistent, but I wasn’t comfortable to take his offer. So we had a chat instead. He asked if I watched the Olympic Games. Then I realised he may have thought I was a Chinese from the conversation. In general situation, I introduce myself as an Aussie. But there are sensitive situation that people wanting to see my origin. So quite often, I need to introduce myself as Japanese Australian. So he told me he is from Great Briton and lived here more than 30 years. He had lost his British accent completely. Then he told me that he was going to take Citizenship test soon. I didn’t have to take the test. (I had overly friendly interviewer and she taught me the story about Australian emblem. You know the one with Kangaroo and Emu. The reason why they chose Kangaroo and Emu, not Koala was because they are the animals that only move forward. There was a genuine wish of Advance Australia Fair.) He thinks it will be easy and he will have no problem passing the test. I wished him good luck. He asked me for the last time if I was sure I didn’t need his help. I thanked him, but assured him that I would be okay. He said, “God Bless You.” twice and gently shook my hand.
As I was getting closer to the Supermarket, I spotted my neighbour friend J again. He asked me where I was going. I said I was going to get some bread. What kind of bread? Multigrain. What brand? Well, the cheapest one I can find.
Then he put his shopping bag on my lap. He was going to get the bread for me, and I was going to start delivering his bag to K, who was waiting for him in the car. He didn’t take money from me. He just waved his hand and said he had enough change.
It happened very quickly. Funny thing was that I wasn’t feeling guilty anymore. I felt it was “cool” and somehow funny. I felt I belong to the friendship firmly. I was smiling while I was wheeling slowly back to the car park.
I delivered the shopping bag to K. We had bit more chat. Then I started packing the wheelchair before J come back. He beat me and helped me lift the chair in the boot.
When we drove back, J walked cross the street and took the wheelchair out from the boot without any problem. He is much fitter than me. He closed the gate for me so that I din’t have to walk to the gate. All done nice and easy in a flash like a magic.
I haven’t slept all night. I don’t think I can sleep anytime soon, although I’ve been in bed since evening. My excitement energy is still going strong and keeping me awake.
And my face is sore from smiling too long.