Ambulances and Doctors

Saturday night I started experiencing some strange chest pain. It felt like someone was stabbing me every time I breathed. As the pain continued to get worse, my normal dose of tramadol wasn’t touching it, and because it was unusual for me, we called an ambulance (we would have called NHS Direct but as it was chest pain they would have just called an ambulance anyway).

The ambulance men were brilliant. I’ve no clue what they look like, as I was having a bad day, was very noise and light intolerant, and was wearing my eye mask and ear defenders (this is also why I’m calling them ambulance men, as I don’t know if they were paramedics or technicians or one of each). They understood why we called them, and also realised that going into hospital would not be a good idea unless necessary, so they performed all the tests to rule out anything serious. They asked questions about my M.E. and autism, reassured me as appropriate (both that I was okay and that it was right to call them out) and also cracked a few jokes (then told me not to laugh as it made the pain worse).

Once they’d done everything they could, they called the urgent care team (who are nurses) to ask them to come out to see if they could figure out what it was and how to deal with it. They checked to make sure I didn’t have a chest infection or anything like that, and concluded I’d probably pulled a muscle in my chest at some point, and told me to take more tramadol (double my prescribed dose) as they couldn’t prescribe anything stronger themselves. All very useful, and the extra tramadol knocked me out so I was at least able to sleep through the pain.

Johan coped remarkably well on Saturday night, but unfortunately he wasn’t doing overly good mentally. Sunday I spent a lot of time trying to reassure him, and he was unable to distract himself as he normally does. On Monday, I went with him to the MetroCentre as mentioned in the previous post, even though I wasn’t well enough, because he wanted to go and couldn’t do it alone.

Tuesday we both saw the doctor. He swapped my prochlorperaine to a form that dissolves next to the gum, as my nausea and vomiting got so bad I couldn’t keep my tablets down. It works well, except on days where I wake up with severe nausea and end up vomiting before I get the chance to take it. I’ve also been given permission to double my tramadol as I need to, which is useful.

For Johan, he took him off sertraline as the side effects weren’t helping things, and put him on mirtazapine instead. Previously Johan has said he didn’t want to go on it because of the weight gain, but he didn’t protest, and I wasn’t going to as if any medication is going to help him, that one will. He also referred him to the crisis team, despite us not being too happy about it, because of how quickly he’d deteriorated and his risk of harming himself.

While in the chemist waiting for our prescriptions, I picked up a few items I wanted to get (makeup brushes, wipes and gloves to make cleaning the commode and bed pan easier, my favourite shampoo and conditioner, some new hair bobbles as most of mine had broken). We also went to the bakery to get some lunch and to another shop for some sweets on the way back, as I like to take advantage of being out when I can. He was still bad on Tuesday evening, but he fell asleep not too long after taking the mirtazapine.

Wednesday morning the crisis team came out. For once, they didn’t make things worse. They can’t see a role for themselves as most of Johan’s anxiety and depression is being caused by the problems with the carers, but they are also sending out some information about advocates for Johan as I’m not well enough to do it for him any more, and contacted my social worker in an attempt to see if he can fix things with the carers. Johan then fell asleep again (mirtazapine is very good for sleep, just sometimes it’s too good) and I dozed off not too long after, as the crisis team exhausted me.

My social worker turned up in the afternoon, to the surprise of both of us. Apparently Johan had been told, and he thinks he told me, but I had no record of it so either he was mistaken or my memory was being lousy :p The social worker realised it wasn’t a good time, so rearranged to come back the next afternoon. By the evening Johan was doing a bit better, and really craving sweet and sour chicken, so went out to the Chinese to get some. He also didn’t need anywhere near as much reassurance as he had been, which is making me think the sertraline was making things worse.

Thursday was a quiet day for me. I didn’t get to sleep until 5am because of sleeping in the afternoon and things being on my mind (which I tried everything to try and solve, including typing them all up, but it didn’t work). When I woke up I was very nauseous, and ended up throwing up before being able to take the prochlorperazine. I did apply some makeup, but took it all off because I didn’t like wearing it when being sick. My social worker arrived at 2.30pm with a woman from A4E, to talk about direct payments. It was fine, apart from being exhausting, and I was also able to tell him things still aren’t improving with the carers and ask about respite for Johan. Ended up falling asleep again afterwards, while Johan went to the MetroCentre (by himself) to get his iPod repaired, which they very kindly replaced for free. Woke up this evening, went on my computer for far too long to level Elisaveta (I got her to 82) then have been resting in bed and chatting to friends in IRC all night.

I have messed up my sleep patterns, but hope to get them back to normal over the next couple of days. We have no appointments until Monday (when Johan sees a psychiatrist) so will be able to work on it. I also still need to figure out my baseline for activities, and have a plan which requires buying large quantities of non-specific, pretty greetings cards. I’m also two weeks behind on Waterloo Road, and trying to get caught up on NCIS whenever I’m feeling well enough to watch a TV programme. Plenty of things to do, just not enough energy to do them.

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