Babysitting Big Kids…

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As an experienced invigilator I’m regularly offered the opportunity to earn some extra cash overseeing a wide variety of tests and exams, which also provides me with endless amusement. You think you’ve heard it all; ‘I was only looking at my phone to check the time’. ‘I haven’t got a pen’. ‘What’s this?’ (A treasury tag!) and so on.

I’d agreed to spend Friday evening looking after a room full of millennials sitting a two hour exam on Risk Management and Financial Institutions, and they didn’t disappoint in the hilarity stakes, especially with the utterly absurd hair dos and ridiculous outfits.

It felt a bit surreal to be walking home from work at 7.30pm on a Friday as I’m usually a nine-to-five administrator, but I got to earn a few extra quid towards my next holiday; more euros for extra treats in Cyprus. The main exam period will begin at the end of April; six whole weeks of saying “Turn your mobile phones off” and losing weight by walking literally miles every day back and forth to the loos. I’m already excited…

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Stress Echo…

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The last time I was up at 6am it involved a flight to somewhere fabulous, however this was no holiday; quite the opposite. A good friend was taking me miles out of my comfort zone, in every sense of the word, to a specialist heart centre in order to undergo tests, including one cheerfully named a ‘stress echo’. Any test including the word stress was never going to be much fun, and so the tone was set for the day.

I can’t remember the last time I was on a bike and I’ve certainly never ridden one topless, but there’s a first time for everything. In my mis-spent youth, having a man I’d only just met apply cold gel to a probe and run it across my bare boobs would’ve been considered a ‘blindin’ night out‘, however, when you’re past your prime, not to mention stone cold sober, it’s surprising quite how bashful you become. Onlookers included a nurse, my cardiologist and a registrar (should’ve sold tickets!)

Well, the good news is that my heart muscle is fine, the not-so-good bit is confirmation that I will, at some point, face valve replacement surgery. Ho humm… There’s also a slight issue regarding tachycardia as my resting heart was beating 100 times per minute, but it may have been partly due to anxiety. At least I’ve now had a thorough cardiac review and have been able to speak to my cardiologist in person about my concerns, and I’m now reassured that I’m not about to suddenly conk out unexpectedly. I do still have to undergo a 48 hour heart monitor test, so there’s more fun to be had from the NHS at the end of the month, so I shall look forward to that. Wonder how many beats per minute it’ll do after a couple of espressos…?

A&E Wasn’t On My To Do List Today…

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I’ve known about my heart issues for a couple of years, and am used to the frequent palpitations, so when my ticker started feeling ‘unusual‘ at lunchtime I was a little concerned. I’m a firm believer in the adage ‘you know your own body’, and mine was decidedly not right, so when I also started feeling hot and cold and then giddy and faint I figured I needed to get myself seen asap.

Within 10 minutes I was getting into a taxi and 10 minutes after that I was in A&E, struggling to remember my address, shaking like a leaf and clearly looking like hell. All credit to the doctors and nurses at the hospital because I was fast-tracked through, having all manner of tests done until I finally conked out. Luckily, a nearby paramedic helped the nurse get me onto a trolley so I could be swiftly moved to a more appropriate examination area. Once hooked up to the machines I was eventually lucid enough to ring a friend, who spent the next 7 hours by my side.

After constant monitoring, endless blood pressure tests, an xray, and two extremely painful blood tests I was finally given the good news that I hadn’t had a heart attack and was given antibiotics for an infection before being allowed home. I’m very, very grateful to all of the doctors and nurses who, despite being busy, made sure that I was well looked after throughout. I’m also very thankful that I have such wonderful friends…

NHS Merry-Go-Round…

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It’s not easy dealing with unexpected medical woes while trying to avoid taking any time off work, not to mention maintaining a busy social life, but somehow I’m managing, despite undergoing more tests and xrays. An emotionally challenging appointment with a lymphoma consultant this week means I’m now on yet another list; this time waiting for biopsies. Well, that’s something new and ‘exciting‘!

I’m fully aware that I’m extremely lucky to have the support of my wonderful friends and family during this particular saga, who cheer me up when all I want to do is mope. Endless blood tests have made my veins a tad sore, but thanks to ‘Team Karen’ I’m actually in a really good place mentally. I’ll give you all a great big hug … once my arms are better.

Now, my birthday is looming and someone mentioned cake…!

Lumps and Bumps…

Untitled-1I’d only gone to see my GP to discuss my upcoming cardiology appointment, but after simply asking for a second opinion on a small lump on my neck the focus swiftly altered and I was immediately booked in for blood tests and a scan! I must admit, all I was expecting was confirmation that all was ‘normal‘ so this sudden turn of events took me totally by surprise.

In less than a week I’d undergone both procedures and a few days later I was back with my GP to find out what the hell just happened. Apparently, anything to do with iffy lymph nodes throws the NHS into panic-mode, which is why I subsequently ended up with an urgent (within 7 days) referral to the haematology department at the local hospital! It’s the first time my doctor said the word lymphoma out loud, but I’m choosing to ignore it and am assuming it’s just a virus of some description.

I don’t have time to be ill – I’m far too busy living the dream

Two Hard Ones and Two Floppy Ones..!

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Get your mind out of the gutter! “Two hard ones and two floppy ones” are the words a doctor said to me this morning when I went to discuss the results of my heart scan, and she was talking about my arteries. I now have to be referred to a cardiologist for further tests, although I was warned that the local NHS waiting list is very VERY long. In the meantime I’ve been put back on statins – oh joy, the delights of leg muscle cramps to look forward to…

However, this week is all about perspectives, and while I moan about a few aches and pains I’m horribly aware that some very good friends of mine are, at this very moment, with their newborn in a London ICU waiting to hear when he will endure a complicated heart operation. I am now counting my blessings and crossing all of my fingers (and toes) for a positive outcome for this lovely family. Life really can be so unfair at times…