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December 2023

I Didn’t Know Whether to Laugh or Cry

By HealthNo Comments

Sometimes in life, we don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I had one of these moments recently.

I woke up in the morning to go to my private appointment with an Ear, Nose & Throat Surgical Consultant. I didn’t feel at all well. The left side of my face (under my eye) had started to swell and my nose was fully congested to the point I couldn’t breathe through it at all.

But I had an appointment to go to. So off I went, my face continuing to swell and my left eye constantly tearing due to the pressure.

In the Consultant’s office, I explained my medical history, symptoms and prescribed medications. The Consultant looked up my nose and then delivered the news that would make want to laugh or cry.

I had a severe sinus/nasal infection. The Consultant said there was both dried and fresh blood, mucus and swelling up my nose. The Consultant said that he couldn’t remove my nasal polyps at the moment. This was because he would be unable to get the camera up my nose to see or remove the polyps due to the swelling and congestion.

The course of treatment: Doxycycline (antibiotic type number 9 for 2023, see 2023 – The Year of Antibiotics), Prednisolone and x2 Nasal Sprays for 6 weeks. Then for a review to see if my nose has improved, so the polyp surgery then can be arranged.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. But I will always, were possible, choose to laugh. So I telephoned family and friends and told them that they wouldn’t be getting a polyp with googly eyes and a sparkly wig for Christmas.

Write soon,

Antony

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Polyps Pain

By HealthNo Comments

“You’ve got polyps.” – The Doctor said to me, after he peered up my nose with a bright light.

Polyps are growths within your nasal cavity that can:

  • Cause your nasal cavity to swell, resulting in the worst pain I have ever experienced. Pain in your nose, across your cheeks, forehead, jaw and teeth.
  • Cause swelling of your sinuses.
  • Make breathing through your nose extremely difficult.
  • Give you a runny nose or blocked nose.
  • Make snoring worse.
  • Reduce your ability to smell and taste.
  • Sadly, doesn’t get better on its own. But instead gets worse as the polyps grow.

Here is a photo of just one of my nasal polyps (apologies, it isn’t pretty):

The treatment is surgery to remove them. The problem being that the National Health Service (NHS) here in the UK is really stretched at the moment. And when I say really stretched, I mean it is stretched to breaking point. This means that the surgery I need, I would have to wait several months for. That’s several months of ever increasing pain as the polyps continue to grow.

Waiting several months clearly wasn’t an option. I was unsure if I could tolerate the pain for that length of time. I also had to consider the impact of being unable to work on my life. So I’ve had to go private.

The NHS is a wonderful organisation. It has saved my life and the lives of people that I love on more occasions than I care to recall. But it is essentially becoming an organisation that only delivers emergency and crisis driven care.

It’s very sad to see the state of the NHS today. Over the 11 years of a Conservative Government, they have made efficiency savings (cuts), had no plan and not invested in the NHS. The state of the NHS can only be blamed on those in power.

Write soon,

Antony

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2023 – The Year of Antibiotics

By HealthNo Comments

For most of 2023, I’ve been unwell with bacterial infections. I’ve had an infected knee, an abscess on my arm, pneumonia, a dental abscess, tonsilitis and sinusitis. As my mum would say: I’m surprised you don’t look like an antibiotic, with the amount you’ve taken.

Here is a list of antibiotics I’ve taken in 2023:

It is known that people living with Type 1 Diabetes, like me, have a weakened immune system. But to spend the majority of the year fighting bacterial infections and taking antibiotics is exhausting.

I’ve been trying really hard with the self-care including: regularly washing my hands, getting plenty of rest and sleep, drinking plenty of fluids, eating well, getting vaccinated for COVID-19 (plus boosters). I’ve even tried taking Vitamin C supplements. But nothing has seemed to make any difference. It’s like my white blood cells see bacteria coming and decide to go for a nap instead of fighting. Either that, or my immune system is made up of passivists, rather than warriors.

Every time I get an infection, it spikes my blood sugars. They go high and as much as I try to manage this by eating less and injecting more insulin, managing diabetes feels like having a full time job, on top of having a full time job and out of work commitments.

These regular periods of illness have affected my work and home life. I’m so lucky that Type 1 diabetes is classed as an unseen disability under The Equality Act (2010), otherwise I’d probably be out of a job.

I’ll be really honest, 2023 for me has been about managing illness after illness, whilst trying to maintain my employment. These two tasks haven’t left room for doing the things that I like to do, such as reading, writing, seeing friends and family, etc. That’s why the blog has been pretty quiet as of late.

Being on these different antibiotics has also got me worried. I’ve noticed that some of them haven’t been as effective for me as they previously have been at dealing with bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance is something I’m noticing and with no new antibiotics on the horizon, what’s going to happen when antibiotics stop working altogether?

Blog soon,

Antony

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