October 28th, 2005

perky, wolfy

I *heart* my GP

Trundled off to the doctor's this morning - he was running a mere 20 minutes late, quite impressive for him. He is thoroughly horrified by my experience, and agrees that everyone concerned should have damn well known that I was "anxious" in advance. He said doctors should always tell the patient before doing something with a needle, because it makes it hurt less! It's not just me being unreasonable! He is also mystified by what appears to be a new idea that you can't give the patient anything to relax them prior to getting to the anaesthetic room, as it doesn't just help mentally, it also helps to get muscles relaxed.

Mostly, he was angry: that his patient that he'd spent a lot of time on getting sane & happy had had a horrible experience at the hands of so-called medical "professionals", and was all upset again, as well as still being ill. When I was leaving, he gave me a cuddle. Some people would call that unprofessional, but I call that comforting another human being in distress (he did ask first!). (I hate the fact that in teaching, you're not allowed to touch the kids even when they're very upset and clearly want a sign that you care.)

Current plans are as follows:
1) Try a gallstone-dissolving drug to see if it does anything. If I've got to wait anyway, I might as well try it. The worst it can do is nothing.
2) He will write to the consultant to find out what the wait will be and confirm whether I can get anything to calm me down prior to surgery.
3) If the gallstones don't dissolve themselves, look into just hoicking them out rather than the whole gall bladder. This is done under local anaesthetic, thus mitigating my worries. (The existing consultant refused point blank to do that, arguing that I'd only end up back there in 5 years with the same problem even when I explained I would happily stick to the low-fat diet).
4) If replies to 2) & 3) are non-helpful, get referred to a different hospital. He understands exactly why I don't want to go back to Kingston.

Meanwhile, I will be:
5) Talking to friendly anaesthetists of my acquaintance to find out what current NHS practice really is. bfo suggested her friend Mhairi, and Richard has a paintballing associate called Puffy. If anyone else has a pet anaesthetist, do let me know - even dental anaesthetists might be helpful.
6) Looking into costs of going privately. The New Victoria Hospital (the nearest private hospital) charges £4000 for laparoscopic cholesystectomy (sp?), but it's not itemised. I don't know whether, for instance, already having the results of two ultrasounds would reduce the work they'd need to do and thus the cost. I haven't looked at the cost of gallstone removal yet.
7) Sorting out a blood cholesterol test. I forgot to ask this time. Gallstones are basically caused by high cholesterol levels. But I'm vegan (thus eating very little cholesterol) and I eat tons of soya (which is supposed to reduce cholesterol levels). So it could be caused by the Efexor. Before the trauma of this, I was extremely sane - in theory, I probably could reduce my dose from 225mg down to 150mg without going nuts, if that would stop further gallstones forming.
8. Looking vaguely into medical hypnosis, although I'm almost as afraid of that as I am of general anaesthetic. (I am a control freak. What's new?)

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