|The view from my hospital room window...|
Apologies for the patchy posting in recent days and the fact that I haven't replied to anyone who has left a comment recently, this is because I have been back in hospital since Saturday.
For a couple of weeks I'd noticed that my little toe, on my left foot, was discoloured and I'd put it down to a bruising - as I can be quite clumsy, wandering around our house bare foot, and often kick tables, hard-backed books and other random objects I've left on the floor.
However, last Friday I noticed this blackness had spread to the other toes and Rachel advised me to ring NHS 111 (a brilliant, free, service for medical issues that don't merit a 999 call). I was assessed over the phone and told to ring my GP's surgery , which I did. The duty doctor called me back within half-an-hour and arranged an appointment for me to see a doctor on Saturday morning.
Come Saturday, the doctor looked at my toes and immediately contacted the nearest on-call vascular surgeon - who happened to be at St Thomas's in London. She wanted to see me straight away, so Rachel and I hopped on a train and headed up to the city.
St Thomas's is a five-minute cab ride from Waterloo station, on the south bank of The Thames, across from Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament and next door to the London Eye.
|The offending toe...|
Hospital sure has changed since my last enforced stay - free (if erratic) wifi, TV with a built-in telephone (we paid for a package that allowed me access to 27 stations and a choice of over 60 movies, as well as free phone calls), patients on mobile phones etc.
And check out the view from my room (pictured at the top of the article) - people pay hundreds of pounds for a hotel outlook like that - and it was rather cool to hear Big Ben chiming the hours of the day out.
After my CT scan on my first day, I then had an echogram of my heart and on Tuesday I had a 24-hour monitor attached to record my heart rhythms.
|My heart monitor...|
I still have to go see my GP and visit a clinic to finalise the new medicines I've been prescribed, but no-one seemed overly worried and repeatedly told me that my dissected aorta (the original cause of all my health problems) had healed solidly and wasn't a problem.
It turns out that my toes were the result of a condition called "trash foot", caused by tiny blood clots gathering in my extremities. The doctors are now looking at all my test results to try and work out what caused the clots initially.
I can't say this whole experience has been fun, but the staff at St Thomas's did an amazing job of putting Rachel and I at ease as much as possible and my room was certainly conducive to a relaxing stay; I spent most days - when I wasn't having tests - watching The Winter Olympics.
Rachel was with me for as much time as the hospital regulations allowed, which also helped calm me down, and her employers were excellent at allowing her to take days off at short notice to come to the hospital.
These last few days were another demonstration of our brilliant - free - health service and Rachel and I will continue to defend the NHS to the hilt for their wonderful staff and all the amazing things they have done for us.
It's going to take a while to get my mojo back, start blogging properly again and respond to comments on HeroPress. I aim to be back up to speed by Monday, but a lot depends on doctor's appointments etc
But we're still here and that's the main thing!