misguidance: (ill)
[personal profile] misguidance
 The last 24hours have been.... unique.  Something of an emotional and physical roller coaster, really, which began with a night shift and ended in A&E.   Certainly not how I was expecting to spend my Christmas night/Boxing Day morning, that's for sure.  -__-;

The short version of this story:  
I discovered that I have incredibly high blood pressure, and was on the point of having a stroke.
I am now on medication.
This is good.

The long version of this story:
As you guys know, I am a fat guy.  I don't dress it up or anything- I've always been fat, and I've struggled with it my whole life.  Until now, though, my health has not really reflected my size.  I have issues, but none of the typical 'weight related' illnesses that people expect me to have.  I'm not diabetic.  I don't have high cholesterol.  My fitness has been passable, and (until now) my blood pressure and pulse have been completely normal.

Recently, I suffered a resurgence of my depression, which arrived with a series of really nasty migraines mixed with tension headaches.  I also had a short period of blurred vision and a serious attack of breathlessness, both of which were described by various medical staff as 'anxiety attacks,' even though I have never had anxiety attacks before.  However, given my history, it was not considered to be anything more suspicious and I was put on a different antidepressant.  My mood improved.  All well and good.  But, I continued to have headaches, and began sweating horribly at work.  That's not all that unusual- I'm fat, and the hospital is very hot.  Sweat is expected. I never thought much about it, and chalked the headaches up to dehydration.  I upped my water intake and just got on with life. 

So, last night rolls around.  I was down to work Christmas night and Boxing day night (tonight- no chance of that now).  I had an 'early' Christmas with my family, legged it home on Christmas Eve, and had a nice lazy Christmas Day getting ready for work.   Work itself was shockingly quiet- practically a ghost town compared to normal, and we were all in good spirits.  There was plenty of party food about and we were basically just gossiping and chatting while waiting for people to come in in labour.  The head of the ward was my friend Amanda, who is a trained nurse as well as a midwife.  She and I tend to tease each other a lot, and she was making fun of me for looking 'red and sweaty.'  I told her that's just what I look like on night shifts, but for a laugh she insisted on doing my blood pressure and pulse.  They've always been find before, so I let her.  And they were both so high that she instantly forbade me from getting up from the desk, and they called the obstetric registrar out of the staff room to take a look.   Now, admittedly I'm not a pregnant lady, but the reg is still a competent doctor, and she was so worried about my blood pressure that she insisted on giving me a dose of emergency medication before sending me downstairs to the A&E department.  She was genuinely concerned that I was going to have a stroke on the ward if I didn't have the medication.

For anybody wondering, my BP was 212/120.   When it was checked 4 months ago, it was a very normal 130/80.  -__-;

So, I spent the second half of my shift in A&E, being fussed over by a adorable Spanish nurse called Simon, who sadly is married. :P  My BP came down a little bit thanks to the medication, but the doctor there was unsure about prescribing any more for me, and instead wanted me to speak to my GP.  He forbade me to work again tonight, and sent me home after cheerily telling me that there 'was a chance' that I might have a stroke over the weekend, but that if I 'took things easy' I would 'probably' be OK.  I left A&E at about 10am.

So, as soon as I got home, I called the out-of-hours GP service.  I've not had much luck with them in the past, but they basically heard what my BP was and called me in for the next available emergency appointment.  I had to go back into the hospital for that, but managed to catch an hour's sleep before hand.  The out-of-hours GP was the on-call registrar for the department, which was good- he took me very seriously, and told me in no uncertain terms that my colleagues had almost certainly saved my life.  He gave me a prescription for beta-blockers, and strict instructions to see my own GP on Tuesday (they're closed on Monday as it's a bank holiday over here.)  The pills have some interesting side effects (mainly dizziness on standing up), but weighed against the risks of not taking them, I'm happy to put up with it.  I've had one dose since getting home and my headache has already lessened dramatically.

The thing that really scares me, though, is that other than the headaches, I didn't really feel ill today.  I could easily have gone on indefinitely with this high blood pressure, and ended up suddenly having a massive stroke without any warning whatsoever.  I (like most sane people) have a terrible fear of sudden death, and that is exactly what I have faced today.  And for now- at the moment- I've avoided it, but only because a friend of mine had the wits to pick up on a symptom that everybody else (including me!) assumed was just part of the normal condition of being fat.  If I hadn't given in and let her check me, I actually could have died.  No joke.  I'm not exaggerating.  It might not have been today, or this weekend, but it could have been.  It could have been next week, or the week after.  I'll never know, and hopefully it won't happen.

I want to say that I've been given a second chance, and leave this on some kind of high note, but I don't really feel like that.  I just feel tired, and washed out.  I've slept for about 3 hours in the last 24 (2 before going to work, one this morning).  I know I have to make some pretty huge lifestyle changes, but there's a part of me- a part I can't really control- that has always accepted the fact that I am going to eat myself to death before the age of 40.  I think I've known that since I was about 15.  More than anything else, more than the weight, and the health stuff- that's the thing I have to actually fight here: my own, treacherous brain.  Nothing will help until I can get rid of that part of me.

I suppose that has to be my New Year's Resolution.  I don't really have a choice, but right now, I'm just too tired to care all that much.
I'm going to go to bed, and hopefully I can make a proper plan to cope with this in the morning.  I'm seriously upset about having to miss yet more work, but at the end of the day, I would rather be alive and in trouble with my managers than dead.  I love my job- I really do- but not quite enough to actually let it kill me.  

Needless to say, this has been the shittiest Christmas-slash-Boxing Day ever. 

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January 2016

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