Sunday, 18 May 2008

Hooray for the NHS

The health thing being the main reason for moving I suppose I'd better get it out of the way.On my 50th birthday in 1989 a strange thing happened. I literally could not remember who I was for an hour or two, a strange experience both puzzling and disturbing to say the least. Birthday presents on the table but I could not see the connection with myself in any way whatsoever. I felt like an alien from another planet, a strange sensation to say the least. I recovered after a while and celebrated my birthday with my wife and friends though I felt less than one hundred per cent. I had another attack weeks later and visited a doctor as a matter of course. His request for me to 'Talk him through it' would be funny in other circumstances. I was completely, utterly blank during the attacks and am reliant on others to tell me what happened. I received no examination or treatment, had no further attacks and got on with my life.

Fast forward eighteen years and I had a similar though short lived experience earlier this year.I refused an ambulance at the time, as is my wont but a GP examination followed, hospital appointment were made and then the fun started.

Initially a stroke was suggested, except that I had no paralysis or obvious damage; a TIA was suspected. I remember the TIA bit because I'd liked the drink Tia Maria in my youth. ( A coffee liqueur type drink over 20% proof.) In this case TIA standing for Temporary Ischmetic Attack. Hospital appointments followed and the inevitable hospital visits. I'm not sure who was the most spaced out, me or the appointments.

I had an Electroencephalogram, EEG for short which is a brain scan involving twenty three electrodes. No jokes please as to whether they found one, I've heard them all a hundred times. I assume there are twenty three bits to your brain and not that our hospital has lost at least one electrode. Plus a Computerised tomography (CT) scan. Then followed, an anxious wait and eventually a diagnosis by a rather serious poker faced but presumably knowledgeable consultant.

The consultants informed me it was probably not TIA but TGA, which evidently stands for Transient Global Amnesia. 'Very rare, and by the way, both brain scans showed abnormalities and you have frontal lobe damage. But there are no signs of epilepsy.' Nice to have something rare and no epilepsy but the rest is a bit scary. And that basically was that. No treatment except that more pills were suggested. (Prescribed by the GP later but with such disgusting side effects that I took them for three days only. very naughty I know but I will go back to my GP eventually, honest)
I looked up TGA on the internet as you do, doesn't everyone with a medical problem do this. Evidently the exact causes of TGA attacks are unknown, but can include sudden immersion in cold water, strenuous physical activity, sexual intercourse, over excitement and acute emotional distress. Not all together of course.
By my reckoning anyone falling in the river in my condition is going to suffer a heart attack at least. I have no mistress and, having been married for all of thirty eight years so strenuous physical activity and over excitement during sexual intercourse can be ruled out. Which leaves acute emotional distress and there you have it. It's obviously all down to house prices. I knew it, I knew it, it's all the governments fault, result, yet another disgruntled voter.
Long term prognosis is decidedly unsure. But if the gap between attacks is another eighteen years that will probably do me. Nevertheless one more reason to put your house in order, so to speak, the house in our case being a more manageable bungalow.
In a way it may seem a strange thing to say but I personally am glad than for the past eighteen years I've been oblivious to the the problem. I feel okay and am getting on with my life. But I can't help thinking what a genius I would be with a complete brain.

1 comment:

DJ Kirkby said...

This was very interesting. I think that you write very well and should def put words towards a book of your own. TIA stnds for transient ischaemic attack by the way although your words mean the same thing obviously. I know I am being pedantic, can't help it, it is the Aspergers.