Monday, January 09, 2017

Out of hours

While we were preparing dinner on Thursday John mentioned that his elbow was sore. I had a quick look at it but there wasn’t anything to indicate a knock or bruise. As we’d been Tesco shopping that morning we just put it down to him twisting it the wrong way either handling Wizzy or the shopping bags.

It had been a little uncomfortable for him during the night so I suggested he have another hour in bed. We hadn’t anything planned that day other than our usual Friday night take-away in the evening so nothing was spoiling.

When he finally rose at midday, he looked rough. His elbow was now swollen and slightly red yet there was still no bruise to indicate a knock, which was a little perplexing.

John felt a little better in the afternoon so just pottered around in his work room. I was busy working on my laptop and watching some DVD’s in the living room, when he came downstairs at his usual time to head out for the Friday night pizza, or in the case of this particular Friday, Chinese. 

Looking extremely grey he asked, “can you check to see if I have a temperature as I don’t feel so good. I’m hot, achy and shivery”.

I hunted out the thermometer from the medicine box but the reading said his temp was normal. I wasn’t convinced so said I’ll try again later after reading the instructions in case I wasn’t pressing the right buttons on it.

“I think you should go to bed”, I said.
“What will you have to eat”, he asked, seeing as there would be no Chinese take-away that night.
I reassured him I would find something and also a way of getting it from the kitchen to the living room – walking with two crutches does limit your carrying ability somewhat....

After getting him settled in bed I went into the kitchen to sort out some dinner. We always keep a couple of frozen pies in the freeze for emergencies so I would have that and some oven chips.  While they were cooking I racked my brain as to how I could get them into living room. 

I eventually came up with the idea of covering the plate with cling-film to stop them sliding off, then put the plate into one of the large recycle grocery shopping bags.  It was a tight squeeze as our new dinner plates are larger than the previous ones. I had intended on slipping the carry bag handles over my fingers whilst gripping Stickies, but the bag kept bashing into them and I was worried the plate would break.

Time to put plan B into action. Using the bag handles I was able to stretch out my arm, put the bag on the floor, walk the couple of inches to the bag then repeat the process until I got to the sofa in the living room. It was an extremely slow process but I got there in the end.

It was about 11.30pm when I retired to bed. John was still feeling pretty lousy so I took his temperature again. This time it did show that he was running a temperature. His elbow was now extremely sore and swollen, bright red and very warm to the touch.  

Earlier in the day John had googled elbow pain and everything was hinting at tennis elbow. Given his new symptoms I wasn’t convinced so whilst John was sleeping I got my Kindle Fire out and did some searching.

Whenever I kept putting in John’s symptoms it came up with the same answer – infection, see your GP immediately. It was the early hours on a Saturday morning. Our GP surgery doesn’t work weekends and the earliest appointment to see any GP was four weeks (on Friday morning I checked the status of the prescription I’d ordered online and out of curiosity looked up available GP appointments).

Having suffered at the hands of infection before (eight weeks in hospital and a stay in intensive care) I am a little cautious. Even though it was 1.15am I woke John and explained my concerns.

“What about ringing NHS direct”, I suggested, “they might be able to help”.
I know they’ve had a lot of bad press but the odd times I’ve used them they have been very good.
“It’s worth a try”, replied John.

A couple of press one for this, press two for that later I passed the phone to John. The advisor took the various details and advised John to take some paracetamol to bring down his temperature and arranged for an out-of-hours GP to give him a ring within the next six hours.

The GP rang at 6am and had a long chat with John. Not wanting to blow my own trumpet, I was right. John had an infection of the elbow joint so the GP would fax over to Lloyds the chemist a prescription for some antibiotics. 

Having read the blurb what went with the antibiotics I don’t think the GP was taking any chances. There are two strengths of this particular drug. John has the strongest one and has to take two of them four times a day for a week.

I’m pleased to report that John’s feeling a little better. His temperature is back to normal and the shivers and aches had gone. His elbow isn’t as swollen, sore or firefly hot as before. The redness though is still there, in fact its spread nearly to his hand.  John, however, was warned that would happen.

Whilst the symptoms of the infection have subsided, he’s been hit by the side-effects of the strong antibiotics, so is feeling a little spaced out. Bless him...


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