Archive for the ‘GP’ Category

No, this isn’t going to be commentary on the NHS in general, nor a comment on how the government hugely fucked up the covid response, while the NHS and those inside it have done an amazing job on rolling out the vaccines.

I mean, were I to do so, you may be able to guess from the above sentence where I’d stand. Possibly. Maybe.

And who knows, I may do something on both of those, including some very nice words about some very nice people I know who work in the NHS. (Hi Keir, if you’re reading!)

But no, this might be the first in an irregular series of posts during this run on how covid has changed what I do, what consequences it’s had for me.

So, medical stuff.

Oh, not to bury the lede — too late, Budgie — but I haven’t had covid, and at no point have I felt it necessary to get a test. Apart from anything else, unless I have to have one of those tests where you stick the swab so far up your nose you scrap the inside of your skull… I’m not going to.

Because I have a busted up inside-of-my-nose, which you can see in the MRIs immediately below. But there’s no reason for me to detail here how I got the busted up nose, IS THERE, MY BELOVED SON?

So, no, I haven’t had covid. But I know people who’ve had it, and even some who’ve been very ill with it, And I know people who died from it, including a family member. (We hadn’t been close for many years, but it still counts.)

But as far as covid and me, the biggest consequences to me, medically, have been how I’ve interacted with my GP and the hospitals I’ve had to be in contact with over the past year and a half.

Because I’ve had some… medical stuff happening during that time. In no particular order, some mental health stuff which I’m probably not going to talk about today, a couple of skin cancer scares, bleeding from some places that I really shouldn’t be bleeding from, and the usual medical stuff that hits you when you’re in your mid-50s.

On the last of these, I’m reminded that a couple of years ago I mentioned to my ex-wife that I felt like an old person. No, she didn’t reply, ‘I know, but where can you get one this time of night?’

I’d said it while on the phone to her and counting out the different medications I took, morning and night, and how I remembered as a child watching my grandparents doing the same thing.

Laura, very sensibly, asked one question: ‘…and how old were they when you remember them doing this?’

Because, of course, when I worked it out, it turned out… that they were in their late 50s, as I’m about to be, in [checks the title of this post] 50 days’ time.

So, the reason I felt… not young, was of course because I’m not young any more. OK, I may not be “old” but I was – in Emo Philips’ immortal line – born at a more comfortable distance from the apocalypse than most of the people reading this. Not necessarily all of you, but by any measure most of you.

Again, in no particular precedence, I take meds for stomach complaints, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and of course I take statins. I take vitamin supplements and sleep meds. Without the latter, I’m lucky if I sleep an hour without waking up, cursing, eventually sleeping for another hour, waking up, cursing again and then… and then… and then… So I take sleep meds.

Oh, and of course large daily doses of cocodamol 500/30 for the fucked-up foot.

But yeah, keeping in touch with my GP, my doctor, has changed the past year and a half. I’ve not yet had a video appointment with my GP but I’d be more than ok with doing so, and I was pleased to see that the NHS is investigating whether this is something that could be an option when this is over. Pretty much (with rare exceptions) every interaction I’ve had with my GP over the past 18 months has been by telephone.

Now I’m lucky. I have a great GP, someone I like and respect. The latter is more important to me than the former, because I don’t think I could trust a GP I didn’t respect. I could, I guess, though it would be difficult, trust a doctor I didn’t like. But a doctor I didn’t respect? Not a chance. And I do trust my GP.

(A long time ago, when I was a teenager, a family friend told me that there are three professionals you need to trust and tell the truth to: your doctor, your accountant, your lawyer. If you don’t trust them, he said, get another one, and always tell them the unfettered truth… because it’ll cost you a lot more in the end if you mislead them. It’s good advice, and while I’ve never needed my own accountant, for obvious reasons, I’ve used lawyers and doctors and tried at least not to be dishonest with them.)

I’ve had my current GP since I moved into Abbey Road. She’s great. And when we first met, she figured me out pretty quickly. Only twice have I not taken her advice and while one is ongoing re the mental health thing, the other… well, she was right and I was wrong and there’s nothing more to be said about it. Other than that I should have had that colonoscopy long before I had no choice but to have it because I was genuinely scared I was about to die in agony.

So that was nice.

Dealing with my GP has been a delight, because she’s a delight… knowledgeable, professional, friendly… nice; a doctor who tells me what I need to know, not necessarily what I want to know. I like seeing her, but I’m also more than ok with talking to her on the phone most of the time. And I’d be similarly quite happy chatting to her on video as well.

I’d be remiss however, if I didn’t at this stage also thank the other people in the St John’s Wood Medical Practice: the other doctors who’ve spoken to me when my GP has been unavailable, the nurses who’ve done blood tests, and the receptionists, all who have been utterly fantastic. As I said above: I’ve been very lucky.

Dealing with hospitals in the time of covid — particularly regarding the skin cancer scares — was less than pleasant, though. And it’s not their fault; the world went to hell during this pandemic, resources were stretched, and the hospitals were doing their very best just to do what they could, when they could, while they could.

But several successive telephone appointments that ended with “I have no idea why this appointment is being done by telephone; I really need to see you in person“, followed by other telephone appointments that ended with “I have no idea why this appointment is being done by telephone; I really need to see you in person“…

…followed by an in-person telephone appointment that led, 40 minutes later, to a ‘traumatised’ ¼” mole being urgently removed from my chest leaving a 2″ scar…

…yeah. Less than ideal.

(I was about to insert some pics of the mole, and the scar so you could see how horrible the former was and how neat and – frankly – weird the latter is… but I thought better of it. Still, ask if you want to see them; they’re pretty neat.)

Fortunately, the several biopsies and tests I’ve had have all turned out negative, but I’m kind of resigned to the fact that at some point I’ll get a biopsy result that… isn’t so nice. Just as I’m assuming that sooner or later I’ll have a head biopsy, the scars of which necessitate me wearing a hat thereafter. So far I’ve escaped both; I doubt I’ll escape them forever.

But the mess over the hospital appointments weren’t anyone fault. It was just everyone doing the best they could at a time when everyone was just doing the best they could.

But for the future, if I could pick and choose — which of course I can’t — I’d choose telephone/video appointments with my GP (if she’s up for that) for most stuff, and in person appointments at hospital. I kind of figure that if my GP thinks I should be seen by someone at a hospital, I should be seen by someone at a hospital.

One problem, of course, is that much as “the patient is resting comfortably” means something quite, quite different to a) the patient and b) the hospital, so unfortunately does “I need an appointment and it won’t take long…

Oh look, we’ve run out of space and time. No time to tell you about the bleeding from places I shouldn’t be bleeding from.

Well, that’s something to look forward to next¹ time, eh?

See you tomorrow, with… something else.



Fifty-seven days. Fifty-seven posts. One fifty-seventh birthday.

I’m trying something new with this run. I’ve signed up to, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of dollars every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-seventh birthday on 17th August 2021. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

¹there won’t be a next time, at least not about medical stuff