Costochondritis, Work and Charing Cross Hospital
So, my GP had signed me off for a week following my appointment at The Countess of Chester hospital back in September, and I returned to work on Friday 12th September. My shift began at 5pm and I had to complete my return to work once I had clocked on. I manned the hybrid tills through to my break at 8.30pm. 9pm and those who were on the normal checkouts had all moved down to man the hybrids and I offered to go on the top hybrid rather than watch just one unmanned till. Within 5 minutes, I was struggling. Once someone could take me off, another colleague helped me upstairs to the canteen where I stayed until my shift ended. I was determined to drive home after resting but, my line leader made it clear that he was driving me home and leave my car in the car park. He suggested that I take the next day off but, me being me; wanted to come in because I thought I would be alright following a night’s rest. How mistaken was I. Saturday morning and I got a lift into work with across the road from me. 8am and I was pooped walking down the stairs to the shop floor. I had to take a breather as soon as I stepped foot onto the floor. Typical, as it it always is, my manager was walking towards me and wanted to check whether I would be OK to work and I had to show her I could walk a certain distance. I then headed up to checkout number 1 because it is the quieter of the lot. Wrong! The runners kept sending customers to me and I was beginning to struggle until I was eventually taken off at 10am to go for break. I say break, I ended up remaining in the canteen until my mam could come and pick me up. Another 2 weeks off work then.
Towards the end of September, I had a scan of my heart and the following week I was asked to return to the Countess for the result. I had to have another ECG and bloods taken before seeing the Cardiologist. To be fair, I was not there for long and I was with mam. Eventually I was called in to see the doctor, she was kind of punky and looked more like a secretary than a cardiologist. She told me that the bloods showed no signs of clots – which was great. As for my heart; it turned out that it is not functioning as well as it should be. The doctor did say that it was ‘mild’ – whatever that means. At least I have gone 12 years before having a heart issue again. As the NHS is devolved in Wales and funding issues, she said that it would be best that I have a MRI and Angiogram in either Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan or Ysbyty Maelor, Wrecsam, as they are the two hospitals I was at when I had viral myocarditis in 2002. Therefore, she was writing to my GP to refer me to one of them. As it stands, I am still waiting to hear of an appointment despite my GP stating it as urgent.
Thursday, 3rd October and I receive a phone call from Charing Cross hospital with a set date for surgery. As I had been waiting some time, she gave me the date of Monday, 17th November for surgery and a pre-op consult on Tuesday 7th October. Frustratingly, I had to decline due to my being ill. She then gave me another date for consult being 2pm on 21st October and surgery would be on Monday, 1st December. There is 6 weeks between consult and surgery because I would have to sustain from taking oestrogen for 6 weeks. With my fingers crossed, I prayed that I would be able to walk properly in 2 weeks from then. Mam booked the return tickets for us both and we caught the Euston Central bound train on the 21st October. Walking to Euston Square to catch the underground to Hammersmith and down to the hospital, I was not too bad but a little achy considering I could not walk a mere days earlier. We made good time and with the appointment being with Urology at the hospital; It was only a short walk in comparison to going to the Gender Clinic further down Fulham Palace Road.
Urology is on the 6th Floor and the lifts take their time. We were not waiting too long before being called in by a nurse to be weighed, bloods taken for their records and blood pressure and myself to swab around my genitalia; and then returning back to the waiting room until the Gender nurse called me in. She went through my medications, how everything will go and that I would be on a ward with 2 others who would be having the same operation. l then had to see a Urologist who informed me to cease taking the oestrogen and that after surgery, I would not need to have any further anti-androgen injections – seeing how I would no longer have any testes. Back to the waiting room before seeing the anaesthetist who, after I informed him that I am waiting for a MRI and Angiogram, has suspended my surgery until the get the results from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. Bit of a damp squib but for the best. After all, it is my health and life going under the knife soon. In one way, I am extremely disappointed because I have costochondritis which has stalled the surgery that I have been longing for for so many years and on the other; and not too important by how I feel, I will be needed at ASDA during this festive period The gender nurse wanted me to have bloods done so they knew my hormone levels. Due to having to catch the train home, I had to have them done back home in Flint.
Back to my health, I tried and failed to return to work on the Friday of that week. My trip down to London certainly did me no favours there. This time, I managed a mere one and a half hours. I began on till 3 before going on the hybrids at 6pm. I did not realise how bad I was. A colleague came on with me to help me out but I had to give in and went upstairs to get 2 codeine tablets. As I entered the canteen, my line manager was in there and had been made aware of my health issue and sent me home. That Friday night I was in a lot of pain and through into Saturday. By early afternoon, I had contacted Out of Hours nurse who called an ambulance for me when I informed her of having chest pains. Again, ECG, bloods and an X-ray all done and because the tests showed no change to my previous visit back in August, this time, I was allowed to go home. I had to phone my parents to come for me and by now it had gone 11pm. I was glad to be going home and to my own bed.
During these last 3 months, I have had to keep work up to speed and I have lost count now of all the ‘we want to see how you are doing’ meetings with my managers. I have had to have an Occupational Health interview as it is ASDA policy for any staff member who is off for a long period of time through illness. Tomorrow, Saturday 22nd November I have to go in again for a meeting at 11.30am. I am repeating myself each time I go in. This week however, I have been in agony with my back and I have not even gone round to my parents this week and I am struggling to stand in one position for a short period of time. I have allowed myself to cry due to the depression of it all. I am worse from mid afternoon when the temperature drops and the cold takes a hold. My fit note runs out on Monday and I do not even know whether I will be back on Friday coming (28th November).
During this time, I have made a new friend called Elaine, a now ex of an old friend of mine called Chris. I will not go into details because it is private. I have found a wonderful connection with Elaine and I seem to be able to connect on a more psychic plane. That is; as with my mam; think of something ahead of what she and my mam say. I find this amazing. She is the first non-family member that I have been able to do this with. She has introduce me to Angel cards and to speak to my guardian angel for help and advice. On Sunday gone, we went to the town hall in Llandudno for the Mind, Body & Soul event, where I bought a pack of Archangel Michael Oracle cards. We had a bite to eat at the Fish & Chip restaurant across the road to the side. I was out of breath simply by eating and I struggled to walk back to the car which was only a matter of meters away behind the town hall. Since Sunday, I have had bad back pain but I was struggling beforehand too.
Anyhoos, I am going to end it there for now.
xx Cerys xx