Monday, 13 March 2017

Medical mystery and a Bavarian moneypit

In the words of Bill & Ted, it has been a most unusual day.
With a day's leave booked, I had two objectives to complete - get the car fixed, and see a doctor.
It shouldn't be too hard. The car was booked in at the local BMW specialist to have a new differential fitted, so I dropped it off at 8:00 before wandering up to Sainsbury's for a cooked breakfast.
I sat looking out the window at the world as I worked my way through sausage, bacon, egg, beans, tomato, toast and coffee. I knew the job on the car wouldn't take long, but I was also aware that the bill would be monumental.
I finished breakfast and walked into town, which was only just waking up, before making my way back to the garage to wait for them to finish the job.
By 11 o'clock I was back home, partly elated because the awful whining noise had disappeared, leaving the car eerily quiet, and partly angry because it doesn't seem right that a diff should be knackered after only 44000 miles, costing me over 1600 pounds, especially on what is supposed to be a premium brand vehicle with a reputation for quality German engineering.
Oh well, c'est la vie. Or should that be 'So ist das leben'?

Time to get an appointment with a doctor then.
I've had pain in the side of my chest for a week now, and as is usual with me I've been trying to ignore it in the hope it would go away.
Unfortunately things seemed to be getting worse so, tired of being nagged, I gave in to the idea that I really ought to do something about it.
So I called the GP's surgery and was told there were no appointments available for two weeks.
This is normal. There seems to be an assumption that everyone has ample warning that they might need a doctor.  However, there's no way I can tolerate this level of pain for a further fortnight, so I impressed upon the receptionist the urgency of my situation. I'm not one of those people who waste a doctor's time - I only resort to seeking one when there's something practically hanging off.
She relented, telling me to call back at 2pm when I would be assessed for triage and shoe-horned in at the end of the day.
I didn't make it that long.

In an effort to kill a bit of time I went out to the wife's car armed with a bottle of polish and a cloth to give it a nice shine-up. Big mistake. Something in the buffing action triggered the most incredible pain in my chest, and it was all I could do to stagger in to the wife and demand she take me to A&E immediately. She was all for calling an ambulance, but I wasn't having any of that.
Although there was a massive waiting time posted at the A&E reception, one look at me convinced them to get me in for checks within twenty minutes.
After exhaustive questioning, an ECG, blood pressure check and a session of poking and prodding which culminated in me virtually hitting the roof as I let out a scream of agony, they still didn't know for sure what was going on.
From there I was sent straight to the GP where I was subjected to further torture, after which the doctor admitted she wasn't sure either. I left with some heavy-duty pain killers and a referral note for a chest x-ray, which I have to make an appointment for tomorrow morning.
In the meantime I'm told to stay off work, rest, and avoid driving.

In summary then, the NHS is so overstretched you now need to plan any illness or injury in advance, codeine isn't man enough to subdue the pain I'm still in, and even though I have the option of chopping the Beemer in for something small, frugal and brand new, I'd rather fork out to have it fixed because it's just so damn good to drive.