Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A Pain in the Neck

One of my aims or resolutions was to sort out some of my health issues, so while I was waiting for a date for my foot operation, I decided to chase up a date for the minor operation to remove a cyst from my scalp, behind my left ear.  It was a teenage acne type spot which didn't heal properly when I was about 15 and has been steadily growing since then.  Years ago, my then GP said that I couldn't have it removed on the NHS because it was cosmetic, as it was covered by my hair.  Since then, it had grown to a size where it was noticeable, uncomfortable to lie on, and got inflamed every so often.  Luckily, one of the doctors at my current surgery can do these sorts of minor ops and I had a discussion with him about it late last year - then nothing happened.
So I asked about it, and found that I had not been scheduled. The surgery were mortified to have missed me, and sorted it out as soon as they could, giving me a date in the second week of June.
The day came and off I went, and it was fine.  The local anaesthetic was the worst bit, as there isn't much skin to inject into and it stings abominably until it starts to work - and on me it seems to take longer than expected.  Still, once comfortably numb, the doctor got to work, removed the cyst (which was larger than I expected - at about 2 cm diameter, the size of a small cherry tomato) and sewed me up again. I had to sit quietly with a cup of water for a while, and it turned out that stopping me bleeding was a bit tricky. A change of dressings, with additional pressure from a crepe bandage round my head, and I went off home with instructions not to turn my head much, not to wash my hair for a week, and to return in a fortnight for the stitches to be removed.
I had nothing planned for the evening, but the nurse was a little alarmed that I was driving myself home, lived alone and wasn't taking a few days off work - as I'm self employed, it's not like I can call in sick or just decide not to work!  The doctor, bless him, called me a couple of times during the evening, to check that the bleeding had stopped, I was feeling okay and tell me I had his permission to just sit quietly on the sofa watching a DVD. The nurse called the following day to check up on me again, which was nice, although if I hadn't been okay, I don't know if they would have been able to send someone out or not - there doesn't seem to be much provision for home visits.

As it turned out, the bruising and stitches made turning my head really quite uncomfortable, but the incision healed well.  It was in a place I couldn't see, but I took a few photos to check on the wound. I debated adding one here, but decided no-one would want to see that, yuk!  Unfortunately, by the time the stitches were to come out, they had become infected. So I ended up on antibiotics and then antifungals to deal with thrush as a side effect of the antibiotics, and lots of probiotic yoghurt while I tried to re-establish my gut flora and deal with the side effects of the painkillers I was taking for my knee osteoarthritis flare.

Once off the antibiotics and with only a couple of weeks to go to my foot op, I decided I needed to do a bit more about my fitness, and went to the beach for a swim.  I had a bit of an earache, but after half an hour in the cold, sandy water with bits of floating weed and crabs' legs, I had completely had enough.  I went home, had a hot bath to get the remainder of the sand off me and went to bed with my ear no better. By the following morning, my ear was swollen and I felt a bit deaf. With the earliest available appointment the day after that, I went back to the GP, to confirm that I had an outer ear infection, and needed another course of antibiotics to knock it on the head, so to speak, and ensure it cleared up before my foot op, otherwise the latter would have to be postponed. It took the full week of antibiotics to resolve it, but at least I didn't have any other side effects this time.

All in all, it's been something of a pain in the neck, but with the weight loss as an ongoing work in progress, I think I can now say that the aim has been achieved!

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