Monday, 25 March 2013

Bronchial athletics

Well, it happened.  The thing I'd been dreading since surviving lung cancer happened when the nasty snotty cold which started with a horrid sore throat, climbed down into my remaining right lung lobe. Why couldn't it have chosen the left hand side I wonder? The reason I'd been dreading it was that I wasn't sure how easy it would be to clear that lobe. The answer is, quite difficult. 

I've had to perform some bronchial athletics.  I found the barking deer (well that's what it sounds like) method of moving excess fluids up the tubes most useful.  The physio at the hospital introduced me to it after the lung lobes removal and my mum tells me its something she learnt at yoga. 

Here's how you do it. Instead of during a normal cough, when you start by closing your throat in order to raise the pressure in the lung, you keep you throat open and use your chest muscles in exactly the same way but push the air out throught he open throat.  Several puffs usually do the trick - and then an ordinary cough sorts out the remainder..

I'm assuming that the reason clearing the lobe is so difficult is that it's floating around in a load of space that it never bargained on occupying, therefore making the effect of the muscle activity less effective than it would otherwise be. 

Hey ho - another couple of days and it should all be over and I'll be back to living as if nothing extraordinary ever happened to me.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Ear, ear

I went to see the GP the other day.  "How's your commissioning?" I asked him just to brighten up the encouter.  He looked terribly tired when I walked in. He was probably contemplating, as he trawled hrough my notes, that in all likelihood I'd come with a new sympton, something ominous, and that he'd potentially have to be the bearer of bad tidings. I felt awful sorry for him.

I'd actually gone just to ask him to have a quick look down my left ear, to check out the annoying piece of wax that appends itself to my eardrum every morning and gives me what I call clicky ear.  It all took about two minutes and I left him with a smile on his face and I hope in lighter heart.

What did he say about the commissioning you're wondering. Well, it was something trite and quite clever - and pretty well meaningless.  I didn't feel it appropriate to go into a protracted conversation as he was at the end of a long clinic. But I do wonder what he thinks.

I can't make up my mind about all this reorganisation. I'm reminded of that quote - purporting to be Roman but evidence for which no-one can find: “We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganised. … I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.”

As long as I've been aware of the National Health Service (about 57 years) it's been in a state of permanent reorganisation. Being a folk singer it would be only too easy to sing about the old service and praise it.  But could I really praise all the waiting in the old village hall to see the GP in a tiny cold side room?  Would I really want to go back to the days of our family GP leaning on our mantlepiece, smoking another cigarette, drinking a cup of tea before checking out my latest bout of tonsilitis and ear-ache?

There's no doubt it needs a shake up. You only have Staffordshire NHS as an example of why the NHS needs urgent reform. Are the new plans going to be any better? Well I really don't know and that's why I've refrained from joining any of the many Facebook campaigns or writing to my MP to complain.  I simply don't know.  As long as the service is free at the point of delivery - and that's the baseline I think - does it really matter who does what and how?  I'm not  happy about shareholders taking a cut but, given the economic state of the country, if it's a choice of that or not having services, I'd rather have them. However, undecided as I am, I was relieved to hear just now on the news that the government is going to rewrite its service privatisation proposals.

That I am undecided on something will probably come as a surprise to my readership.  Well, you'd better get used to it.  The older I get the more undecided I'm becoming on many things.