Half term week is now drawing to a close and what an eventful week it has been. Hubby has been away with work for the whole week so me and my three little cherubs had made ambitious plans to spend some quality time together. Each day was planned with military precision, weeks ahead of the half term, ensuring each child covered an activity of their choice, saw at least one of their buddies and took turns to sleep in hubby’s side of the bed. And we achieved all of our goals and much more with events popping up as the week progressed. What I hadn’t prepared for, however, was a sudden dash to my local hospital.
At the grand old age of 38 I consider myself to be in fairly good health. Other 38 year olds such as Angelina Jolie and David Beckham may be looking a bit more youthful than me but so would I on their pay packets! But generally I’m doing alright. However, over the last year or so I have been experiencing palpitations, a sort of a weird heart fluttering sensation coupled with the feeling that my heart is skipping a beat. I have visited two separate doctors, one of which put it down to ‘hormones’ AKA ‘women’s problems – get on with it’ and the other put them down to eating too much chocolate and perhaps I should cut down…. erm no can do I’m afraid. I tried to seek comfort from their conclusions, tried not to convince myself that I had some sort of heart condition and tried to ignore them, I even affectionately named them ‘my palps’ when discussing the sensation with friends and family.
Except this month they felt worse and after terrifying myself through self-diagnosis online, I decided to visit doctor number three. He was a bit more thorough and sent me off to hospital for a blood test and an ECG (heart test). Typically, while hooked up to the ECG I didn’t have one of ”my palps’ so was sent on my way.
Our half term continued and whilst in a toilet in our local library, trying to help my youngest son out of Batman costume so he could have a wee, my doctor rang. He said that he was concerned about my blood test results and that I should go to the hospital for further tests, he explained that my thyroid levels were high and that I needed to speak to a consultant about it. So, not really knowing what a thyroid was, I took my time and after lunch dropped the kids off with my Dad and took my Mum up the hospital with me to find the ‘Medical Assessment Unit’ I had been instructed to visit. After endless corridors of my local hospital we finally found our destination and I gave my name to the nurse behind the counter. The nurse said that she had been expecting me and led me to a ward of about 6 beds and gave me a hospital gown. I suggested that there must be some mistake and that I was just coming in for a chat, she just smiled at me sympathetically and closed the curtained wall of my bed, telling me to make myself comfortable.
Trying not to feel like I was in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I decided I had better go with it as me and Mum proceeded to work out how to tie up the massive faded blue patterned hospital gown (Stella McCartney really needs to move onto hospital wear after her Olympic designer range). In the following 5 hours (!) I was prodded and poked by a variety of nurses and doctors, had numerous tests involving lots of needles as well as a Tommy Cooper style impression to see if I had the shakes. Finally, after witnessing lots of scribbling on clipboards and hushed conversations between medical staff I was given a conclusion, I was told that my thyroid was in hyper mode, that I had an overactive thyroid and this was the reason I was experiencing palpitations. They were concerned as to why I had ‘ignored’ these symptoms for so long, to which I did try to explain the whole chocolate diagnosis. I was then told that I would have to start a shedload of meds, that I would be sent for a CT (brain) scan as I had complained of headaches with ‘my palps’ and a lot more blood tests, etc., were to come. There was even talk of some radioactive treatment in the future. They said they were going to watch my heart rate to see if I needed to stay in the night.
My Mum looked worried, I tried to brush it off as a ‘I think it’s very common’ and then started to worry about having to call my Dad and ask him to organise my overnight bag. How would he choose my pyjama’s as I often improvise pyjama tops with my Nirvana and Foo Fighters t-shirts and furthermore, my dressing gown had a massive coffee stain down the front of it thanks to my dog Chester jumping up at me that morning. Thankfully, I was able to save my Dad from this ordeal as the nurses decided I was OK to go home with my take-out bag of drugs.
Yesterday, I had my CT scan. I was instructed to lay on a bed in front of a giant metal doughnut looking machine. The nurse then made a swift exit and my bed began to move inside the doughnut, my pillow started to heat up and a red light began to move across my head, then it started to make an industrial Hoover type of noise as my bed shifted back and forth. Starting to feel like I was in a bad Sci-Fi movie, I tried to look up into the nurses room but couldn’t quite see. After about 10 minutes, my bed spat me out of the doughnut and I was told I could leave and that my results would be sent to my doctor. I scanned the nurses face for any sign of concern but she had the whole poker face down to a fine art.
I am on day 5 of my drugs now and ‘my palps’ thankfully have decreased, I am trying not to Google my overactive thyroid condition too much as there is always a worst case scenario that I might not need to know. I still have more tests to come and a trial and error course of meds to sort my thyroid out, but I am hoping my ‘hyper’ thyroid will calm itself down and behave for the foreseeable future.