I had high expectations for today. I don’t know why – most sensible people would’ve looked at what I had planned and known it was going to be tough. But I didn’t, so I wasn’t prepared when months of pent up anxiety smashed into me.
I took the day off to do the following:
catch up on things that have slipped while I’ve been ill
have a long and complicated planning meeting
go to a hospital appointment about having my tonsils out
In my head the day was also going to include:
a lie-in, sorting my bedroom out, rearranging furniture, having a leisurely lunch with Leftwing Idiot, going for a walk by the river in the autumn sunshine and maybe even an afternoon hot chocolate in a small independent café.
What actually happened was that I spent:
the morning bickering with Leftwing Idiot who got upset when I bit myself hard on the wrist
the middle of the day behaving erratically while trying to pretend I was fine
the afternoon either sobbing or fighting back waves of tears that kept catching me by surprise
With hindsight I can see the hospital appointment this afternoon had been weighing on my mind more than I’d admitted to myself. The appointment felt desperately important because it represented a route out of the repetitive bouts of illness that have been disrupting my life for the last five months.
Since July I’ve had tonsillitis seven times. Each time I feel extremely unwell and my ‘ticcing fits’ increase in frequency dramatically. So instead of completely losing control of my body three or four times a day, it goes up to between sixteen and twenty times. This is painful, dangerous, upsetting and places a huge strain both on me and on the people who care for me. Typically this intense period lasts for five days. Then, after each course of antibiotics, we get a couple of weeks respite before it happens all over again.
So there was a lot riding on the appointment this afternoon. The discussion with the consultant felt difficult – he didn’t seem to grasp the level of disruption the recurrent infections cause. After a cursory glance at the back of my mouth, he said that because my throat was unhealthy as well as my tonsils, removing them wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem. When he suggested we monitor the situation for a further six months, I broke down and sobbed uncontrollably.
I was stunned by how distressed I got and I think the doctor was too. I fought to regain composure and when I eventually succeeded I explained in detail the severity of the situation for me and how the thought of that continuing for another six months was agonising. He seemed to soften slightly and asked for the dates of all the episodes of tonsillitis.
This helped him understand the pattern and he decided that a tonsillectomy might be the sensible option. He went over the risks of the operation in grizzly detail and sent me for a pre-operative assessment. A nurse took a detailed medical history and carried out tests to make sure I’m healthy enough to have the procedure. If these tests are fine then I can have my tonsils removed. I’m on the waiting list already.
It was dark by the time we left the hospital. Leftwing Idiot and I were both worn out and I felt weepy for the rest of the evening. It felt as though the intensified stress of today’s appointment unlocked a big bundle of worries and emotions that I’d been battling to keep in check.
I’ve definitely had better days off.