So the lurgey saga continues………..
I returned home late on Tuesday evening, after two short return flights and time for a glorious foot massage in transit in Bangkok Airport. My baggage was heavy: one full bag of eleven days worth of dirty laundry; extra papers, booklets and resources from the packed days of work; bulky folded flip charts with gold dust in the form of ideas and plans for our work across the region; and crammed in the final little corners of the travel bags – pills and potions to help to banish the nasty bronchial illness which was continuing to drag me down.
I knew I just had to get through two more intense days, then I could take a day’s rest before the weekend. However, despite the meds which had been prescribed in Vientiane, and because of the self-same meds which can reduce the effectiveness of my blood thinning meds, I made an appointment to see my Doctor here in Yangon. Mainly for a blood check, as curdled blood would not be fun, but also for reassurance and any refinement of treatment because of the continuing cough and depth of exhaustion. Captain Paranoia was clearly in the shadows, just at the edge of my line of vision but very much in my mind as he slithered around.
I had little need to explain myself when I saw Dr Y2. He had heard my cough from the waiting room, seen my drawn and tired face (his words, not mine) and we went through details of the span of this particular bout. I had been on antibiotics only a couple of weeks previously, so it concerned him that I was so soon felled by another bout. Almost immediately, he announced that he would run a chest x-ray. And that was the cue for Captain Paranoia to leap into view, sticking his ugly face into mine and sneering “I told you so!”
I was escorted down to the x-ray department, trying to calm my mind with not an ounce of success. All I could think of was imminent bad news, changing plans and life taking that turn again. I held tightly onto my thoughts, trying to keep them in the present as they tried to move into scenarios where the x-ray highlighted something much more sinister than bronchitis.
Things happen quickly here, fortunately, and there is little time to descend too far or for Captain P to get the firm grip he is seeking. I was ushered into the x-ray suite, the film in an envelope and back in the surgery in no time with Dr Y2 poring over the film. He had even made me a cup of tea, which I was sipping as my blood draw was taken. He was pointing out an area which showed clear bronchitis. There was no mention of any nasty surprises. Only the lurgey. Captain Paranoia was slipping out of the clinic, into the waiting lift and out of sight for the time being.
I was soon back in the consulting room, and Dr Y2 writing out a new prescription to banish this stubborn bronchitis. Along with a sick leave certificate, which I tried to resist initially. He was concerned over my level of exhaustion and insisted that I take a few days of real lying-in-bed-and-not-even-getting-dressed rest. I cancelled the commitments I had and headed home.
And it was when I was at home, I noticed that the sticking plaster over my blood draw was covered in teddy bears!
And that says it all really. It tells me that I am looked after with the utmost clinical and medical professionalism, and wrapped in care and respect. The staff know how I hate the blood draws, and Dr Y2 knows how my mind veers off into scary places – so I get a cup of tea and teddy bear Elastoplast. And this is not new. Dr Y1 used to dispense a chocolate frog every time she saw me. I know those are reserved for children and especially children who are have painful or uncomfortable procedures. But she used to tell me with a conspiratorial whisper that oncology patients also have rights to chocolate frogs!
I know that I have had and still have difficult challenges to contend with, but I also know that I am extremely well cared for in every sense.
And I have the teddy bear Elastoplast to prove it!