February 26, 2011

My job offers a variety of good benefits, one of which is a full health check every two years.  Three weeks ago I had my check-up.  It was all very run-of-the-mill until the doctor did a check for breast lumps and found one in my right breast.  I actually started laughing when she told me – there’s been a lot going on recently, so something like this just seemed like a bit of a cosmic joke.  And when I thought about it later, I realised that I’d felt that lump for months and hadn’t even thought about getting it checked.  It makes me sound like a complete lunatic, but it simply hadn’t occurred to me that I was feeling a lump in my breast.

Thank goodness for private medical insurance (another perk of my job).  I had an ultrasound within a week (a fairly tense few days passed before that appointment, obviously), and although this didn’t show anything other than normal breast tissue, the consultant decided that I should also have a biopsy, given the obvious nature of the lump.  So I was back at the clinic within another ten days, and on Tuesday of this past week I had more ultrasound, mammograms and the biopsy itself.  And I’m very pleased to report that it looks as though everything is absolutely fine – no cancer and no pre-cancerous cells.  I will see the consultant again next Tuesday for the final all-clear. 

Anyway, it goes without saying that everybody else should learn from my idiotic example and get lumps checked out, pronto.


Dental woe

September 9, 2010

An exciting morning for me: I was able to sleep late (I went to bed at midnight, had eight dreamless hours of blessed unconsciousness and woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck at 8am), but only because I had an appointment with a root canal specialist at 9.30am.  Oh yes!

A few weeks ago I finally responded to the summons I’d received from my local NHS dentist. It was all ‘you MUST come for a check-up or else you’ll lose your NHS dental privileges’, so I went along for an appointment.  The dentist I saw asked me if I’d had any particular problems, so I told him about one heavily filled tooth that was giving me gyp.  He prodded at it, did an x-ray and told me that I needed to have root canal work or get the tooth extracted.  He also told me that I had a badly impacted wisdom tooth right next to the offending tooth and that it would have to come out as well.  OK, I said, and are you going to do a check of the rest of my teeth.  No, he said, because you only told me that the one tooth was causing you problem.  Yes, I said, but that’s because you asked – you guys told me to come in for a check-up, so I assumed that you’d actually take a look at my teeth yourself.  Oh, he said, but there’s no time now and you’ll have to make another appointment.  That’s rubbish, I said to the practice manager afterwards: why didn’t the dentist do the check-up while his was hanging out for five minutes and waiting for the x-ray to develop (instead of leaving me in the waiting room for that time, doing nothing)?  No idea, she said, we’d have to ask him.  Don’t bother, I said, this place sucks the big kumara.

Anyway, the rubbish dentist referred me to this root canal guy today and he confirmed that yes, root canal is called for, but that I might want to have the tooth out instead – it’s my back molar on the left-hand side of my mouth and you wouldn’t be able to see that it was missing.  He also said that I could probably get it removed at the same time as the wisdom tooth extraction (which is going to be a hospital job, apparently).  He then realised that he was talking me out of paying the £480 he would charge me for root canal work, so he hastened to add that I could find that a root canal was the answer.  Too late, root canal guy: I’d rather lose the tooth and be done with it.  I have no idea what the cost of this double extraction is likely to be, though, or how much it’s likely to hurt.  But it’s sure to require a couple of days off work or working from home: an absolutely splendid prospect.  It’s a sad commentary on your life when you turn up to the root canal guy’s office, sit in the scary dentist’s chair and find yourself thinking, ‘God, it’s BRILLIANT to be here and not at my desk’.

I have a feeling that this blog entry is virtually incoherent.  I am so tired and I have so much work to do that I’m at the stage where I can achieve absolutely nothing.  My in-box is crammed with emails that require my attention, my to-do list is a mile long, my desk is buried under important paper and I’m finding it difficult to focus.  I was talking to my good friend Dorday earlier today (she rang from Sydney) and she told me that she’s flying to Argentina on Saturday for a four week holiday.  I can’t actually describe the seething jealousy I felt at that particular moment.  I would trade a lot for four weeks off work right now.  I wouldn’t give up Tristan or Tui in exchange, but I could probably be convinced to part with anything else.