In the past week I have had three hospital appointments, a trip to the walk-in centre, and I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon. Each appointment has been one of disappointment.
Last Tuesday I went to see the psychiatrist, which was the least disappointing/traumatic of my medical visits. Dr G is okay, but he often has his own agenda, which isn't actually all that great for a psychiatrist, and the result of this is that I have to try to cram in what I want to say whenever I get a chance. A lot of what I wanted to say last week, and on many of my recent appointments with Dr G, has been related to my asthma and more specifically my most recent admission. The problem is that Dr G doesn't seem to know what to say to me about any of this, and to be honest I don't expect him to say anything, just listen, which as I've already said he's not that great at. He wants to help. He wants to say something that'll make me feel better. He wants to be able to do something. He offers me medication, but there is no point in taking more antidepressants largely because I'm not depressed. Yes I've been stressed and been a bit traumatised, but I'm not depressed. He agrees and I don't take a prescription. There is nothing Dr G can do or say. The appointment finishes and I go home.
On Friday I had an appointment with the opthalmologist and optician at one of the hospitals. This is in part to check my coloured contact lens that artificially contracts my left pupil as it doesn't do it on its own. I have a condition in my left eye called Holmes Adies Pupil which, amongst other things, means that the pupil doesn't contract so I get dazzled by light, which can be uncomfortable. I know that there's nothing that can be done for this, and it's not life threatening in any way. In fact all the literature says that it is of little consequence, but this is a medical view when in reality the discomfort of bright light isn't nice and the fact that the lens in my eye doesn't accommodate is frustrating, because it interferes with my vision. My left eye doesn't focus well so things are often very blurred in that eye. Over time my brain got somewhat used to this and my right eye compensates to some extent. However, my vision is further compromised by cataracts that began to develop a couple of years ago. They're only small at the moment, but they're right in the centre of the lenses in my eyes, and the one in my right eye is bigger than the one in the left. I've written before about the prospects of this for me, but to say again, the opthalmologist is extremely reluctant to operate at any time to remove the cataracts because of my lungs. Most cataracts are removed under local anaesthetic, but apparently there's still a risk that a local anaesthetic would affect my lungs, so the consequence is that they won't do anything and I have the prospect of blindness ahead of me unless I can convince me asthma consultant to speak to the opthalmologist and convince her to remove the cataracts eventually.
Now on Friday afternoon I went to the local walk-in centre for the very silly thing of an infected toe. I hadn't planned on going there and was going to see if I could just sort things out by regularly soaking my foot in hot, salty water, but as Friday progressed my whole toe started to ache so I thought I'd better get it seen to, especially as I'm MRSA positive. So I went to the walk-in/hobble-in centre and sure enough was told that it's infected and I needed antibiotics, but as I'm on methotrexate the nurse practitioners who run the centre aren't licenced to prescribe antibiotics for me. I came away with a toe dressing, the phone number of the urgent doctors service in case it got worse over the weekend, the suggestion that I see my own GP on Monday and the news that there's nothing the walk-in centre can do for me. Oh great.
This morning I have been to see my asthma consultant, which is always the same - a chat, a check to see that things aren't deteriorating (too much) and confirmation that nothing can be done to help. Today was harder to take than previous appointments with Dr H though as he's decided to take me off methotrexate. There are some serious potential side-effects, such as lung fibrosis, liver failure and kidney failure. Thankfully I haven't suffered any of these so far, but the risk is on-going, my consultant has been concerned about the potential of them, and he has now decided that the risks aren't out-weighed by the limited benefit I was getting from the drug. It's not altogether unexpected, but I have been so upset today. I was put on methotrexate as a last hope of anything helping and now that hope has been taken from me. There is nothing else left to try, and again Dr H has said that we have to wait for science to catch up with my disease and try to hope that I live that long. You know you've hit a brick wall when all the consultant can offer is a prescription of hope, but at the same time removes the medication that supplied the hope.