So sorry that I haven't posted for a couple of weeks. This is partly because I had some time away in Edinburgh visiting my mum and step-dad, and although I took my computer with me, I spent more time reading and doing cross-stitch than online. Since coming back I've been a little distracted by still not feeling too well and very much trying to stay out of hospital.
I had to postpone my trip up north by a day and a half because I had a call from Dr G's secretary offering me an appointment to discuss the portacath situation. Having waited for this for so long (or at least it seems that way) I wasn't going to turn this appointment down, so on the Thursday afternoon I made my way to the RVI to see Dr G. He went through the possible risks of the operation - mostly that of a collapsed lung - and those of post-op - mainly infection - and he showed me a portacath and explained how it was implanted. I'm having the op on Tuesday, this coming Tuesday! It's another of these ops that's done under local anaesthetic, although Dr G did say that he'd give me a little sedation. He also said that if anything did happen to go wrong (only occurs in about 1% of cases apparently) then he'd be there and he'd deal with it. I have confidence in Dr G. I've met him on several occasions and know that he's highly competent. He can sometimes come across as a big bear of a man, although he does seem to have shrunk in size a little in recent times, but his personality is as big as ever.
When Dr H agreed to the possibility of a portacath he said that there was one proviso: that the portacath not be used in A&E, but when I was in A&E a couple of months ago and they asked me if I had the port yet I told them no and that I'd been told A&E wouldn't be able to use it. They'd said they would in a life-threatening situation. Hmmm. I said all this to Dr G and he responded by saying that yes, in a life-threatening situation then A&E could use it and (aside from the risk of infection) one of the main reasons they wouldn't be able to was because they wouldn't have the right needle, but he'd give me some of these just for a life-threatening attack in A&E. Okay, thanks, but what about those attacks where I'm in A&E but it's not quite life-threatening? 'Well,' he said, 'What you do in that situation is you say, "GET THE F*** OFF!" and then they can't touch it.' Errr, right. I can't quite see myself either using quite that language in A&E, nor having the breath to scream obscenities at them, but I'll do my best to come up with something as effective. Then it struck me. Here I was sitting in this little room with a doc who'd just screamed 'GET THE F*** OFF!' and soon I was going to have to walk out of there, into the waiting room with quite a number of people in it who will likely have heard the exclamation! So a short while later, when the consult was over, I decided there was nothing for it - I was just going to have to walk tall, look confident, and smile. I did. I got several wary looks that followed me to the reception desk and then up the corridor as I left.
So here I am now, three days away from becoming a little bit more bionic. At the moment I'm not that nervous, although I'm sure I will be at least a little nervous come Tuesday. I'm just really, really hoping that my lungs are up to it. Dr G is both a respiratory consultant and an ITU doc so I'm in very safe hands, but there'll also be no hiding lung naffness from him.
Whilst my personal ventilation isn't going too well, my flat's ventilation is doing marvellously, thanks to the folk at EnviroVent. You will no doubt remember that after my appearance on the local news supporting Asthma UK's Fighting For Breath Report, EnviroVent contacted me via BBC to offer me free installation of some of their equipment as they thought it might help me. This resulted in a second TV appearance, but more importantly it's resulted in much purer air in my home. It'll take a while, I should think, to get the full benefit as dust mites and any mould spores don't disappear overnight, but the air is certainly much improved. The time that I first noticed a real difference was a few days before I went up to Edinburgh. It was extremely muggy and humid outside and when I went out to the shops I could barely breathe. Back at home there was none of that humidity and suddenly breathing was so much easier again. I spent the rest of the day inside, and have done so on several other similarly humid days since. I know it's not a magic cure, but it's already helped in at least one situation and that is so unexpectedly fantastic. Unexpected because I didn't expect anything ever again to be offered to me that might, just might help my asthma in any way. Here's to EnivroVent!