Monday morning came and the Novartis nurse rang to see if she could visit me earlier than arranged. The weather was horrendous – lashing with wind & rain – and she had to travel back to Mayo that day.
Back in the day, I was a Visiting Officer in the UK dealing with benefits. This was actually one of my favourite jobs and for all the times I chose not to sit down in a dirty house or drove with all my windows open in the middle of winter to get rid of some unidentified smell, they were great days and my colleagues subsequently became my best friends.
One of my funniest visits was a double visit with a colleague. We didn’t generally double up but some visits would have a red flag and we doubled up for safety. This visit was actually an older gentleman and we only needed verification that he was living in the property so it would be quick. From the moment we walked up the stairs to his flat, we could smell the familiar aroma of something not-quite-legal drifting out. He had clearly forgotten we were due to visit and he & his friend were planning on a ‘relaxing’ afternoon. These gents were easily in their mid 70s and the sight of us descended them into schoolboy giggles. You really couldn’t do anything but laugh along with them. My colleague asked the questions we needed – frankly we could have asked them anything and they would have told us – and we went to leave. They even asked us if we would like to join them for the afternoon! Tempting, but we declined. By the time we got back to the office we both had cracking headaches and the munchies – all in a days work.
Anyway, I digress. I only tell you this because I know how important it is for an ‘official’ to have somewhere nice to go to the toilet when you’re out all day. So, of course, I was happy for the Novartis Nurse – NN from now on – to come & see me early.
She was lovely and very approachable. We discussed the side effects I had suffered so far and she advised me to drink a lot more water and to have a small supper before going to bed to ease the nausea. I’m always up for a small supper. NN did give me some comfort in telling me that the three month mark is a turning point for most patients. The side effects lessen and people tend to feel much better.
She took my blood pressure and, sure enough, it was sky high again. She insisted that I see the GP that afternoon. For you nursey types, it was 150/110 – even I know that’s not great. She headed back to Mayo with a promise of keeping in regular contact. She was also very impressed with my diary for noting down my progress:
The trip to the GP proved useful as my blood pressure had dropped slightly but he changed my Lecalpin dosage slightly and on we go to see what effect that will have.
My next big challenge was a trip across to Wexford for a family wedding. How would I schedule my meds and just how swollen can my leg get in a six hour journey…