I’m glad I’ve got the sniffles!

November 2, 2011 at 9:55 am | Posted in arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, Me | 1 Comment
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I have the post flu-jab sniffles, so presumably that means my immune system is going to respond and do its job in creating anti flu antibodies, which will be very handy if we have a flu epidemic this year … provided of course that it’s the ‘right’ flu. I had a slightly sore throat yesterday afternoon, post flu jab, and distinct sniffles this morning, but at least the big red lump on my arm is now a big red pinprick with a small red rash around it, and much less painful.

All more than worth it though if it keeps flu at bay! If the Flu Jab had a Facebook page I’d sign up to be its fan. (Oh lordy, perhaps it does … )

The flu jab comes of age!

November 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Posted in Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 4 Comments
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I’ve been noticing a few improvements around the whole flu jab situation this year. In the previous few years I have a) struggled to book in for one because the surgery receptionists didn’t know about immunosuppression b) been disgusted at the ‘cattle market’ approach to the flu clinic, which I thought was restricted to our rural Norfolk surgery, but then found, via Helen at Pens and Needles extended to Canada too!

Here’s the way it used to work: You fight to get into the clinic in the first place, get your slot (which if I remember rightly was ‘morning’ or ‘afternoon’) and then turn up to join the queue extending all around the waiting room and out the door. You are told to be ready and waiting with your arm exposed ready for jabbing, even though the surgery is freezing because the door is permanently open due to people standing in the entry waiting for flu jabs. The receptionists ask why you were there if you looked under 70, and are puzzled when you tell them … but let you through anyway.  You have now been singled out in front of hundreds of somewhat elderly people who are now all staring at you and wondering if you’re trying to con the system, so you feel great! You get to the far side of the waiting room eventually and are asked to ‘fill in this form’. The form has nothing to do with the flu jab but asks if you smoke and would like anti-smoking advice. (Apparently doing this meant they could tick a box somewhere and claim extra funding for ‘offering anti-smoking advice!) You get through to a corridor where all the doors of the rooms are open and wander about until someone says ‘in here’. You go in, and with the door still open and other bewildered patients pottering about in the corridor behind you, you’re asked, ‘Why are you having the flu jab?’ You tell them … again. They say, ‘OK’ and jab you, and then follow that up with something like, ‘Oh – hope you aren’t allergic to egg or pregnant – should have asked you first.’ Fortunately I was neither!

Here’s how it is now: You phone up and say you need a flu injection. The receptionist says fine, she’ll book you in. She goes to your record, sees you’re not elderly and says, ‘Why?’ You say, ‘Immunosuppressed.’ She says, ‘That’s fine,’ and books you in. To your astonishment you’re given an actual time, 3:10, not ‘afternoon’. Then later on in the week you find out that some of your friends have already had their jabs at the surgery and they’re doing it like a proper clinic – called up individually, closed doors, proper checking that it’s OK to give you one etc. Wow – you’re impressed!

You go for your regular methotrexate blood test and notice a big poster in the surgery window about, of all things, getting the flu jab if you are immunosuppressed! After a general rheumatology chat, taking bloods and general chitchat the nurse says, ‘Have you had your flu jab yet?’ ‘No,’ you say, ‘ but it’s booked in for next week.’ ‘Would you like it today?’ she says. After picking yourself up off the floor, rubbing your ears and asking her if she could please repeat herself because you thought she’d just offered you the flu jab today, and finding that in fact that is what she said, you say, ‘Yes please.’ After she’s sucked the appropriate amount of blood she goes and gets the flu injection. ‘I don’t know if I can roll this shirt up far enough’ you say. ‘ I wasn’t prepared for this.’ ‘That’s OK,’ says the nurse with a grin, ‘We can do it through the shirt. On second thoughts better not, the needles are so flimsy we’re having trouble just getting them through the skin!’

Aha – you think – I’m back in the land of normality now! Damn, I was enjoying this strange fantasy world where the surgery actually seems to be doing flu jabs in a sensible and logical manner.

But then you find you can roll up your shirt and in fact the needle goes in fine, if somewhat painfully!

‘Right,’ you say, ‘I suppose I’d better go and cancel my appointment for next week at the front desk.’ The nurse smiles and says breezily, ‘Oh no need – with this new database system we’ve got I can do it really easily from here,’ and she does!

Now you might think surely that wasn’t actually that much to ask – you might say, as ‘brother Penguin’ did some time ago, that your surgery has been doing this for years, but when you’ve become conditioned to being in the cattle market scenario for so many years, this just seems incredible, fantastic, too good to be true …but it’s not. It really happened.

Wooohoooooo!

Incredibly the nurse told me that some patients had actually complained ‘We wanted to come to the big flu clinic like last year!’ There’s no pleasing some people!

In danger of turning into a giant slug

November 4, 2009 at 10:35 am | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 2 Comments
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Them as know me might say it’s too late to start worrying about that now, but I’m getting even less exercise than usual at the moment because I feel OK until I start coughing, and I don’t tend to start coughing (much anyway) until I move. A few times lately I’ve been OK at work and then gone for a walk at lunchtime, coughed and spluttered my way around town (I could be blamed for being the disease vector for all the colds in this part of Norfolk at this rate), and felt absolutely lousy by the time I got back, all of ten minutes or so later. Exercise is supposed to make you feel GOOD! I’m getting really fed up with this!

It’s not helped by the fact that poor hubby has still got a cough too, much worse than mine, and we tend to set each other off – great fun in the middle of the night!

Seasonal flu jabs … or seasonal or unseasonal flu?

October 21, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 4 Comments
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Today Mum and I had our seasonal flu jabs. Because hubby isn’t entitled to one on the NHS he got one privately last Friday. ‘You might get some mild flu-like symptoms two to three days after the jab,’ he was told.

Last night (for anyone having trouble counting, that would be four days after the jab ) he started to cough and a slight sore throat. He went to work today, came back ‘freezing cold’ and shivering, had a bath and went to bed. I just took his temperature – 102.

Now the question is does that constitute mild flu-like symptoms, or are we talking flu, or swine flu or what? I don’t know, but what I do know is that if Mum and I come down with similar ‘mild flu-like symptoms’ on Saturday she’s not going to be best pleased … it’s her birthday!

Another bad swine flu joke?

July 25, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | Leave a comment
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One benefit of suffering from RA is that you don’t really notice the aches and pains when you go down with swine flu!

This time ‘the yolk’s on me’ though, because I’m just getting over a bout of (presumed) swine flu as I type. I’m one of the awful people that had the flu and went to the surgery … but then again I think that’s where I picked it up in the first place!

When I went for my blood test last week the nurse said, ‘Hey, aren’t you impressed? I’m running on time!’ I said no, actually, I’d just settled down with a rather good magazine and was enjoying the break! She said she’d been trying to do me a favour because, as a ‘valued customer’ she didn’t want me sitting out in the waiting room too long or I’d catch swine flu! We both had a chuckle, but looks like she wasn’t kidding as by Wednesday I felt really ropey with a dicky tummy, and suddenly on Thursday afternoon I felt violently sick and had to come home. To cut a long story short, I phoned the surgery Friday morning and said I’d had a dodgy tummy for about a week and thought it might be my medication. Saw the doc (after fighting my way through the receptionists’ blockade), and she said ‘Lots of people with swine flu only have symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting, as well as the fever; might be that.’

‘Oh no,’ says I, confidently, ‘I haven’t got a fever … interesting though, I thought you had to have flu symptoms.’

‘I’ll take your temperature anyway,’ says she, and sure enough I DID have a fever, though only a little one.

I went home, felt gradually worse, went to bed, felt MUCH worse, and ended up, after a period of violent shivers that felt more like convulsions, with a temperature of well over 101.

Still feeling like death warmed up today but temperature almost back to normal – good job I’m a fast typist or I wouldn’t have made it through this post! I’m off to bed now.

Funnily enough I’d booked Friday off as holiday so had tied up all the loose ends at work … however, think I’ll have to have Monday off too. Hubby nearly fainted when he said that and I agreed! That told him how ill I was feeling!

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