Despite the NHS app telling me that Hereford & Worcester does not have an arrangement to refer hearing tests to private providers, I had a very rapid response from my GP, followed almost immediately by a phone call from … Specsavers. They’ve offered me an appointment on Monday 4th – so only ten days from when I first contacted the GP. Still nervous about hearing test, and am using ear drops to make sure that I’m not blocked by wax.
Other drops: I’ve had gummy eyes for several days, and a couple of days ago they got so bad that I went to the pharmacy for advice. Conjunctivitis was the pharmacist’s opinion, so I’ve been on eye drops every two hours for the last two days, decreasing to every four hours for the next three days. It was so bad earlier in the week that I couldn’t really see much, or read, or go on line … all of which triggered the most almighty migraine (unusual for me) on Tuesday, which left me very weak all day yesterday (Wednesday).
It’s all a rather unpleasant reminder of how much I rely on these two senses, and the approach of old age – sometimes it feels not so much a “creeping” approach as a galloping one.
I blame it on a mis-spent youth – gigs every weekend during my student years (spent mainly side-of-stage, or in the lighting box), including one”Rock Goes to College” event that left me completely deaf for three days.
A recent ear-nose-and-throat investigation into why I have dizzy spells revealed that my hearing (which has been rather poor for twenty-odd years) has taken a turn for the worse. I have been referred to be assessed for hearing aids.
This wasn’t unexpected, but is still rather unwelcome news.
It’s been a rough few days. Mum went into hospital last Tuesday (7th), so I had a couple of trips over to see her in the John Radcliffe – which takes about seven hours due to poor train/bus connections. Then over to Green Mount to settle in Uzi, who will be Mum’s live-in carer when Mum comes out of hospital: I arrived Sunday night and left late Wednesday (and the train was very delayed).
There’s also been all sorts of crap with Worcester Green Party … leading to me resigning last Friday, and after assorted discussions and changes to relations with GPEW staff, withdrawing my resignation on Wednesday. Thursday was a catch-up on newsletter printing, which had been a bit in abeyance due to not being at home.
I’m still recovering slowly from the respiratory infection I had at the start of October, with little appetite and easily getting tired. And I’ve completed the last of the assorted questionnaires for my ASD assessment, which was pretty emotionally draining. And Mum is only partly in contact with reality, which is both distressing and making for difficult conversations on the phone, especially with her intermittent extreme deafness. I’ll go over tomorrow – to hospital, unless she’s discharged (which seems possible).
Yesterday was my autumn ‘flu and covid jabs. I’d had to put them off twice – once because of a clash with the fortnight’s waiting time after RSV panel, and once because of having to be at Green Mount. The NHS app offered me a timed appointment for both as Spring Gardens pharmacy, so I went with that.
I’d forgotten how very depressing that part of Worcester is! Slum-clearance replaced by equally bad block housing pretty much still on the overcrowded historic streetplan, a massive car park facing onto the perimeter of the area, and the whole thing flanked by the dual-carriageway City Walls Road (an urban improvement project that only succeeded in making it quicker to go from one traffic jam to the next).
However, the appointments were running on time, the nurse was very pleasant, and she wrote down the vaccine details for me so that I could pass them on to Synexus (RSV trial) as requested. Then a walk across the grim footbridge, and suddenly back in the “nice” part of town – Reindeer Court – and then to the bus station.
Sadly, I reacted rather badly to the shots. In bed and asleep before 2200h, then waking with alternating sweats and chills about every hour through to 5am, when I finally achieved restful sleep. I felt very dehydrated: a glass of milk and half a pack of grapes around 4.30 fended that off.
Having woken just after 9, I was up by quarter to ten. Alendronic acid day, so no coffee until 1025 … and I didn’t risk bending down to light the fire until then, either. But I’m feeling rather better now, though the ‘flu jab arm (left) is still rather painful.
The cold that I went down with a fortnight ago seems to have seamlessly moved to a post-viral fatigue thing this week. Extreme exhaustion, headaches, a slightly-raised temperature and episodes of chills despite having put the central heating up to 21.5C and being in thermal long-johns!
So, I’ve lit a small fire in the stove, and am sitting huddled over a mug of blackcurrant lemsip (with added honey).
I don’t normally expect to see flowers on the winter jasmine until around Hallowe’en, but (like so much else in the garden this year) it’s decided to ignore normal times.
I’m slowly recovering from the particularly nasty cold I’ve had for a week, with head and body aches, exhaustion, and sleeping several hours a day more than normal. These little splashes of sunshine yellow are a welcome and cheerful sight through the French window.
I had a call last Thursday, inviting me to an ENT clinic appointment today (Sunday). I’ve been waiting a year for this, so said “yes please”, even though getting to hospital on Sundays is a pain. There are no buses whatsoever! I didn’t feel like cycling, as was unsure if I’d be left feeling wobbly after the appointment, so cab it was. Including tips, £28 all told!
A ten-minute wait,a quick hearing test, and in to see the Professor. He confirmed that I have mild-to-moderate hearing loss (which I’ve had since I was in Scotland – fortunately, so far it seems to be pretty much on a plateau). A few quick questions about the dizziness, and he diagnosed BPPV (paroxysmal benign positional vertigo). He says there’s something called the”Epley manoeuvre”, which he’s not very good at, but it’s worth me learning to do myself as I seem to have recurrent episodes. Not to worry if I don’t get it quite right the first couple of tries, and I can do it every week if I need to. As I live on my own and have osteoporosis, he thinks it’s important to keep dizzy spells under control.
Feeling considerably relieved, I decompressed with a walk round Worcester Woods Country Park before ordering the cab to go home. Now investigating Epley Manoeuvre on Youtube!
This morning was my initial interview for ASD assessment. At 0930, so really before I’m at my best. It was with Dr Ravi Sankar, by Microsoft Teams which I loathe! Sure enough, at the first couple of attempts to connect (in Firefox), I could hear him, but he could not hear me. I finally downloaded the Teams app, which worked OK.
It was all pretty much as I’d expected. He was open and relaxed. I was pretty nervous, and fiddled a lot under the desk with the fidget snake, but tried hard not to reach for the e-cig too often. It does seem that I’m likely to be moderately ASD, and he feels that a full assessment is justified. My assorted idiosyncrasies don’t seem to be due to any other kind of neuro-developmental or other mental health issues.
He will write to me within the next few days outlining the state of play. I do think I want to push ahead with a full formal assessment, even though the cost of around £1,500 is pretty scary! I think they offer payment in three or four hits, though, which would help. I think I need to do this for myself – it would very much help to legitimise feeling that I’m not really able to do certain things that others expect of me, rather than feeling that I “ought” to do them, or that I’m some kind of wimp for being unable to do them. Feelings that I’ve to a large extent internalised from pervasive criticism from my father, during my childhood, I think.
I’m not sure at this stage about the prospect of adding “neurodiverse” to my social identity of “out gay man” – if diagnosis is confirmed, I’d have to think fairly carefully about it, and if/when/which family members I tell.