An Emotionally Charged Pulmonary Hypertension Outpatient Review

Today I went back to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, PVDU for review. It’s my first return after my procedure in March 2014 and I went to clinic with my Bell’s Palsy (could hardly leave it at home!) for the first time. I tried very hard to not feel sorry for myself but I couldn’t escape the, “why me?!” emotions evoked by the sympathetic looks and comments I got from staff, doctors and patients.

I feel very self conscious as to me it feels like I am scowling all the time and a smile does not transmit to the left side of my face so I feel like I’m being grumpy when I don’t mean to be. Again I know this is a self-limiting garden variety illness and I am not particularly vain but the palsy affects my eating, drinking, inhaler medications and my left eye constantly waters as I cannot close it fully. It’s a nuisance in a most extraordinary way and after 2 weeks of suffering it, I notice no flicker of improvement in my symptoms.

I’m convinced this illness is symbolic of something deeper going on in my psyche and/or is punishment for getting a lot of things very wrong in life. These self-judgements are part and parcel of my OCD but no easier to handle alongside my symptoms. I confess I am comfort eating to soothe myself at the moment which us not doing my slimming any good. Every morning I wake with good intentions, eat breakfast as a matter of rote now but despite the free foods I am eating I am indulging in cakes and chocolate. I need to draw a line and get back on track for which I need to go to Slimming World group and put aside the shame I feel for falling off the waggon.

On a positive note (better late than never), my Pulmonary Hypertension is well controlled on my current dual medication and I had one of the best results I have ever had in my shuttle walking test. Post-op results are remarkable as my abdominal pain and bowel symptoms are very much improved. I dodged the warfarin debate this visit but I’m sure I won’t avoid it for long. I am reluctant to start warfarin as the effect it will have on my lifestyle are significant for me. I’m not sure the risks outweigh the benefits.

I was made to feel very welcome by my husbands relatives who live in Sheffield and have supported us both during my admission to hospital and beyond. I am very open and honest about my illnesses and limitations and I feel very fortunate to be supported by such strong and positive individuals who don’t know me very well but always greet us both with open arms and hearts.

They have always encourage me to be involved in my husbands family and always offer us a bed for the night and more food than we can comfortably eat in one sitting. I feel no judgement and no rebuke when they advise and ask me to be more involved. Illness and depression has featured in the lives of these relatives so they don’t use my mental illness to make digs or insult me, they sympathise and relate, which is more than can be said for all my own professionally qualified “family”. Humanity is not something acquired in a cap and gown thankfully and there is an abundance of it in Sheffield when I visit.



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