These people want to look at my brain!

If you’ve read any of this blog before you’ll know a few things:

  1. Updates are sporadic at best.
  2. Topics vary depending what’s on my mind, which can be scary.
  3. When I land on a topic, I hit it quite hard, then ignore it for a while.
  4. I’ll allude to other things that are going on in my life but give almost no detailed information.

It’s point 4 that’s most relevent to today’s post.  In the past I’ve made a few references to my health, and that it’s not been too good recently, so I’ll provide a little background.

In January 2010 I started suffering from severe headaches, I’d suffered from migraines when I was a teenager, so assumed it was related to that, but when it didn’t let up after 3 weeks, my GP became concerned and began to prescribe stronger medications, none of which have had any noticeable effect.

In the summer of 2010 I was refered to the headache clinic at Glasgow’s Southern General, after waiting several months I was seen by a consultant on a Sunday afternoon, and after a very brief examination and discussion of the list of drugs I’d already tried (propranolol, Amitriptyline and Diclofenac), he decided I was indeed suffering from migraines, and he gave me a note (no drugs) to pass to my GP with information on what medication to prescribe going forward.  The drug prescribed was called Topomax, and would start with 25mg per day, then 50mg, then up to 100mg per day.

After a couple of month it was pretty apparent the Topomax wasn’t working, I was taking it as prescribed, but was still relying on large doses of Co-codamol (30/500 2 pills up to 4 times per day) simply to function, and the only obvious side effect was a change in my sense of taste meaning I could no longer appreciate the taste of my national soft drink Barr’s Irn Bru, and as someone who rarely drinks alcohol, that’s a problem.

After converstaion with my GP I was off the Topomax and on to a more time-tested drug called Pizotifen, a more common treatment with a proven track record, but for me, no noticable effect.

In early 2011 my GP decided to try the Topomax again, starting with 25mg working up to 100mg (50mg twice a day).  again this has had no effect other than altering my sense of taste, which brings us almost up to date…

You may remember my post from July 31st where I mentioned losing my job, around this time my GP decided to refer me to the headache clinic again, it was clear prescription medication was having no effect, and my condition was having a serious effect on my ability to earn a living.  On August 22nd I received a letter from the hospital confirming the referral.  Having had no further communication by September 22nd, I called the hospital to ask if there was any update, a very nice lady told me I hadn’t been given an appointment yet, but that I would be seen no later than October 22nd.  Not quite the answer I was hoping for, but still pretty positive.

As september became October I still heard nothing so around the 7th October I called the hospital again, but this time I didn’t get any sort of polite answer, I got a very stern lecture, just what a neurology patient needs, on how the appointment system worked (none of which I remember), and told I’d just need to wait because neurology is a very busy department.  Taking my life in my hands I called again on the 14th (Fridays seem to be a good day if you’re in a Klingon mood), this time I spoke to a girl, I think her name was Claire, who was much more helpful, she told me that I still didn’t have an appointment, but one should be assigned soon, and I was welcome to call again if I didn’t receive anything through the post.

The following Friday, the 21st, I was more concerned.  No appointment, no communication of any kind, so I decided to call the hospital, but instead of being confrontational, I know from a decade in a call centre that doesn’t do any good, and the person answering the phone is just doing his or her job, I’ll just ask if there are any update on my appointment, and then let them know if it’s likely to go in to November,  there are a few day that I won’t be available because I’ll be away from home, and would like to avoid any clashes of dates or any possibility of their time being wasted. So I made the call…
as suspected, there was no appointment for me, despite the following day being the latest possible day.  When I asked about it possibly being sometime in November, and me giving them a note of dates I wasn’t available, the young lady was happy to take note of these, and seemed happy I’d actually thought ahead enough to give them warning, and took note of the dates I would not be available, these were between 5th & 9th of November.

Having been a little under the weather for a few days last week, and with the headaches being particularly bad this week I called the hospital again  on the 26th, not a friday but you’ve got to mix it up a little, and I wasn’t alone in this view, the hospital had assigned me an appointment, this was starting to look good, it was 12pm, midday on November 8th.


Needless to say, I pointed out that I’d been on the phone a few days earlier and specifically mentioned a few days in November when I wouldn’t be available, hoping to avoid this type of problem, and was told there were no notes to this effect on “the system”, and it would be passed to management to be reviewed.  I don’t know if this means I’ll get another appointment soon, or if it means I’ll be placed at the back of the queue.  I’ll call again tomorrow to see if there is any kind of further update, I really don’t want to come off as harassing the staff at the hospital, I know they do a difficult job, but I’m in a frustrating situation, and just want to get it sorted out.

OK, rant over… for now.


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