Eh? Speak up! I Can’t Hear You!

Elisabeth de Meuron, commonly known as Madame ...

I'm picking up Radio 3 on this thing! More antibiotics, my good man! (Photo credit: Wikipedia. Madame de Meuron)

I blogged a wee while ago about being ill. Well, you might have guessed by my silence since that I’ve been ill for a while…

I thought I was recovering when I wrote that post, but then spent the entire weekend in bed, unable to get out for longer than a wobble to the loo. So I guess this is proper man-flu, then? By Monday it had gotten better enough that I was fit to look after 3 (still-not-100%) minxes so long as I didn’t walk too far or stray too far from tissues or coffee. But the sinusitis it had turned into on the Friday was worse. Lots worse. Ouchie. Green goopy ectoplasm. Ewwwwwww.

I got me and Mini Minx to the practice nurse to assess if our sore chests were chest infections. Nope. So that was a relief. She gave me the go-ahead to continue munching paracetamol, ibuprofen and sudafed like they’d not affect my liver one little bit. By Thursday, I was so congested that the hearing in my right ear went. Overnight. I woke up Thursday and couldn’t hear. I tried to see the GP on Thursday and Friday but couldn’t get an appointment at all, not even an emergency one.

Aside rant: note to Doctor’s Receptionists. I started ringing the surgery the minute before the phone lines opened. Each time I got an engaged tone, I hit redial. Again and again and again. My 3 minxes caused chaos unhindered until I finally got into the phone queue. So that was only a 20 minutes wait. I then waited another 6 or so minutes in the queue to be answered. To be told there were no appointments available until next week. Fair enough. But I was then scolded for not phoning at 8am. Er, hello? What do you think I’ve been doing for the last 26-27 minutes? Having a leisurely cup of tea before despatching my man-servant to the phone, with a flick of my idle fingers? Do I sound well to you? Or are you having a pointless go at me because you know I’m too poorly to rip your head off with a few choice words over the phone? Do you think I’m in thrall to you, thinking that if I’m nice to you that you’ll get me an appointment faster? Non. And don’t ever scold me like I’m a feckless teenager: I’m a 41 year old responsible adult who would actually rather stick pins in my eyes than sit in a doctor’s waiting room, hoovering all the local germs up my nose. I’m phoning you because I *have* to, not because I *want* to, you half-wit. Maybe if you were more efficient doing your job answering the phone and dealing with people, the queues to be dealt with wouldn’t be so long. And if you were less dour-faced and whingey on the phone, people might be more pleasant / less unpleasant back to you!

On Monday, I phoned the surgery again. Only a 13 minute wait to be answered, so that was a vast improvement. By now even the hearing in my left ear was dodgy. I could barely hear the receptionist: “What’s that? You’ve got an appointment today? I’m sorry, please will you speak up? It’s a very quiet line and my hearing is very poor. No, I can’t hear you: again, please? I’m so sorry about this, one more time? Was that 9.40 this morning? … Um, I still can’t hear… I’ll come round at 9.40 this morning then. Thank you very much!”

So whether the doctor was expecting me or not, I was sat there waiting from 9.30am. He called me through at 10am. On the one hand, he was an absolute star about Midi and Mini, giving them free-reign of his room and a handy boxful of (very noisy electronic) toys. But on the other, he insisted that I wait and see. I pointed out that I clearly had a bacterial infection (green streaming ectoplasm for nearly 3 weeks) and my hearing had been gone for 5 days. Bless him, he then took down a leaflet and started to quote numbers at me. Fatal flaw – I couldn’t have argued if he’d just said no, go away. But numbers… Bring it on!

“Guidelines are that 69% of the population gain no benefit if antibiotics are given within 8-10 days of the onset of sinusitis”, he read out.
“I’ve had sinusitis for 11 days.”
Dr: “But you said 5”
Me: “No, I’ve been deaf for 5 days; my right eye-socket’s been killing me for 11″
Dr: “But… 8-10 days….”
Me: “11 days is more than 8-10. I’m past those guidelines.”
Dr: “The leaflet…”
Me, interrupting: “…says I should be better now. I’m not. I’m in a lot of pain”
Dr, weakening: “My boss won’t be happy with me; antibiotics are very expensive”
Me, pouncing: “Tell him I forced you. And I’d be very, very grateful”

Well, it’s now Day 7 of being partly deaf. The green goo has mostly gone (hooray! I might be able to start knitting again!) Doing the school run is trying, because I have to be so aware of the girls 100% of the time, rather than just when I hear oncoming traffic. And I can’t hear cars racing up from just around the corner, so find it hard to judge when to cross. Luckily with my blue hair, red jacket and Maxi’s yellow neon bag, they see *me* in enough time to screech to a stop before knocking us over.

Looking on the bright side, though, only hearing half the volume of this noisy household is doing wonders for my stress levels – absolutely fantastic bonus!