So, after the migraine early last week, and the ongoing pain in my jaw, I ended up phoning 111 – When the dental pain is getting bad enough that you can’t close your mouth, and you can remember that the last time this happened it ended up with an infected abscess that stopped you eating for months, and resulted in the (incredibly expensive) loss of a tooth, you get nervy about dental pain.

The call handler was really helpful and sympathetic – I think this kind of “uncomplicated problem” is what 111 handles best. It’s a shame it’s advertised as being something much broader than it is (and we can get onto the rant of how it’s allowed to use NHS logos despite being a private firm later.)

Not much has happened, other than that I was sent to the emergency dentist at LxH on Monday (sixty quid I really can’t afford to spare, including the taxis there and back because no way was I riding in snow with reduced vision in one eye and my ears ringing with pain), where I was given penicillin (Four times a day, no eating for two hours before or one hour after a dose) which is making my guts feel like a nightmare, and have an appointment with my own dentist booked on Friday at 2.20.

At least the jaw pain is decreasing. Slowly. Current verdict is that it’s an acute presentation of a chronic abscess. Probably meaning that the tooth will have to go, or at least that the bone will need to be drilled. Fuck.

Year of the sheep.

After my last GP appointment, my hip got steadily worse.

On the 29th, I rang NHS Direct at about 21.00, to see about getting a clinician to look at it. Long story short, by 4am on the 30th I’d given up, and went to bed with a blue foot and a leg I couldn’t use.

The next morning, I phoned my GP, who “Would get back to me urgently”, and by about 13.00 I was on the phone to Dr Hpm, who sent me immediately for x-ray at any local hospital.

So, by 14.00 I was in a friend’s car, on the way to not one of the three usual hospitals (CA, StJ, LGI) but to the neighbouring Trust, basically because the scenery over the hills in the snow is rather nice and it wouldn’t be full of drunks and busyness. And, you know what, it was really nice. The receptionist booked me in and did all the digging for me to find out where I was supposed to be (A fax from my GP had been delayed, so I’d arrived without any paperwork), a nurse got me a trolley to rest on, since the chairs were killing my back and hips, and the radiographer (From the home country!) was really quick and professional and friendly. I was in and back out in less than an hour – Didn’t get to look at my own x-ray, which I usually like doing, but will have the results within the week.


And then this morning, I rang UCLH to see about my Stanmore referral, who told me to ring Stanmore – And they’d lost it. So, on the 2nd, when I go to my GP again, as well as asking for my medication to be reviewed and getting the results of my x-ray, I’m also going to have to push for the referral letter to Stanmore.


Oh well, happy new year, and hopefully the next one will be better.

Kwik SaveR

This post was nearly called “The Gasman Cometh”.

Twas on a Tuesday morning that I tried to make a call

Wanted to see a doctor, since my moods had took a fall

The receptionist wasn’t helpful, she just hurried me along

And I can’t get to the walk in, so I must call “One one one”.

Oh it all costs money so the Tories can complain…

Twas by the Tuesday dinner time, I reached NHS Direct

They’re not always good on mental, so I didn’t know what to expect

The dispatcher was pleasant, but he didn’t have a clue

So he passed to to a specialist, since she’d know what to do

Oh it all costs money so the Tories can complain…

Twas Tuesday after dinner when the specialist replied

“I have to ask the questions, love” she said “My hands are tied”

I answered pretty truthfully, I wasn’t at my worst

But she sent the paramedics, without even asking first!

Oh it all costs money so the Tories can complain…

Twas Tuesday afternoon the Paramedic reached my door

I apologised for all the fuss, but she’d seen it all before

She believed that I was safe, and that Direct had got it wrong

But a second ambulance arrived – we’d talked for too damn long.

Oh it all costs money so the Tories can complain…

Twas Tuesday afternoon again, a little before three

The paramedic volunteered to phone my bloody GP

It took her half an hour and she had to raise her voice

But they’ll call me back this evening, ’cause they didn’t have much choice

Oh it all costs money so the Tories can complain…

And now it’s Tuesday evening, and although I hate to moan

I’m right back where I started, bloody waiting by the phone.

Unshocked, but zapped

My right hand got increasingly worse, leading to another 111 call, and a trip to LX.


LX were fantastic – Appointment was booked for 19.00, I arrived at 18.45 and was seen at 18.46, no exaggeration needed.


By 19.00 I was back in the car with my best friend’s mum, with a prescription for more diazepam in my hand and insctuctions to get an electromyography booked.


So that’s an MRI for the hip needed, and an electromyography for the hand. I’ve also been told to get my rheumatology appointment moved forward. The doctor was incredibly sweet and kept calling me “young lady”, but he did try to unscrew my head and pull one of my shoulders out of socket. He was very nice about it though, so you’ll note that I didn’t really mind.


It’s now up to the GP to not drop the ball. Going to phone them tomorrow morning (Today was a bank holiday) and get an appointment to get both the MRI and the EMG sorted.


Amusingly, it’s almost two years to the day since my first EMG for hand pain in the medial nerve, which at the time was put down to spending too much time at my desk. I didn’t have a desk at the time, but back then I could be cowed by a fairly lowly OT. Nowadays, I eat registrars for breakfast and pick my teeth with the bones of consultants. It might go better this time.