During my time working for the Civil Aviation Authority I had some fascinating experiences outside the job. I was the Ops Inspector for an airport in the south west of England where the Director of Operations there had a kind of back to front approach to what I needed him to do but I could see from his commitment that it would work and I was able to learn and apply many lessons from him. He had an interesting sideline in as much as he ran site safety for a major music festival that happens in that neck of the woods.
He is a cunning chap and he invites people who might add value to the service he gives the organisers so I was chuffed to be asked along “guesting” the first time but this involved into 4 full blown and long sessions where my particular specialist value was in forecasting weather but my techniques are outdated and out supplied now by the Met Office. It was terrific fun but on my third visit, the first really long one I succumbed to smoking to my shame. I have spent time and money trying to stop ever since but in April this year my revived pneumonia stopped me in my tracks and I dont even think about them now.
Wow! where did that come from? Well in mid March I had my first review meeting post treatment with my consultant. At this meeting I was told that I was now formally in remission and that the next review would be in mid June. I was thrilled to bits. But that weekend whilst attending Mass I felt that awful familiar twinge of a pleuritic pain at the rear of my left lung. Like I said before it is a pain you never forget. And it progressively got worse so I bypassed my GP and reported to A&E because I knew I would have to have a chest x-ray at the very least - I did and I was given antibiotics to stem to infection. But it was not going to be beaten that easily and over the next few days of the end of March I had several short admissions that included CT scans. On 4 April it became clear to me that I had full blown pneumonia and was in hospital yet again. It was treated and I hoped I had seen the last of it.
At the end of April I was called in to see a the respiratory specialist and he showed me some of my CT imagery. He told me he had been in consultation with my consultant and my doctor was driving for me to have additional tests because the scan appears to show lesions in my right lung, it was not possible to say what was going on in my left lung because it is half full of fluid which was now fibress and not possible to drain. So I was bookd for a needle biopsy at a well know hospital close by.
We had a holiday planned for mid May - we were driving to Bordeaux for a fortnight break, fortunately the test was scheduled to happen the day before we set ff and the time involved in getting the results meant that we could take the break before the game was up!
The biopsy was fascinating. It took place in and out of a CT scanner whilst the doctor maneuvered his prongs a bit at at a time by checking each advance on the screen. The procedure was not uncomfortable but the scanner table is very narrow and you have to stay absolutely and it takes at least 30 minutes so whilst my arms were flapping about I suggested (because I had seen them) that they tie-wrap me to the table with the velcro bands they had to hand - a novel and not previously tried solution to the problem!
Off we went to France and the drive was uneventful and of course pleasant. French roads mostly are. We broke the journey in Poitiers which is a very pretty town with a strong connection to England being part of the Plantagenet reign of English Kings.
Maureen suggested that we get some bicycles but I was short of breath and it is moderately hilly where we go to - I pointed out that this was a sure way to kill me!!! We took a walk we normally do but I could only manage the first 1.5 K before needing to turning back. It was becoming clear to me that I was becoming increasingly desperate for air and so we bit the bullet and started to make arrangements to come home a week early. Have you ever tried to book Eurotunnel in an emergency at short notice? I have. I am a return customer if not a regular traveller but it costs a bloody fortune and if you miss the slot you have just investigated to look at another offer, the price just goes up! I planned to break the journey at Le Mans so that I could pay homage to the circuit (motor racing geek). I am fine driving and when we arrived I parked up but it soon became clear that my breathing was now a serious problem. We tried to walk to the Cathedral square but it was no good, I could only manage about 300 metres before having to go back.
The final part of the journey to Calais was uneventful although it was interesting to see the large numbers migrants camping on the approach roads which you don’t normally see going to the tunnel. I just wish that people could realise that to get to England will only lead to life just as miserable for most of them as they life they are trying to escape. We got to the port and I had a text from a PT scan supplier. Blimey that was quick! Something must be up!
The A 2 is the nightmare road from Dover. Try to find a place to stop? Not possible you just get pushed along with the flow. So I was not able to start the process there but when we got home I was able to touch base with them and make the arrangements which had been put in train for the time we should have been in France! Lucky break eh? It was to take place the following Tuesday.
We are getting close to being up to date her so I shall close for now.