Well, last month it was anti-nit shampoo (in the event not needed) in my eyes. And now: choking on medicine. There I was at 11pm last Saturday evening, going through my preparing for bed routines, including taking a homeopathic medicine (Abies pectinata) intended to help the bone-healing process. I’m supposed to squirt a pipette filled with 80 drops into my mout, but instead of swallowing them I somehow managed to breathe in.
Instantly I felt my throat swell up and was overcome by a sense of panic, as I struggled to breathe. Half an hour later I began to wonder whether I should call the emergency services, and in perparation got dressed again. I tried lying down, but the panic was worse. So I then spent several hours sitting on the sofa, with my finger hovering over the phone. Was it an emergency or not? It must be decades since I have called for help, but I do so remember this anxiety as to how one rates the crisis. I really had no idea whether my difficulties in breathing were life-threatening or not. A very lonely and distressing experience. Not least because I know how long it takesthe pompiers (firemen who double up as para-medics) to get one to A&E in Ganges.
I didn’t even know what number to ring! I consulted the internet and havered between 112 (the general European emergency number) or 18 (the pompiers). Actually, as I found out the next day, I probably should have chosen 15, where apparently medical staff assess your situation before sending out the pompiers, a doctor or whatever.
In the event, I decided by 4.30am that I was going to live and went to bed! But this second mishap in a month makes me suddenly question how many more medical mishaps I’m going to experience! At least I now have an am telephone call with Margaret to establish I’m alive and kicking (her idea as she thinks that this is a wise precaution for people living on their own).
I know I’m getting more forgetful: there seem to be more occasions when I cannot remember somebody’s name. And of course I regularly mislay my specs, keys and, last year, passport. I do panic on occasions and wonder if this is an early onset of Alheimers. But then I remind myself that I have always been scatty about keys and specs. And forgetfulness dates back to school days, when I regularly forgot to take work home and had to spend hours with my friend, Elsepeth, getting her to dictate Latin passages over the phone. (I could ask her, rather than my better organised friend, Christine, as Elspeth was as forgetful as me. Didn’t stop her becoming a law lecturer and then MEP later in life!)
In the order of things careless inhalation of medication and forgetting people’s names is not as bad as the experiences of some of my friends. At present I am deeply concerned by my friend, Sylvia, who is struggling with general ill health, including depression and non-malignant brain tumour. All one can do is be there for her; in my case by visiting her this weekend for a bit of retail therapy – choosing a new computer!