Tag Archives: Medical

Physio update – visit 3,457

Monday’s seems to be turning into my Pilates and physio day.

Yet again today I had a lunchtime of stretching and core work in the gym. After only a few sessions it seems to be getting a bit easier which is great, but that doesn’t really help my legs, my ankle or my foot! Not in the way that I need it at the moment anyway.

So, off to the physio it was this evening for another checkup from which I emerged with mixed feelings.

Vasyli Orthotics

I have resisted orthotics for biomechanical issues all the time I have been running with problems I have had over the years, and especially since trying to move more to minimalist footwear to strengthen my feet and improve my running posture and technique over the last 10 months. So it was with a bit of disappointment that I learned from Stuart that my biomechanics are now such that it is likely that is what is causing the problem with the pain in my ankle. It is possible that it is a ligament or tendon (or muscle) related issue (he was hedging his bets given the non-specificity of the ache I have had) down the inside of my left ankle underneath the foot which is caused by over-pronation, which in turn may be caused by my foot turning out slightly, which in turn may be a result of the operation.

The upshot is that I now have some temporary orthotics to support the inside of the foot, which he seemed to indicate are likely to be a permanent requirement.

I hate the idea of that.

I will try them out over the next few weeks and if they allow me to carry on with training by relieving the pressure on my tibialis muscles, I will keep them in my shoes, but I’ll not be keeping them in forever. The evidence to support my need comes in the form of a similar ‘top of the foot’ problem I have had before, so there is a chance it is not related to the op and although this change may have exacerbated the problem, I will do my damnedest to ensure I can run in the near future without any artificial aids!

Wish me luck for tomorrow.

Rest Day 2

The good news is that my foot is getting better a lot faster than I had dared to hope and I may even be able to get down to the gym tomorrow for a light touch of cross training, although running is unlikely to be a sensible idea.

The limping has already ceased, I haven’t had to ice my foot today and my walking is almost up to normal speed as well, so I’m certainly happy with progress, less than 48 hours after my last run.

Other than that, nothing much has happened today.

For me.

Shambolic George

It has been another interesting day for the chancellor, George Osborne though, as he makes another embarrassing U-turn on his tax implementations promised in the budget back in March. Having backed down (a little) on the pasty tax, which was clearly unmanageable, but now changed it for something equally as confusing and complicated, he is now reversing his decision on the charities tax (cap) plan which seems to be equally as pleasing to both the charities and to the Labour opposition leader, Ed Balls, who is frankly having a field day at the moment without even trying. Young George seems to have picked his timing perfectly, however, as the Leveson enquiry was going through some more meaty enquiries today with the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who was involved in apparently inappropriate behaviour around News International’s BskyB takeover bid.

My life is so simple 😉

Rest Day….for some!

We arrived home mid evening yesterday and really didn’t do much else before crashing out, but when we arrived, the children were all still up and wildly happy to welcome their mother home.

Today was more of a normal day, with the school run to do and so on. Liz was under strict instructions to rest which she complied with for most of the day, although clearly had done too much (?) by 2:30 as she had to sleep for the rest of the afternoon.

Liz has been restricted from doing any heavy lifting, walking up too many stairs or hills – so the school run is out for a couple of days!

The main concern is still the slit that was made in her groin, in order to insert the sheath for the catheter. While there is little chance that it is going to bleed now, there’s a chance of a haematoma or bleeding beneath the surface which would be a worry.

Fluffy Friday May 2012

Colleen and I walked the children to school first thing, but after dropping them off for their ‘fluffy Friday’, where they wear civvies to school and have a day where they have prearranged ‘fun’ activities, we then stopped off for a couple of croissants for breakfast, which we took back to Liz at home.

After that I had some time to spare, so decided to get a quick run in.

It was hot outside and I was prepared for an easy run. The last time I’d run in the heat was mid-April when in America (see here!) but today turned out to be better.

I ran easily around the level ground of Bramley, Wonersh and Shalford, but surprised myself with a turn of pace with which I was happy. It was definitely hotter than recently though (I wore a sleeveless vest for the first time in probably 30 months) and even with the wind, I was still a trifle warm.

Run done and lunch over, Liz had to rest for a bit, so Col and myself walked back up to school to pick up the little one’s from their fluffy day. Luke had been to ‘Spain’ doing all sorts, and Savannah proudly handed me a pot with her planted rocket (presumably salad leaf) in it. Joshua had been outside all day playing cricket and other sports, which he had enjoyed, but was clearly tired and hot as well, so an ice cream on the way home was in order.

A quiet day otherwise, with Morgan dropped of for his party and sleepover with a friend.

Liz has been tired, but is fine otherwise, so the recovery continues and everyone has been very kind with their thoughts and concern for her well being. They have also been amazed the procedure was so fast and she was already back home.

Operation Date

Another quiet and pretty normal day.

Liz made oat waffles for us this morning as we are trying to get back into a term-time routine for a few weeks, at least until her operation, which we have now had confirmed dates for, so at least that is positive; 18 May for pre-op checks and 24 May for the actual operation.  Colleen has said she will come down to help, but there is still a lot of unknowns around this whole thing, although it appear she is unlikely to be in hospital (St George’s, London) for more than a day – she was actually informed that if she is first in the ‘morning batch’ she may well be allowed home the same day, which is absolutely incredible.

Operation Date

So many people have offered to help already, and I have no doubt they will continue to offer, so I’ll be baking lots more goodies in thanks for all the assistance to come. Some of the most recent batch of ‘treats’ went out today, and they have been ‘well’ received 🙂

The Boys have Judo on a Tuesday, so it is always busy for Liz, but she had asked Cecilia to take the children to school in the morning, so she rested for a bit after midday.

I on the other hand only had interviews, pre-project and team meetings to contend with, and even managed to fit in some cross training (cycling) and physio exercises at lunchtime.

Nevertheless, my life is still physically easier than looking after 4 children, irrespecive of how many calories I rack up during a day!

Adding Meaning to the Words

I was back to work again today, but at least the trains were playing ball this morning.

Savannah’s friend’s Mum, Kate, very kindly picked them up and took them to school, so Liz was able to rest after the initial mayhem of the morning! She also brought them home in the afternoon.

Work was busy today, as Wednesday’s tend to be, but doubly so at the moment with everything that is going on both at work and at home.

We haven’t heard anything else from the hospital or doctors, surgeons or consultants today, but I have spent most of the day explaining to work colleagues what they have deduced from all the tests they have been carrying out on Liz. Most of them have been astonished at the findings. All of them have been supportive beyond words. Something that has been true of all our friends.

Otherwise it was actually a fairly normal day, believe it or not.

Liz also found this on the web, which explains everything that has happened, and is going to happen, very well.


Home at Last

Sorry about no post yesterday, but things were a bit hectic trying to hold down two jobs, four children and a worldwide communications network 😉 and something had to give!

The results of the cardiogram came back early yesterday and it turns out my wife does have a very small hole in the heart (PFO – see previous post) but the doctors were not of the opinion that this would have been large enough to allow a clot through to the brain (passing, in layman’s terms from the veins coming into the heart to the arteries going out of the heart, bypassing the journey through the lungs). They are still considering what, if anything, to do about it though.

In addition, she has been having a lot of other tests, over the last couple of days to further investigate the cause of the stroke, most of which were based around blood letting of one form or another. These tests have been to clarify a number of things, including her cholesterol levels and the clotting efficiency of her platelets (for which I am sure there is a far more scientific name).

Back Home Again

Still, having been prodded, poked and pricked until her arms look like those of a lifetime class-A drug abuser (the platelet test in particular has to be done without the ‘pressure’ of a tourniquet :-() she had pretty much had enough and had asked early this morning if she could be discharged, to which the hospital agreed, provided they completed their preliminary tests.

So after fetching the children from their various activities, doing a final shop of all the things I forgot last time I did a shop (make a mental note to improve memory retention) we were off to the hospital, hopefully for the last time for a while, where the children excitedly ran to meet their mother, who they had not seen all week. We had to wait a little while longer for the final batch of prescribed ‘drugs’ to arrive from the pharmacy, but they duly did and then we were off.

Although Liz was only 8 days in the hospital, to me it seems a lot longer as my perception of time is a bit like a red Ferrari passing a field of crimson tulips – you know something significant has happened, but it’s all a bit of a blur against the background.

She is home now though and although fatigued (understandable after the knock her body has taken) her physical recovery is progressing extremely well considering the short space of time since the event occurred.  She has tablets to thin her blood and reduce its ‘clotting’ capacity in the short term, and others to lower cholesterol (hers was not high, but for this type of event the doctor’s prefer to take it significantly below the national recommended ‘normal’ low-point). All of these are tactically preventative measures as the risk of a recurrence is predictably higher immediately following a stoke than it is in the subsequent months.

So for now she will be resting, and next week we will no doubt be calling on many of the generous offers of assistance with the children, to try to get our lives back to some semblance of normality.

No leeches were harmed during the writing of this post.

Update from the Ward

Liz has been seen by the stroke consultant, Dr Pasco, today and she was going to speak to the neuro radiologist, who is the specialist.

Brain Diagram

She is dubious about the fact that the cause of the stroke could be based around any issue with the heart, because of Liz’s fitness and, in her words, if she had had a congenital problem with her heart, she would not have been able to push out four babies! No, Dr Pasco still believes that a dissection, split or rupture of an artery at the back of the head is most likely the cause of the clot that triggered the stroke.  She feels that this may have been caused by a trauma up to a month before the first time she experienced these symptoms, which was a couple of weeks ago. Neither of us can remember anything that may relate to this though.

Basically she wants to rule this course of thinking out before proceeding with a heart scan.

She has had more visitors today, as well as the discussions with the consultant which has been good, but this has tired her out.

I will be going in tomorrow  lunchtime when the consultant will be around to explain her thoughts to Liz, Tim and myself, so hopefully we’ll have more information then.

I managed another quick run at lunchtime but Liz I think has resigned herself to the fact that she won’t be able to do the training in time to make the London Marathon towards the end of April, which is a shame as I know she’d been looking forward to that for some time.

I suspect that isn’t the only thing that will change over the next few weeks.

Hospital Allergies

What a rollercoaster of a day.

MRA Image

The results of Liz’s MRI did not come through last night but this morning she was told that she had indeed had a stroke. Incredulous as it seems for someone of her age, the scan showed up signs of events which were consistent with the plethora of symptoms which she had been experiencing during the early part of the week and continues to experience now, but to a lesser extent. The theory, at this point, was cloudy though, so they asked to do an MRA scan (Magnetic Resonance Angiogram), which is an MRI but with a dye injected into the body to show up further detail in the suspect area, specifically blood vessels, the arteries and veins.

Liz was ironically feeling better that the symptoms that she had been feeling had at least been vindicated by the earlier scan, but now it was a waiting game again for a second scan and subsequent results, but by 11:00 am she had had the MRA.

The news came later that they thought she may have had a ‘tear’ in one of the arteries of her brain stem recently and the ‘scar’ from this tear had broken away and caused what they described as a ‘shower’ of explosions in her brain damaging the blood vessels, but causing the myriad of effects. At first she was under the impression that this was a permanent thing, and I had to confirm several times with her what she meant in this respect. In the end though it turns out that although this is uncommon, the chances of it being a permanent thing are minimal. Nevertheless the implications were sobering.

Protea Cape Flora

Further analysis later seemed to rule out the ‘scar’ theory, which we were glad of as this had sounded pretty extreme, but that still left us with no conclusive cause behind the events.

Of course because they were still assessing her they now wanted her to stay in for the rest of the weekend, and are now talking about arranging a bubble echocardiogram of the heart – a contrast enhanced ultrasound technique which involves the intravenous injection of gas microbubbles, which I always thought was a BAD idea (think the bends, etc) but we’ll have to trust them on that one. She is likely to be in until Tuesday/Wednesday at least.

As for me? Well, after a very distracted partial day’s work, I arrived at the hospital with the children, and Liz was over the moon to see us all as she had not seen them for a couple of days. Tim, her brother was also there. We took her some flowers, but ironically were informed that flowers were no longer allowed in hospitals as some people are allergic to them. Whatever next?

So, anyway, here they are, back home, but in full allergy free last forever technicolour.

Scan Update

The more astute among you will have noticed that my countdown to my next race has disappeared slightly before time.

CT Scanner

Unfortunately, as Liz has not been well over the last few days we have decided it would not be prudent to travel down to Devon to the race. Realistically though, since my training has been interrupted over the last few weeks, I suspect it would be more sensible not to attempt such a gruelling trail race without having tried similar distances in training; I always did run with my heart and not my head, but then on the other hand, look where that has got me recently 🙂

So, with sensibility in tow, we will be having another quiet weekend at home, reflecting on the fact that I have always considered with ultrarunning that making it to the start line intact is 90% of the battle – which isn’t by any means to suggest that the remaining 10%, reaching the finish line, intact, is easy!

The results of Liz’s CT scan (X-ray computed tomography) came back just before I joined her mid-morning, without showing anything untoward, but the neurologist who saw her this morning still wanted an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to be sure and although she had the session quite early on, in fact just after lunch giving us reason to be optimistic that she would be out soon, the radiologist had not seen her scan by late evening so, disappointingly, she is spending another night in the hospital.


Silent Migraine

It seems my wife has a ‘Silent Migraine’.

The Silent, or Acephalgic Migraine, has all the symptoms of a real corker of a normal migraine, but ironically without the headache part, which is what most people associate first and foremost with a migraine, hence, presumably, also the reason why half of the Surrey medical profession has missed the diagnosis until Liz herself looked it up to correlate it with all the classical symptoms.

Silent Migraine

The symptoms include the experience of aura, nausea, photophopia and hemiparesis.

  • Aura is a perceptual disturbance often signified by bright lights and blobs, zigzag lines across the field of vision, perceived distortions in the size or shape of objects or a vibrating visual field.
  • Nausea is the rather more commonly known sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach.
  • Photophobia is a symptom of abnormal intolerance to visual perception of light, which is to say the experience of discomfort or pain to the eyes due to light exposure.
  • Hemiparesis is a weakness on one side of the body.

She was seen again by a duty doctor this afternoon and he confirmed all her suspicions and diagnosis, which, more than anything else, has helped reduce her anxiety over the unknown of the last few days. The only concern now is what brought the symptoms on in the first place and, of course, how long they will last this time.

She is on the mend though and hopefully things will be back to normal shortly.