Monday, 4 June 2007

One of Those Days.....

Richard and I certainly had one of those days today!

To put it in context, Nic is spending this week away on a school trip with her class. Where she is concerned this means being fully prepared, lists drawn up and all arrangements gone over again, and again, and least 2 weeks in advance. She has been so excited - this is going to be the highlight of her year so far. LeeLee was due to be at college all day.

Alarm clock goes off as usual, children are woken up and start getting ready when I notice that the left side of my face does not appear to be working properly. Did not think I drank that much last night?! Slowly it dawns on me that I have a potentially serious problem. In the back of my mind is always the fact that my Dad has had 5 strokes so far (and is fighting back from all of them) whilst my Mum lived her whole life with major heart problems - both hereditary.

Our priority suddenly becomes getting both the girls on their way, none the wiser, before setting off for the hospital. This worked a treat with Nic, although suffered a set-back when LeeLee asked if she could skip some lessons since school is basically over now that all the marks have been counted and places for next year confirmed. As luck would have it, she meant that she wanted to actually go in to be with friends, just not go to all the lessons (eg English!).

On the dot of 9:00am we were therefore able to present ourselves at the Emergency Department of the Polyclinique Trois Vallees at Bedarieux, to be seen immediately by a doctor - only one person in the queue ahead of us as usual! Wired up to every conceivable monitor, within 20 minutes he pronounced that it was not my heart or a stroke, but probably a 'frozen facial nerve'. However, to be on the safe side, I was going to have an MRI scan on my brain and the ambulance was just outside to take me to the dedicated unit in Beziers. He also apologised that their own new scanner was not available yet for use!

We arrive at ScanDoc and within 30 minutes I am wheeled in to have my scan. Five minutes later, the Doctor on duty tells me that everything is totally normal (no clots, bleeds or tumours) and that I probably have a 'frozen facial nerve'. He then sends me on to the Emergency Department of the main Beziers hospital via ambulance. Once there I unexpectedly collapse and get the full works again - all fine, not a heart attack, etc. Then up to the ORL Unit (basically ear, nose and throat) where I am diagnosed as having - you've guessed it - a 'frozen facial nerve' brought on by a virus.

And so here we are, back home by 16:00 - plenty of time before LeeLee arrives on the school bus at 17:30.

Lessons to be learnt?

1. Don't panic - might not be as serious as you think.

2. Isn't the French health system wonderful.

3. Most people would be happy to pay towards the cost as we do here, in order to get such an excellent, prompt service.

4. The internet knows everything - if I had read this page, I would have known exactly what was wrong with me!

I am now the proud owner of an 'autorun CD' of my MRI scan - at a cost of 30.98 euros (85% of which will be refunded). Definitely something to bore the pants of our next dinner guests!

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