Had a routine visit to the hospital yesterday for a check-up and some blood tests. Following my illness a couple of years ago, I now have to visit the doctor four times a year for a checkup and new prescription of “the pills which keep me alive”.

Although it is quite routine, I was slightly dreading it this time as every other visit he tries to get me to see a physiatrist, as he thinks I work too hard – whereas I think I am still not fully recovered from being ill and hence can’t work as hard as I would like to. It’s a conflict of opinion that I doubt we will ever resolve – and I was expecting the usual debate on this visit.

I think I am functioning at about 75% of my pre-illness capacity. That actually means I am probably functioning within the levels that the average person works at – but it is way below my historic ability levels, and I do miss that ability to throw myself at complex problems or projects and come away not tired but exhilarated.

There are few higher buzzes than the good stress which comes from meeting a tight deadline or winning a contract. I miss that :(

Today, hard work just tires me out – but I am improving slowly month by month and look forward to working harder and feeling great about work again.

Anyhow, this time – he didn’t actually try to get me to see the shrink but did, possibly as a coincidence have a trainee physiatrist sitting in the room and listening – ostensibly as a learning exercise – although I am a tiny bit suspicious. I have no problems with the concept of seeing someone about any mental issues I might have – it’s just that the concerns the doctor raises seem trivial to me, and frankly, are not even a problem to be “solved”.

One of the odder aspects of the checkup is that each time I go, I have blood tests – then get the results three months later when I go back. Obviously if anything icky shows up, then they would call me in instantly. While the doctor went through all the graphs and everything is looking good, and in an oddly amusing way, my immune system has suddenly leapt up again after finally settling down like it is supposed to. It seems that I can’t stop getting healthier ;)

I also keep a close eye on the cholesterol level as one of the many side effects of the medication is a heightened tendency for the body to retain bad cholesterol. Fortunately, as I am a moderately sensible eater, the results are not only below the UK average, but well inside the “safe zone”. Quite how low they would be without the drugs remains something that one day I hope to learn. Considering how shattered my health was a few years back, it’s nice to have some of the results looking good.

As a final oddity though – the nurse trying to take blood couldn’t actually get any out for once and had to have a couple of goes to find a working vein. A pain, quite literally as blood tests are damn painful. Apparently they shouldn’t hurt at all, but they do for me – a lot.

At least its only once every few months though.

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