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26 January 2017

Annual Review

It was that time of year again, my yearly MOT”

– and no, I’m not talking about my car. I mean the yearly health MOT I have done at the hospital.
Annual review is the biggest Cystic Fibrosis appointment of the year and it involves a lot of questions, blood tests and any other kind of test the doctors can think of.

The destination is Llandough Hospital”

– and I’m sat in a small consultation room waiting nervously for the first specialist to walk in. Time to make myself at home for the morning. The specialist nurse comes in a with ten page booklet with loads of different questions about different aspects of your health, from your lungs to your eating habits (well, digestive system).

It feels like you’re on Mastermind and knowing what your tablets are is your specialist subject. I know that the questions need to be asked but it can get annoying repeating yourself after a while.
So the first thing I did when I got there was to head to the weighing scales to see (and hope) if I had put on any pounds. As I’ve said in a previous post, my weight had become a bit of a concern for me and I was determined to put some of the weight I had lost before back on. And I am pleased to tell you that I have managed to do it! I managed to put on 1kg, it may not be much but it’s better than nothing!

“What a great start!”

The dietitian went through all the questions to do with my eating, Creon intake and other digestive system related questions. Then it was the big one – lung function.

I’ll be honest, I felt very edgy about doing my lung function. I don’t know whether I’m being paranoid about this but every time annual review comes along my lungs always decide not to play ball and it ends up with me blowing a low lung function. But I like to think that the curse was finally broken on Wednesday when I blew a humdinger of a lung function! I blew my personal best for the last 12 months! It was 2.62L (litres) which is 83%! I couldn’t believe my eyes when those numbers shone up on the Spiro machine! Of course I did the standard three blows into the machine so they could pick the best one, as always my first blow was the best one (that sentence is for the dirty minded).

The physiotherapist asked me the standard questions like if I was coughing up any blood or I was suffering from a tight chest or if I had developed a wheeze (or whistle as I like to call it) and the question which is not for the faint hearted – what colour is the phlegm I’m coughing up. Believe it or not, my phlegm descriptions sound like paint samples, there could be a special wall for our phlegm colours in B&Q, but I’m not sure if the biggest DIY in the UK would take to that idea.

Finally, it was time for my port flush, which meant one thing – bloods. I was praying my arse off that my port would bleed back because I knew that there were at least 4 blood sample tubes to be filled. And they weren’t just small ones, they were the big ones as well. So the needle went in my port, and hallelujah! My port bled back when I needed it to! The blood was taken, squirted into the tubes and it was time for me to leave clinic. Before skipping off home though, I had to make a pit stop at one more department in the hospital – Radiology.

Yes, it was time for a well overdue chest X ray. People with Cystic Fibrosis will know what I mean when you can just walk into the X ray room and you can automatically get into the correct position ready for the X ray! Shoulders forward, chin on the machine, hands on your hips behind your back and chest forward. It’s like a natural movement of the body with us CFer’s, am I right?!

The film came out right the first time then I had to stroll to pharmacy to pick up a prescription. It was funny because when I went to ask the dispenser if my items were ready, she assumed it was a big prescription! People with CF will know that when we have to make a trip to pharmacy in a hospital, we usually have to take about 4-5 bags of stuff out of pharmacy. We keep the pharmacy busy alright!
I got my Creon and I could finally skip out of the hospital and drive home. What a exhausting morning!

But that appointment made me truly realise that all the hard work and persistence with the treatments and exercise really does pay off. It has for me anyway. I know that if I keep this going, I can stay well for longer and avoid antibiotics too. It’s just keeping my fingers crossed now that I can stay this well for a while yet.

If you have any questions about CF or about anything in this blog post, comment in the box below.

Happy reading!

Lucy xx

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