However I would argue research students make pretty bad patients too. I think nothing of giving my consultants homework to read up on papers that I have researched in preparation for an appointment. At some point I think I am either going to have to try and stop looking or change my PhD thesis to ‘alternative treatments in refractory vasospastic angina’. I have probably done enough research to write an undergrad dissertation tomorrow. However my actual PhD is starting to suffer from all the time being ill and not researching topics that add to it, unfortunately being ill and studying don’t mix but I am not giving up.
I saw a new Doctor this week and in preparation I read the papers he had written in relation to my problem. There was the possibility the a device called a spinal cord stimulator may have been of use to me. It is a device that is plumbed into your spinal cord and uses electrical currents to help dissipate pain. There have only been a few in the country fitted for refractory angina and there is no guarantee that would it work. However after conversation with this doctor it doesn’t look like this will be an option for me, or at least not yet whilst the underlying condition is still causing problems. The Doctor did however recommend a specialist center to help to figure out what the underlying condition is.
There was also a cardiology appointment this week. I have new drugs to trial and some more to take in the background. There is one test left to carry out, but to date my cardiologist has thought it was too risky. It would involve doing another angiogram and then injecting a provocation drug directly in the heart arteries to see if that causes a spasm. This would give a 100% diagnosis rather than based on clinical judgment, however the test can produce false positive and false negatives. There is also a concern that given the spasm I had during the last angio could not be controlled, that could be of significant risk in the heart. The hospital by me will not allow the test to be carried out there so I would have to go back to the professor in London. My cardiologist has said this is probably for the best as if needed the London hospital has cardio thoracic operating theatres. Statements like that do not fill me with confidence. The benefits of doing this procedure is that if it can be seen which arteries are going into spasm then there has been a little research done on revascularisation (heart bypass) in intractable cases, so it might be an option that is worth a conversation. Before we even start to seriously discuss anything of that nature I need to make the decision of whether the risk of the provocation angio is worth the benefits it may bring.
That should certainly give us something to think about over the Christmas Holidays. At the moment it looks like I am free on hospital appointments next week but I have two to arrange so that probably won’t last, actually I really hope one of them can be done next week. I am very conscious that come the beginning of January I will not be driving for 8 weeks because of the shoulder surgery. Crazy that I am having surgery in about two weeks and it is barely on my radar at the moment. Just another thing to keep me awake at night, still I am stress knitting at the moment so my projects are coming on well.