This blog started as a place for me to moan about all my ailments and discuss the various remedies I had tried. In recent months, I haven't mentioned illnesses much at all, apart from teeth and colds, but now, in common with the Duke of Edinburgh during the Queen's Jubilee celebrations, I have a bladder infection.
It started a week ago last Monday while I was flat-sitting in Highgate and I think it was sparked off by helping myself to a bottle of my friend's white wine (with her permission, of course. She had three cartons of it hidden beside the sofa). It was very dry and acidic and the next day I was in awful pain from my ulcerated duodenum and I always find that when I get an ulcer attack, I get cystitis symptoms too. Even as a child, if I ate any tart, acidic fruit such as gooseberries, or accepted an acid drop sweet from a pal in primary school, I would get a burning inside that went all the way to my bladder and kept me running to the loo. Doctor after doctor has dismissed it and told me there is no connection, but I know there is, even if it's referred pain.
I went to the chemist and got some Oasis. I took the 2-day course but was no better, so next, I went to Boots and got some Cystopurin which tastes unbelievably vile, as if someone had mixed cranberries with a heavy dose of saccharin and added a pinch of bad egg. I was also taking half a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate dissolved in a little warm water every few hours. That usually works a treat, making my system nice and alkaline again, but this time it didn't work, though my stomach pain subsided (it lasted four days and ruined my stay in Highgate).
So I bought more Oasis and by now, I felt as if someone had sewn nettle leaves into my knicker gusset, so I knew I had thrush, too. I bought some Canestan One-Shot, slapped on the cream and downed the anti-fungal pill last night. Then I went to sleep, at around ten-fifteen as I was exhausted.
At what seemed like the middle of the night, I woke up needing the loo. I looked at the clock. The big hand said 11. I had only slept for about an hour. For the rest of the night I was in bed, then out of bed, at intervals ranging from twenty minutes to an hour. I was wishing I had an ejector to seat to boing me from bed to bog and back again..
I finally got up and seven, waited till the doctor's surgery opened at eight and rang them. This is the day that many doctors and NHS employers in Britain decided to go on strike, but luckily for me, they hadn't at my surgery. I got an emergency appointment and saw a rather dour female doc who gave me a tiny plastic container to pee in.
It must be easy for a man. They can just point and pee. But for us ladies... First you miss it on one side, then you miss it on the other and pee all over your hand. By now you are running out of pee, but you have one last go at centring the bottle and finally get a few drops inside... and running all over the outside and the label! It didn't help that I was still wearing my raincoat and had my heavy bag slung around my neck!
I grabbed some loo paper and dried the outside of the container, which felt revoltingly warm. I took it back into the surgery and she dipped a coloured stick into it and said I did have an infection, and wrote me out a prescription for an antibiotic I'd never had before, called Nitrofurantoin. Of course, I gaily gobbled the pill (four a day, with food, I'm going to get really fat) before reading the leaflet. Inform your GP or pharmacist if you are going to take, or have taken, any of the following, it said. Two things leapt off the list, both of which I had taken within the last 24 hours. Indigestion remedies containing magnesium, and Diphenhydramine, which was in the off-the-shelf sleep remedy I took last night, before the cystitis kicked in.
So either I shall get better, or I shall start foaming at the mouth and pegging out, whichever happens first. Oh, and the final thing it said was, do not take alcohol as it will make the side effects of the drug worse. It can make you feel very drowsy. Oh good. Pass the wine then!
PS. Another side effect is that your 'end products' can turn orange. I'm sure I remember seeing orange monkey poo in the zoo. Maybe the scientists have missed a discovery: they've found the drug that can reverse evolution. Put us all on Nitrofurantoin and in 100 years we'll all have turned into Neanderthals... I'm sure there are a few living in my street already.