Today I woke up with a sore thumb, to be more specific, a sore thumb pad. That was odd in itself but I thought maybe I’d been bitten or knocked it or something. As the morning wore on I observed that it felt like I had burned myself really badly.
By mid afternoon I was getting pains in my hand and wrist and I suddenly thought – it’s cellulitis. If you’re not aware of the condition, it’s an infection of the skin, and I’ve had it a number of times, really badly, but always in my legs. Last time I ended up in hospital, so you will understand why I felt I had to contact the out of hours doctors service this afternoon to get a diagnosis. I’m not in general prone to self diagnosis but I know myself pretty well and I was pretty certain. I ended up seeing the doctor at the hospital in a town 15 miles from where we live and he confirmed it. I’ve got some heavy duty antibiotics and hopefully they’ll kick in soon.
However what was very frustrating was my experience of the new 111 out of hours doctors service. A woman took me through the computer diagnosis (and didn’t ask any questions about my medical history) and it determined I simply needed to go and see my doctor tomorrow morning. I had to tell her that I wasn’t happy with that diagnosis as my experience with cellulitis is I need to see a doctor early before it spreads. Because I said I wasn’t happy, I was put through to a nurse, who listened to both my symptoms and history and decided I did need to see a doctor. As did the doctor who phoned me back a couple of minutes later.
I understand the need for streamlining and for trying to stop people who aren’t genuinely unwell getting in the system, but ultimately there is no satisfactory replacement for a person not only listening to and observing your symptoms but also assessing those in light of your medical history.
I am hoping this doesn’t stop me knitting….