Swollen Experience

Another unexpected health development. This time at the end of a happy holiday in Pembrokeshire West Wales by the sea.

Diary Day 1073 March 29th  As most nights this week I wake at 4amish with rasping cough and blocked nose with a virus that has gone round the family. I quietly get up trying not to disturb M who is also at the end of the virus effects. I clear sputum / phlegm, wee and drink a few gulps of water. Back to bed with a lozenge.

As I suck it to the last, thin, flake a growing sensation in my tongue appears as it enlarges to take over the left my mouth. Perhaps the sharp lozenge has cut something. I get up again, activate the bathroom mirror light sensor and open my mouth.


Most photos are taken in the landscape 4:3 or 16:9 for cinema aspect ratio. Selfies are usually the 16:9 vertical phone ratio. This unexpected early morning selfie captures a tired old unshaven holiday face. I’ve cropped it down to remove the eyes peering down to press the take button of the lop-sided open mouth with enlarged tongue protruding. It’s a tad shocking. Its getting bigger. Drink some water. Place an ice cube on my tongue. That should quell the swelling. It doesn’t. I mix a lem sip as I don’t have any paracetamol left. Should have put the antihistamine in my drugs bag with the CML, statins, high blood pressure tablets. Back in the mirror for another selfie.


Its bigger and the right-hand side feels like its growing. Better do something about this. The sun is coming up as I ring the 111 emergency NHS service. I will have to talk quietly to not wake Marian, Maisie, Jo and Ally. I get through to ‘Diane’ and realise I can hardly speak. The words are not forming correctly. Diane bears with me to get my details. She realises I am serious about this call and she puts me on hold to consult with the on call nurse. Music, She breaks in:

’Is the swelling getting worse during this call?’

Yes. Music

‘Edward can you get to A&E. Withybush hospital in Haverfordwest is your nearest.’

I have a car.

Ok Drive there now. If the swelling gets worse, stop and call 999.’

Shoot this is not good.

I wake M and suggest in mouth full of tongue mode, that I have a problem beyond the virus and need to go to A&E. She is understandably worried as she was aware of me on the phone to someone.

in the car 7:13

We have to gather our belongs as its check out in 4 hours time. Although Jo is a qualified Fire Brigade First Aider we decide not to alert M,J&A and get on the road and text them in transit. I share the morning so far with M as she navigates our way to Withybush through the beautiful Pembrokeshire morning.  Another selfie. Put the radio on to fill the silence of the shock with news of the other major shocks going on in the wider world.

Get to hospital reception speak in garbled mouth full mode. Sit down with bag of ice cubes. Realise what it must be like for people with a speech impediment to explain their situation in public to sign in.

A&E Reception 8:10

See a good number of patients waiting. Look up at the crawling led sign: ‘the waiting time today is 4 and half hours’. M suggests it must have been the prawns I ate last night with pasta for supper. ‘Were they out of date?’ I suggest it maybe the lozenge cut my tongue and began a reaction? Who knows. M googles swollen tongue as I had done at 4:30.

I am triaged by a nurse from Dudley who has moved down here for quality of life reasons. ‘Wouldn’t move back to the city’. Takes obs. BP 180/80 pulse 97.

Back to waiting room. Edit selfies down to the important part: the swollen tongue. Format square on, full frame only inc identifying shirt, chin, and nose. Mj and Ally drop by on their way back to Brum after a shock awakening that we have left for A&E: Jo: ‘serious way to get out of cleaning the rented cottage up!’ They are shocked at this turn of events and see what M has had to put up with her husband’s unpredictable health scenarios. They head off. We wait and the mother and daughter opposite carry on crocheting.  I return to listening Janice Frost’s The husband’s Secret. She is from west Lothian. London and Lincolnshire. It’s a good intricate mystery murder with triangular past relationships borne of studying at Edinburg art school. Investigated by a male and female detective team who have a developing relationship.

11:45am I hear my name called: edwaaaard Turpy. A bright African braided nurse invites me behind the barrier and into the consulting room. I Explain the story from 4am onwards and show her the 5:20am swollen left side photo. She examines my mouth and confirms the right hand side is still swollen. She asks if I am on any medication? From previous hospital experience I have the list of medication on my phone and share it and she takes everything down diligently. She enquires what CML is and goes on to explain that it doesn’t seem like a Prawn allergy as that would react immediately. Nor the losenge as I had been taking them all week. She elects to consult a senior medic and leaves me in the consulting room.

The two young women who had been called number of times were ushered into the adjacent bed and the doctor pulled the curtain round them and proceeded to inform her that the tests had shown that she most likely had a form Col……s. She didn’t understand what that condition was and he explained it was a disease of the bladder and could be treated a number of ways including in the last instance surgery. She exclaimed that she would not like that, to which he said put surgery out of your mind and we will progress to the next step with specialists.

My doctor returns with three packs of medication. She explains that her colleague says it is the ramapril blood pressure tablets I have been taking for years. He says this is a rare, but known effect of this drug, even after years of taking the treatment. She is convinced the advice is correct as every other explanation doesn’t hold tight. She mentions the condition: Angio-oedma. Oedma is also the swelling up of my legs as a result of Imatinib and bosutinib. She tells me to stop the ramapril and will give me a discharge letter for my GP to replace with a different treatment. Losertan. She prescribes antihistamine, a course of steroids to reduce the inflammation and an adrenaline ‘Epipen’ which I should plunge into my thigh if the swelling occurs again. Then call 999.

I meet M outside and we head for a latte and tea to take account of the last 9 hours. The enormity of the situation becomes clear now its resolved: I could have died. We check the ramapril side effects and sure enough there are very rare occasions that a swollen tongue can develop and if so call 999 as it can be life threatening as airways can be blocked.

M has taken driving responsibility from this morning until now and the return to Brum. At pm take to the loftus road pitch to play struggling QPR under returning manager Gary Rowett. Please god. We reflect on how many old ill people we have seen today. M is right to point out that they may have looked at us and thought we are ill too. We should begin to recognise we are old and getting iller. Blues score – Bacuna. 4mins later they score, and 3 mins from time, they score again. This is the luck when you are in trouble at the bottom of the league, and at the end of life struggling with bouts of ill health through no fault of your own. The body you have been dealt and the treatments to counter illness can conspire to go against you. I try to keep my pecker up.

Great to get home and meet M,J and Ally. Jo leaves for their London home and we have Pizzas once Ally is down for the night. What a day.

Diary Day 1074 March 30th  Back in Brum. Suns coming up casting bright orange light across the conifers. Take new tablets and despatch old to bin. New appointments to be made. Still coughing up phlegm. Right tongue feels sensitive and cut by swelling over teeth. Lower skin behind front teeth feels loose and extended, possibly by the stretching through swelling. It occurs to me that maybe the swelling after recent dental work could have been to do with the ramapril, or began its effects? Check it in the mirror and see there is a small ulcer where it is sensitive. This is what happen after dental swell. it was followed by ulceration.

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