Continuing my quest to stay positive in 2017, I am happy to report something tangible that helps me along my way.
I recently received a letter from the local Health Authority, requesting me to attend for a free screening check. As I am fast-approaching that worrying age of 65, it seems that I was considered to be ripe for preventive checks, organised by our British National Health Service. On this occasion, the offer was a free ultrasound scan, to determine whether or not I had an aortic aneurysm. This weakening of the major blood vessel in the body can be hard to diagnose from symptoms, and is generally fatal if undetected.
Of course, being me, I was wondering whether or not to go. If I had one, did I really want to know? The outcome might result in a major operation, one that in itself does not always guarantee survival of the surgery, or success of the procedure afterwards. But Julie was keen for me to have the test. After all, her own father died from a ruptured aortic aneurysm, in 2012. And he had no idea that it was there.
On Friday afternoon, I headed off to our small local hospital in Dereham. This is a community facility where clinics are run for tests and checks. It has no emergency department, no operating theatres, or maternity provisions. It is also less than three miles from Beetley, so exceptionally handy for me to drive to. A nice young man took me into the examination room. I got onto the bed there, and just had to raise my shirt. He placed some gel on my abdomen, and pushed a probe around my skin a few times. After a few minutes, he declared that I had a very healthy aorta, and it showed no signs of increasing in size.
He went on to tell me that it is highly unlikely that I will ever develop an aneurysm there, and I need no longer concern myself about that condition. A non-invasive, painless procedure, and I didn’t even have to get undressed! One less medical problem to ever worry about, and I was back home in time to take Ollie for his walk. At a time when our NHS is all over the news; facing criticism, lack of funding, and fears about its future, this was a shining example of a progressive public health service.
Now that’s what I call something positive.