Scanned again – but not for MS

CT scan, library picture (not me).

CT scan, library picture (not me).

Back to hospital today for a second CT scan as part of the follow-up to my life-saving visit to the same Spanish health service hospital six weeks ago – which is when I made my first trip to the same machine.

Regular readers will no doubt remember that I was urinating blood and the cause was traced back to blood-thinning medication that was prescribed for a heart condition.

Since then I have seen, at the same hospital in Huercal-Overa, a haematologist to sort out my blood thinning meds and a urologist who requested today’s scan to see how my waterworks are, generally, and to make sure that there is nothing else untoward going on.

My appointment was arranged for 4pm, with instructions not to eat or drink anything for five hours but just after 9.30 this morning, the hospital phoned bringing my scan forward one hour, so nothing to eat or drink after 10am. Great!

Fast forward to 2.45pm, Lisa and I arrive at the hospital where I am seen almost on time. Incredible.

The CT scan with contrast, which meant that I was given a dye intravenously to give a clearer image. was completed so quickly that the two of us were soon sitting in a nearby tapas bar enjoying a late afternoon meal and coffee for an incredible 10.30€ for the both of us. Great food, ridiculously low prices.

Just as we finished, the phone rang. The hospital wanted me to go back.

That didn’t sound good but when we got back it turned out that they needed to scan another area to get the complete picture that the urologist had requested.

This time, though, contrast was not required and the fact that I’d eaten less than hour earlier seemed not to matter. Strange, when there was a five-hour ban in place for the earlier scan.

Still now I have to wait for another visit to the urologist to get the full story.


Lack of anti-clotting checks, not MS, put blogger in hospital


Sorry that I have not blogged since writing last week about taking the rough with the smooth in terms of living with MS but, well, things weren’t all that they seemed. It turns out that my bout of sickness had nothing to do with multiple sclerosis. It reminds us to not blame all setbacks on or invisible ‘guest’; we can get ill from other things too.

In my case, it was all about a medication that I take for a cardiac condition and that I have taken for some time. In the UK it is known as Warfarin and here in Spain as Sintrom; it is an anticoagulation therapy for anyone in potential danger of a clot causing a stroke.

Well, I am one such person because at some time in my past I had what is classed as a ‘silent’ heart attack, one that I had no idea about, but that left behind a tell-tale scar in one chamber of my heart.  That was discovered through tests conducted after my atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) was diagnosed some years ago.

Taking an anticoagulant medication requires continual monitoring to check on your INR level. In the UK this was done every four weeks or so and action taken to correct any wavers but since that time, numerous factors, including moving to Spain, got in the way.

In short, the INR of a person not on anticoagulation therapy is one; mine was supposed to be two to three, meaning my blood takes longer to clot.

But, last week, when taken to our local hospital in Huercal-Overa in the south of Spain, my INR level was a staggering 19.95. My urine contained blood, although it looked like blood pure and simple, and my body bore numerous bruises caused by nothing more than light touches. In fact, it still bears them now.

I am indebted to, and grateful for the assistance of, every member of Hospital La lnmaculada’s emergency department (Urgencias in Spanish). They are a really great and professional team. From telling them my symptoms and medical history, they had run tests, diagnosed the problem and had it under control in less than six hours although further tests, including a CT scan, led to my hospital stay extending into its third day.

I am home again now, although temporarily physically weaker than usual and very much in recovery mode. Even this post took much more time and much greater effort to write than usual. will be back on track very soon but please accept my apologies for any drop in frequency; I assure you that the quality and journalistic integrity will remain intact.

Finally, thanks are due to everyone for the kind messages of goodwill I have received in the last few days, for help from our neighbour Barry, and for the never-ending love, compassion and care provided by my beloved wife Lisa.