I don't see myself as hypochondriacal (lovely word:just rolls off the crusty tongue). Did you know Moliere's last play " TheHypochondriac." was his last literally. During the fourth performance he passed out and died a few days later. However...I'm a martyr to stomach problems. For years my guts have been giving me hell. Not all the time mind you but when I suffer; I suffer. I put it down to my artistic temperament, I feel so..ooo much. Anything can start it off. I recall that in the early 70's I went through an episode of mega belching and flatulance. I couldn't walk up the stairs without anal propulsion. It lasted weeks, if not months, and was cured by a flight to the USA in 1976 - something to do with air pressure and the Northern Lights. Anyway, for decades not a rumble down below. I could bend down and do my extensions without the slightest fear of a rip roaring fart arse wise..... Until I retired. It's quite difficult making an appointment to see the doctor for flatulance. Despite your best endeavours you whisper your complaint to the receptionist. She, of course, doesn't hear so you over compensate..."I have Flatulance..I'm constantly farting." Embarressment all round as you screw yourself into the smallest ball possible and she pretends you're mentally deranged. Anyway I got to see my doctor. Putting me on the examining table and pounding my tummy he bemoaned the fact that his investments hadn't done as well as he'd expected. He couldn't retire to Mayo at 50. "IBS" - Irritable Bowel Syndrome" - Peppermint tablets will sort you out. Which they did. A short course and my pants were wind free. Fast forward to last year. Farting and that very full stomach feeling. I self medicated on peppermint until my wife complained about my sweetly fragranted farts which hung in the air for ages and scared the cat. I went to see my doctor. I say my doctor: actually it was one of the hundreds of locums they use to ensure the system doesn't fall down. I was told to give a stool sample and to leave it in the reception, I was given a transparent container and a bio sheet which told the poor unfortunate in the lab what they had to do with my turd. At my age I'm used to giving poo samples. Bowel cancer is the excuse to send me, and thousands like me, a load of poo sticks on which I have to place my poo and then send off...by the Post Office to the lab. As the envelope in which my poo is contained is addressed to the National Poo Analysis Center I'm amazed any ever get delivered. Returning to last year's endeavour. I gave a sample and took it to the reception: Except I'd missed the deadline of 11:30 am. I couldn't leave my poo sample over night so I had to take it back home with me. I went back the next day, with a fresh turd, and deposited it on time.
A few days later I had a call from the head of the practice: the results were in - UK nil points : I was a breeding ground for
Helicobacter pylori and a Nobel prize for medicine. Two weeks of a course anti- biotics and photon inhibitors was ordered and that was that. In due course my stomach settled down. Earlier this year, and I'm back with a dicky gut. I go to the clinic and see a lovely Indian sub continent doctor. I explain my problem and my history which she checks on her computer. Given my past experience she orders a couple of blood tests and a poo sample. Just to eliminate the possibility that H pylori has re-infected me. She gives me two weeks' supply of photon inhibitors. I go for my blood test and deposit my poo and wait. My bloated stomache continues. After two weeks I phone the practice - not having heard anything about my results. Yes they have them. What are they? Can't tell you. I'm not qualified. I'm in pain can I speak to the doctor who ordered the tests. She was a locum. Would you tell me the results. Yes if there was a problem. I'm given an appointment for 3 weeks hence and she'll speak to the doctors. I put down the phone. The thing was the tests were made to eliminate the obvious. The fact that there was nothing wrong wasn't necessarily good. It might indicate that I needed further tests. I asked the receptionist to pass on my concerns. I've heard nothing since. I've self medicated. Bought an off the shelf photon inhibitor "Nexium". It has worked. I feel much happier, but not with the slap dash approach of my health clinic . I take comfort from the fact that the Rolling Stones are playing to half a million in Havana. You can survive old age.