You know, of course Dear Reader, that the 'Devil makes work for idle hands' But have you realised that he also makes up lies for idle minds?
I've noticed this phenomenon in a good number of people who don't have enough to occupy them, either physically or mentally. Take my Mam, (not really, as we all still need her!). Whilst waiting for someone to call, she's not really very idle. She's addicted to several soaps on the telly (which she also hates) and she also likes several of the various format quiz shows, where she invariably gets the answers before the contestants, and, funnily enough, she also really likes some of the American detective stories in the afternoon and late at night! Then there's her newspapers, which are read religiously at set times and with pre-determined set snacks or whatever. So she doesn't necessarily have loads of spare time on her hands. Nevertheless, she makes good use of these times of enforced loneliness. So much so, that not long before we left Windy Nook to return here to Luxor, she suddenly decided that Freda and I were going to be burnt to death in our apartment, as there was no fire escape! I still don't know whether I managed to allay her fears or if she was just humouring me, but we've been OK so far.
To get onto the meat of this post, we'll just get back to the present and our life here in Luxor, eh? On Wednesday, after an afternoon of wallpapering, we decided on a pizza from El Zaeem for the supper. One half would be chicken, for me, and the other half for Freda was plain. It all went down very well, delicious in fact! I didn't go to bed until something like 3 o'clock, and put the fact that my ribs were aching, down to working on the laptop for too long. By 4 o'clock, I couldn't lie still, as I was in so much pain! Up I got, and vomited into the bathroom handbasin several times, but only small amounts of mainly liquid and a few pieces of olive, it did hurt, though! Of course Freda was also awake by now, fussing about like a mother hen, but to no real avail. This scenario lasted until I made and drank some ginger tea at 07:30, when it stopped abruptly, thank heaven!
I found that I could nap while sitting in an upright position, on and off throughout the day, but the pain was still quite bad. I still wasn't able to go to the loo, either, even though I felt that I might burst at any moment! We didn’t go out at all because I was still manfully suffering the pains, which started just above my belly-button and finished at my collar bones, it travelled all around and faded quite a lot when it got around and onto the back of my ribs.
On Friday, although I was rather weak from the lack of food, we needed to go out for shopping. I did feel a lot better, but I was still frightened to eat in case I did actually burst, stranger things have happened! We stayed in during the day, grabbing a snooze here and there. I rang Ahmed later on to take us shopping in the caleche as I couldn’t have managed the local ‘bus. When we got back I decided to start myself off with a couple of fried eggs on toast, you know, something light and easily digestible. Everything seemed OK and I thought that I was cured and just waiting for the strains due to vomiting to dissipate, although I still hadn't been to the loo, and was becoming increasingly concerned about that. Was it a bowel cancer, blocking the way like our lady-friend who visited Luxor often? Then, I wondered about the aching chest as well, even though it wasn't quite so bad. My very good friend Jim Crow (the magnificent coachbuilder) had a cancer in the lining around his lungs (something to do with asbestosis, I believe) which was inoperable, and which saw him off in a very short time! Could that be what I've got?
That night, though, it all started again! I wanted to cough, but it was too painful, like trying to go to the toilet too. All the muscles were shouting at me to let them just rest. I spent most of the night in the living room, snoozing fitfully in my chair and trying to find my exact symptoms on the World Wide Web. I did!!! It was double pneumonia!
Reading these different pages from the USA and our own NHS was really quite frightening. Honestly, you wouldn't believe the number of 62 year old men who had let their symptoms go too long, to the point where nothing could be done for them and they just died! There were heart rending letters from sons and daughters whose beloved fathers had not taken heed early enough, and were now the 'dearly departed'!
The only symptom which was not apparent was a cough, but I did want to! I told Freda, in the middle of the night, and she said that it was nothing like our two grandsons, who both had pneumonia at the same time, when they were little. It made no difference, I knew what I had!
I started to telephone Dr Yacoub's house on Saturday at 07:02, I knew he wouldn't mind, as it was a life-threatening situation, but could not raise him. At 07:25, I got dressed and went downstairs, to see if Dr Yacoub's 'Igor' (Girges, really) might be there washing the floor, which I know he sometimes is, but no. Then I tried the Pharmacy, where Dr Yacoub's sister-in-law works, but when they opened at 08:00, it wasn't her, but the other lady. She said that she didn't have a number for him, but he would open the clinic at 10 o'clock, or perhaps slightly earlier. I really felt, by this time, that I was dying, I've never felt so bad in my life. Nasty thing this 'double pneumonia', I certainly wouldn't recommend it!
I, very slowly due to my weakness, made my way back up our 83 stairs. Stopping several times to try and catch my rapidly failing breath. It was just terrible. I persuaded Freda to come back down with me, even though she doesn't like 'the doctor's' at all. By the time it was our turn, I was starting to get very irritable due to feeling like death warmed up, and then Igor let a Coptic priest in, in place of us! It really grieves me the way that the priests are a law unto themselves with people almost fighting in the streets to be able to kiss their ring, or whatever. But I managed to keep my trap shut, as I was in no condition to have a stand-up row!!!
I told Dr Yacoub the sad news that I had double pneumonia, and he got me on his examination couch, took my blood pressure, looked at my eyes, poked and prodded here and there, before explaining his diagnosis. My painful chest, was due to my bloated stomach trying to shove my lungs further up into my chest cavity. This also explained the shortness and shallowness of my breathing. In fact, I didn't have pneumonia at all, never mind double pneumonia! I was rather disappointed, to tell the truth. I don't think I've ever had anything life-threatening before.
What I had/have is "The dyspeptic symptom complex that is often associated with delayed gastric emptying, gastro-oesophageal reflux and oesophagitis." After only two of the tablets he prescribed, I was able to go to the toilet, which made a huge difference. I'm sure that I'm now on the mend.
So there you are then, the moral of the story being; don't let the Devil make work for your idle hands, or make up lies for your idle minds! (And never diagnose your own ailments through the Internet or medical books!)