Diagnosis? N.F.I.

Double Trouble

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The sixty-eight bus effect kicked in again today (cue X-Files theme) – spooky!

Did two jobs back-to-back which were almost identical and also quite unusual, at least from an ambulance point of view.

Two young ladies, one in her late teens and the other about ten years older had both been admitted to the medical assessment unit at the local hospital during the week suffering from symptoms which suggested possible meningitis; headache, neck stiffness, photophobia (sensitivity to bright lights), nausea, vomiting, and generally feeling unwell. One of them even had a rash, though it was non-blanching (didn’t pass the ‘glass test’). Down at good old MAU they’d been subjected to the usually battery of tests; bloods and stuff, and they both had a lumber puncture (Ooouch!! That hurts!). The results had been negative. Meningitis ruled out “probably just a viral infection”. Subsequently they’d been discharged home with some painkillers and told to “take it easy”.

Now the timings were different, they weren’t seen on the same day and they’d been home for different lengths of time but today, well today, things were just plain bad. Neck and shoulder pain had come on with a vengeance and every time they sat up or stood, they got shooting pains up into their heads which they both said felt “as if it’s going to explode.” One even had pains going down her back and into her legs. Their worlds were whirling around and they felt giddy and nauseous. Not much I or my colleagues could do really so back into MAU they went. Not a hint of dissent from MAU. The doctor I spoke to had seen one patient during her earlier attendance so already knew her history. The mother of the younger one arranged for her re-admittance so saved me a phone call and showed great initiative (for a relative!).

Be interesting to know what it’s all about. Is this some viral meningitis doing the rounds or something that’s occurred as a result of the lumber puncture? Or could it be (and this is sinister) a case of the lumber puncture results being wrong. If there are any medics out there reading this then I’d be interested in your views.

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The rest of the day was pretty boring (again). Spent nearly three hours of it on 'dynamic cover'. Now there is nothing 'dynamic' about being on cover. It means being holed up in the car, by some roundabout, waiting for something to happen. Only response cars have to do it. Ambulances get to stay on station. I thought we'd dispensed with all this some years ago when our new 'chief' arrived, but it's back again – "need to meet our response times." It really cheeses me off. It's not just boring, it's soul destroying. Guess that's why they pay us more money. Bit like the NHS ReDirect nurses – it's to compensate for the boredom.

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