Saturday, 27 February 2010

Being examined

I can now reveal what you've been waiting to know. But first it was a good afternoon yesterday at our MNDA meeting. After a few techy problems, David Batt-Rawden talked about gardens which are wheelchair friendly, and extolled the virtues of our old friend, the Beamer Tramper, and what was new to some, the sand-managing beach wheelchair - which I could have done with in Norfolk last year.
And then Sue Williams-Bradley talked about disabled friendly gardening - including table-top gardens, which enable wheelchair-users to get their feet underneath the soil... a neat idea, though I'm not sure how many of us would think  about them.  Personally I'll leave the gardening to Jane.  Of course the most important bit was spending time with friends in the same boat.  It was nice to get to know David better, who's an impressive carer of his wife Susan.  Some of us will be going to the MNDA Spring Conference at Newport in April.

Stephen's pointed out in a comment on 'Media Bias' that the BBC did a good report on Dignitas last April which is still on line.  I must acknowledge that so that I'm not biased myself.

This afternoon I was a guinea-pig..... at the MRCP exams in Oxford.  Doctors who are trying to get their Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (the advanced general medicine - GP - qualification) have to examine you (+ a number of others) and then report to their examiners what they've found.  They're given a minimum of information (eg that I have a neurological condition and can barely walk) and are told to examine my lower limb and cranial nerve function (or something like that) in six minutes.  There were five of them and were all terribly polite, calling me 'Mr Wenham'.  My one complaint is that when doctors tickled the sole of my feet to test my reflexes I'd call it more of a scratch.  There were medical students there as well, helping, who took advantage of having us there, and they by contrast still seemed to know what tickle means.

I suppose the most exciting test most of them carried out on me was pricking me all the way down my legs and feet with a 'sharp' pin!  One of them asked me to say, 'Baby hippopotamus'.  I'm afraid I just laughed.  'You must be joking!'  So she tried, 'British constitution' instead - which I enunciated carefully.  But she was on to one of the important symptoms.  It was interesting how many of the candidates had to be pushed by the examiners to mention my speech, which is of course one of the obvious symptoms.  I suppose it was just too obvious.  Anyway, the moral is, nothing is too obvious.  Well it was good to feel I could do something positive with this wretched illness, not least by telling the students how PLS had affected me.  I think all the candidates got the generic diagnosis right (though one favoured MS); not surprisingly, since PLS is so rare, none of them identified that, but most got the fact that both upper and lower neurones were affected.  One of them, I thought, was outstanding - very quick to identify the relevant symptoms and clear on the diagnosis.  The examiners agreed with me.  If she's your GP, you should be all right.  You can see why I couldn't say in advance what I was booked in for; it wouldn't have done for word to get out!

The examiners looked at what I was reading, Lucy Winkett's book.  'The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent book,' read the waggish Irishman. 'Does he know when he's getting it back?'  Ho, ho!

As for the rugby - well, a bit of a wipeout for mainland Britain, wasn't it?  Oh dear.

1 comment:

  1. So that was it! No wonder you said it wasn't a matter of life or death....or did you? No, you said it wasn't a cliffhanger like East Enders. Not a 'who-dunnit', but 'why me?'. It sounds as if you almost enjoyed it - but you would if you were helping others. Love.