Let’s all go to Africa…

As regular readers will know, as a result of severe lymphoedema, my right leg now sports an ulcer. As well as causing extreme pain, out of all proportion to its size, barely moderated by 220mg of morphine a day (Zomorph – modified-release caps – 70mg every 12 hours, plus Oramorph – liquid – 20mg morphine every 6 hours**), the ulcer is growing visibly day by day. This is not going to end well.

**Until the past few days this dose has been needed, on average, just twice a day, but things have become much worse very quickly.

There is ample scope for increasing my Zomorph, as the maximum dose is 200mg every 12 hours. There’s a formula for calculating the appropriate Oramorph dose in relation to the Zomorph dose – no-one seems to be able to tell me what it is! Last year the pain was so bad that I would scream myself awake most nights. I’m getting very close to that point again.

I am also hallucinating spiders again – it started last night. In the past this has happened only in hospital after an emergency admission. The only conclusion I can draw from this current manifestation is that I’m actually a hell of a lot sicker than I think I am.

Clearly I need to see a vascular consultant – and that’s where it all goes arse up’ards, as we said when I were nobbut a lad. I have, in fact, been referred to a vascular consultant, but I won’t be getting an appointment until the Autumn. That’s because he’s buggered off to Africa for the Summer, to do charity work.

Now that’s fine for the locals, who might well be in dire need (but, hey, so am I, this isn’t a fucking tattoo on my leg!**),


and no doubt burnishes his karma nicely but – and this is what pisses me off enormously – it’s a massive insult to his NHS patients, particularly new referrals like me. For 4 months every year we’re simply abandoned, and that’s just not acceptable. A consultant’s priorities should be the people who bring in his salary.

**If you’re wondering, yes, it could kill me, through septicaemia. I could also lose the leg through infection (and frankly, be happy to see it go, but that’s really not the point). All ulcer/lymphoedema patients are at similar risk and we really should not be put in that position.


And yes, there’s another doctor. I was referred to him last year. He put me in compression when my leg was infected, which should never happen, and wanted me to undergo an ultrasound scan on my legs – a painful experience by the hospital’s own admission – but, when my legs were like this, below, there was no way it was going to happen, so I wrote this letter to him, explaining why. I didn’t even get the courtesy of a reply.

My leg, November 2013, APH