Quite a week and some drama. Ann and I had both picked up this heavy, chesty cough that seems to be affecting people around here. Her hairdresser has been suffering for three weeks and, when she had consulted her doctor, had been advised she needed antibiotics. So, on Wednesday morning, off to Polis Hospital we went. A new doctor saw us together. Ann was prescribed antibiotics and syrups. But, when it came to me, she told me that my condition was worse than Ann's. I was sent off to get an X-ray, which involved walking across the car park, and just being X-rayed on the spot. Back to the doctor, who was not too happy with the result.
She went to consult a colleague, and asked me to wait outside her colleague's office. Ann went off to have her prescriptions filled at the hospital pharmacy. The doctor then popped out from her colleague's office, and said I would be called for in a few minutes but she thought she ought to have me admitted for observation. I then went into see her colleague, a lovely Greek Cypriot doctor (now a consultant) we had met a year ago and was just back from maternity leave.
Ten minutes' later Ann and I went with her across to the men's ward, where I was admitted. Ann went home to pick up stuff for my stay, and then another doctor came to examine me. He told me that there was some fluid on my lungs and this had been cause by the bronchitis. He also told me that he had detected cardiac arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat. I had had this about five years' ago and it had been treated by cardioversion, where the heart is shocked back to its regular rhythm.
Treatment started and various pills and potion were taken, and I was injected in the stomach with an anti-coagulant. Blessed relief from my sore throat occurred when I was given a syringe to drink, which was cortisone. Now there's a drug. And then it was ECG and blood pressure, and intravenous antibiotics. But the best part of all was the fact that for the first time in eight days I was able to sleep.
The next morning a group of doctors came to examine me again. A visit to the cardiologist was needed (and the Polis cardiologist was on leave for the week). So into an ambulance down to Paphos Hospital, straight up to cardiology where the cardiologist came and performed an ultrascan. He explained what the cardioversion would involve, and when I told him it had happened five years' previously he was then happy to arrange another. Notes written up, back in the ambulance to Polis, and another examination.
So warfarin for a few weeks until my INR is stable and then cardioversion at Paphos in the middle of May. The consultant at Polis wants me to return on Wednesday for a blood test, and then she will take me to see the cardiologist. A medication review will take place, something that never seemed to happen in the UK, and a full diabetic examination as well (as my blood sugar levels were awry, as was my blood pressure - which is normally very consistent).
Not the best of news, but I must say that the doctors were incredibly thorough. One thing led to another, and there was no way they were not going to treat things properly. A nasty cough has been treated and arrhythmia discovered (I certainly had not noticed it). I was discharged and Ann took me home with a bag of medication and anticoagulant injections. I hate needles and was worried about injecting myself. But the needle is tiny (and you stick it into your stomach) and you don't even "feel a little prick".
Being in a small ward on Polis Hospital was rather like living in a soap opera. There were two other patients and the constant comings and goings of family and friends was intriguing. Not long after arriving I was sitting in the chair beside my bed, when the daughter of one of the other patients noticed my coughing. She brought over one of the small bottles of water she had brought in for her father, and gave it to me. Later that evening, when the family was gathered around the bed (all there to watch the TV), a pastry was being cut up into slices and the old man's granddaughter was sent over to shyly offer me a piece.
So my first experience of medical care in Cyprus ... and Ann and I were both very impressed by the professionalism and care we were given.