(As the editor, I feel I should add that the slow role of carer grows almost imperceptibly at times. The word “old aged” parent isn’t right for mum, nor are elderly or frail. I am not her Carer. But I care and worry. She is an Inbetweener. Independent, but slowly needing more support. When does an older person give up the right to make bloody stupid mistakes? I still have the right to ruin my life if I choose to. When should the family intervene? It’s a difficult journey, and uncomfortable watching her hamster like face as she chooses what medical help she wants. I have once, and only once, said no more electrolysis. But perhaps even this is meddling. Read mums blog and join the debate)
I’m not the suing type, nor am I vain which is just as well at 73. I’ve had facial hair for years, enough to make me self conscious and seek a solution. I’ve sought electrolysis and at times cried with pain. A memory of running down the Rue de Rivoli in Paris comes to mind, with my jaw aching and tears pouring down my cheeks. I’ve had slight bruising and many a time wished there was a less uncomfortable way of making sure the grandchildren don’t refer to me as an old goat.
As I understand it, a needle is inserted at the base of a hair follicle, a current is passed through the needle and the follicle is tweaked away, after enough treatment the hair stops growing. Is it uncomfortable, yes? Does it work? I think yes, but my daughter has pointed out that after 40 years of treatment, I am still hairy. I don’t remember an exceptionally painful tweak but the clinician decided it was enough for that session – five minutes less than usual. I paid, made another appointment.
Later that day, the gum under my bottom teeth felt sore and soon was joined by ear ache. This lasted for a couple of days, sufficiently unpleasant to retire to bed with a hot water bottle pressed to my face. I thought a good walk with my walking group would cure me. It didn’t, by day four my face blew up and half my bottom lip was numb. I now looked like a hamster, a mysterious goitre had appeared under my chin, my eye was closing and my cheek was very sore. It was then that I remembered the electrolysis, but I had a fun weekend away all planned. My other daughter suggested going to the doctor, she took photos of the swelling. But I don’t like to make a fuss.
I spent the weekend away with a much beloved brother, and I couldn’t ruin his time, I’d do anything rather than complain, but even he noticed the swelling.
When do people like me start to question their thought processes. I am aware my daughters want to act in a way that makes me an invalid? I reckoned it was just an infection and all I needed was some antibiotics. I planned to see my local GP when they could manage it (Ed, Mum doesn’t like to use the emergency booking, and it takes over 2 weeks for a normal appointment) but that age and stage of suddenly having those who love you think they know best took over.
My daughter picks me up at seven and by seven thirty I am in A and E. Seven hours we waited, with only one doctor on duty. By 1.30 on a Sunday morning. several ill people had decided to go home (Shows they were misusing A and E any way. Clearly they didn’t have emergencies). I am conscious of not wanting to waste any one’s time, but my daughter is insistent we stick it out. The young diffident doctor warily pressed the swelling cheek. He wasn’t sure what electrolysis was.
”Does this hurt” he asks as I hit the ceiling. He calls the bigger hospital for advice, and measures the swelling. And suggested I keep a list of the names of all my medicines in my bag, if I couldn’t remember them. Only then does he give me a course of antibiotics. It was the nurse who first assessed me for a stroke (lopsided face and dribbling mean they have to assess you.) who said that diabetes and electrolysis didn’t go.
It’s over a fortnight, my lip is still numb on the outside, sore on the inside from inadvertent teeth marks and very sore at the epicentre. I can’t smile on one side of my face, hardly earth shattering but I can feel the discomfort all the time. A few more days and I’m going to the doctor, my lopsided smile doesn’t look right.
If it was the electrolysis then people should be warned, I can’t think what else it could be. Am I being fussy? As I say, I’m not the suing type. I’ve kept the clinic informed, agreed to meet in about a month to discuss it further, What else can I do?