Health update

On Friday 29th October I was admitted to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch after a call with my GP, booked the previous day. I was suffering with shortness of breath on exertion, such as going upstairs, and was struggling to catch my breath back. My doctor sent me to A&E immediately where initial triage found my SpO2 levels to be very low, heart rate to be high and my respiratory RPM to be very high. I was duly stabilised in resuscitation where they provided me with oxygen and antibiotics and began blood tests. There were no COVID-19 symptoms and a PCR test taken on admission came back negative.

When my blood test result came back my D-dimer count was 22,000 and they said it should usually be around 500. The indications were a clot in the lungs. I was moved eventually to the Medical Assessment Unit and then on to Medical Short Stay pending a CT scan. I was sent home on Sunday 31st October and was greeted by trick or treaters at the doors. It was a nice treat to see them all having fun, but it was certainly a tricky weekend for me.

The CT scan carried out on Monday 1 November has revealed numerous small clots in both lungs. They don’t know what caused them. I had my second dose of the vaccine (AZ) in May 2021 and so I should be beyond any clotting issues by now. Some friends are not so sure. I also have a family history of clots – my mother has Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), sometimes known as Hughes syndrome, a disorder of the immune system that causes an increased risk of blood clots, along with Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs.

More tests and scans will be needed to ascertain the underlying cause, and these are going to be carried out over the next couple of months. During this time I don’t think I will be running any marathons, but there’s no need to restrict my daily activities too much. I just need to be mindful of a few things and take a few precautions, which might include not standing around in the cold and rain for too long for instance.

I am able to carry out full duties as a Councillor otherwise and am looking forward to helping residents with their issues. Most of the work is carried out remotely and over email, and actually my biggest challenge is going to be making sure I don’t spend too long sat at a single desk.

I just wanted to say a massive thank you to family, friends, colleagues, residents and even my opponents for their kind words, support and encouragement. Even those with whom I have fierce political disagreements have been very kind.

Lastly, I would be remiss not to thank the doctors and nurses at the Alexandra Hospital for their superb range of medical interventions and support. It’s good to be home.