The Anonymous Widower

Should Those With Long Covid Be Checked For Coeliac Disease?

One of my Google Alerts picked up this interesting page on the British Medical Journal.

In response to this paper on the journal, which was entitled Long Covid—An Update For Primary Care, a retired GP named Andrew Brown had said this.

The update reminds us that alternative diagnoses should be considered in patients presenting with long covid symptoms. I suggest that screening for coeliac disease should be added to the list of conditions to look for. Coeliac disease occurs in more than 1% of the population, with many more cases undiagnosed. Typical symptoms of fatigue and GI problems are the similar to those of long covid.

As a non-medical person, I would agree, as after the Asian flu of 1057-58, I was off school for a long time with long covid-like symptoms and my excellent GP; Dr. Egerton White was very worried.

But at the time, it is now known, I was an undiagnosed coeliac.

So was my coeliac disease meaning that I couldn’t fight the flu?

I cover the link between coeliac disease and long covid in more detail in Covid Leaves Wave Of Wearied Souls In Pandemic’s Wake.

January 11, 2023 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 1 Comment

Covid Leaves Wave Of Wearied Souls In Pandemic’s Wake

The title of this post, is the same as that as this article on The Times.

It is the usual excellent article by Tom Whipple and it discusses long covid.

I haven’t knowingly had long covid or even common-or-garden short covid for that matter.

The Asian Flu of 1957-1958

But go back to 1957-1958 and the outbreak of Asian Flu.

This was another present from China to the world. Wikipedia says this about its severity.

The number of excess deaths caused by the pandemic is estimated to be 1-4 million around the world (1957–1958 and probably beyond), making it one of the deadliest pandemics in history.

According, to this page on Wikipedia, deaths from Covid-19, were approaching 5,500,000 at the first of January 2022.

But then the world population is now 7.9 billion as opposed to 2.8 billion in 1957. This is 2.8 times bigger.

If the Asian Flu of 1957-1958 had had a Covid-19 death rate around two billion would have died.

Was There A Long Form Of The Asian Flu?

In Long Covid And Coeliac Disease, I started the post like this.

I recently heard an interview with Adrian Chiles on Radio 5 about the so-called long covid

I am 73 and the more I read about Long Covid, the more I think I had something similar around 1958, when I had just started Minchenden Grammar School, where I missed most of the Spring Term. This was at the time of the 1957-8 flu pandemic., which killed between one and four million people worldwide.

This article on New Decoder is a personal memory of that pandemic, from an experienced journalist called Harvey Morris.

Last night, I was listening to another program about kids with long covid and they seemed to be describing how I felt all those years ago.

One of those two programs, also said that one doctor tested patients for coeliac disease.

So did I have a long form of Asian Flu which kept me off school for a long time?

I can remember a conversation between my late wife and my mother that took place before we got married in 1968.

My mother described how I was badly ill at around ten and how our GP, the excellent Dr. Egerton White kept coming to see me, whilst I was recovering at home, as he couldn’t fathom out what was wrong with me.

But he did seem to take particular care of me, even coming to visit me in hospital, when I had my tonsils out at around five. Could it be, that as he had brought me into this world, that he felt differently about me? It should be noted that he was probably from the Caribbean and either black or mixed-race.

Is Long Covid Linked To Undiagnosed Coeliac Disease?

As I said earlier that one doctor tested long covid patients for undiagnosed coeliac disease, at least one doctor must believe so.

Looking at the statistics in The Times article, I can make the following deductions.

  • 42 % of sufferers from long covid are over fifty?
  • 58 % of sufferers from long covid are female?
  • It is not stated how many sufferers had been diagnosed as coeliac and were on a long-term gluten-free diet.

These statistics would fit roughly with the statistics for coeliac disease.

  • According to the NHS, there are three times as many female coeliacs as male.
  • There was no test for coeliac disease in children until 1960, so it is likely, that many undiagnosed coeliacs are over 60.
  • Since around 2000, coeliac disease is tested for by means of a simple blood test.
  • Doctors understand coeliac disease better now, so I suspect more coeliacs under about thirty have been diagnosed.

I am certainly led to the conclusion, that undiagnosed coeliac disease could be a factor in long covid.

Treating Long Covid

The article on The Times has a section which is entitled How Do We Deal With It (1)?, where this is said.

One of the great challenges of pathology is that you have to know what you are looking for before you can find it.

“People with long Covid go to the clinician, give blood, and none of the results that come back show that these individuals are sick,” says Resia Pretorius, from Stellenbosch University. The doctors look through the metabolites in their blood, seeking something unusual, and find nothing. “The end result is their clinician tells them it’s psychology — go for a run or whatever. Some of these patients can’t even walk up a set of stairs. They think: are we mad?”

She had an idea. What if it was about the blood structure, as much as its composition? Her laboratory has looked at the blood of both acute Covid patients and long Covid sufferers. They have found tiny clots.

Something in the disease seems to cause malformation, and they can’t be removed.

They have also found preliminary evidence that treating patients with antiplatelet and anticoagulants leads to significant improvement. Although, she stresses, it’s a risky procedure that requires careful monitoring, in case people bleed dangerously.

When I read the bit about anticoagulants, the bells in my head started ringing.

I am a coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet, who suffered a serious stroke in 2011, from which I made a remarkable recovery. I am now on Warfarin, which is the old-fashioned anti-coagulant and test myself regularly with a meter, so I don’t bleed dangerously.

Note remarkable is not a word of my choosing, but one that has been used several times by doctors referring to the recovery in my stroke. But then there are masses of Jewish, Huguenot and Devonian survival genes in my cells.

At the time of the panic about blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine I wrote A Danish Study On Links Between Coeliac Disease And Blood Clots, of which this is an extract.

This morning I found on the Internet, a peer-reviewed Danish study which was entitled

Coeliac Disease And Risk Of Venous Thromboembolism: A Nationwide Population-Based Case-Control Study

The nation in the study was Denmark.

This was the introductory paragraph.

Patients with coeliac disease (CD) may be at increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), i.e. deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and its complication pulmonary embolism (PE), because they are reported to have hyperhomocysteinaemia, low levels of K-vitamin-dependent anticoagulant proteins, and increased levels of thrombin-activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor.

One thing in this summary screams at me. The mention of vitamin-K!

Ten years ago, I had a serious stroke, that because of modern clot-busting drugs failed to kill me.

I am now on long-term Warfarin and know I have to eat a diet without Vitamin-K.

There are too many coincidences in all this for me not to shout, “Do More Research!”



January 17, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

‘Natural’ Nasal Spray Could Stop Virus Before It Enters The Body

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times.

This is the two introductory paragraphs.

A Canadian nasal spray that has been shown to stop the coronavirus from spreading through the body will begin its first UK clinical trial tomorrow.

The SaNOtize nitric oxide spray is designed to prevent the virus from passing through the nose to the respiratory system. The trial will be run by Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey.

I shall be watching SaNOtize‘s development with interest, as something that could be similar got my life on track!

I am 73 and I was a very sickly child, despite the persistence of the GP, who delivered me, who was the superbly-named Dr. Egerton White, to try and sort out my problems.

I was always, having terms off school with respiratory problems, probably caused by the London smogs of the 1950s. We lived in Southgate and they had as bad smogs as anyone.

In the end, with the connivance of a pharmacist called Halliday, they formulated a nasal spray, that worked. I can still smell it!

My health improved with the Clean Air Act and during University in the seaside city of Liverpool.

Later, I worked for ICI on chemical plants and there was an unfounded story, that the pensions were good, as working on ammonia plants and the like kept you clear of all the viruses going around. But on retirement in all that clear air, you got everything that was going and died soon after leaving work. Hence the pension scheme had more money than it needed.

My health also improved, when at fifty I was diagnosed as a coeliac and went gluten-free.

Now after returning to London after the death of my wife and son to cancer, and suffering a serious stroke, my head is all choked up by the pollution. The Covid-19 lockdown makes it difficult to take the cure, which is a couple of days by the sea. Biarritz, Gdansk and Liverpool work a treat.

Trump Got It Wrong!

Trump was advocating injecting bleach to cure the Covids.

  • Note that bleach is a strong alkali
  • This spray is based on nitric oxide, which when mixed with water forms nitrous acid.
  • Wikipedia says not to mix-up the weak nitrous acid with nitric acid.

So Trummkopf couldn’t tell his alkali from his acid, which surely is a recipe for disaster.

Nitric Oxide

This is part of the introduction in the Wikipedia entry for nitric oxide.

An important intermediate in industrial chemistry, nitric oxide forms in combustion systems and can be generated by lightning in thunderstorms. In mammals, including humans, nitric oxide is a signaling molecule in many physiological and pathological processes. It was proclaimed the “Molecule of the Year” in 1992. The 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded for discovering nitric oxide’s role as a cardiovascular signalling molecule.

I remember a fascinating BBC Horizon program about nitric oxide’s role as a signalling molecule.

  • It started with research done by a veterinary professor at Glasgow University, who believed that after experimenting with penises from dead bulls, concluded that nitrous oxide had something to do with it.
  • But his ideas were so out-of-kilter with established thought, that his research was sidelined at conferences in journals.
  • Reasons like it was a poison and such a simple molecule were given.
  • Then in London, someone who knew of his research, had a patient dying of toxic shock syndrome.
  • He suggested injecting the lady, with large amounts of nitrous oxide, in the hope they could save her life.
  • Her partner agreed.

And as it worked, there was a very happy ending.



January 10, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Unusual Body

I say unusual, but I suspect there are others out there with similar problems to me.

I was delivered in 1947, by the almost exotically-named; Dr. Egerton White, who was the family GP. He had all the expected characteristics of a three-piece suit, a corporation, a long watch chain and the obligatory Rover car. He also had a rather unusual blotchy skin, that leads me to think he was probably of mixed race.

I was small in stature, not the healthiest of children and was always going to see him and his partner, a Doctor Curley!

  • At times, I would cough my guts out for hours on end.
  • Later I remember my mother saying to my future wife, that I had difficulty eating as a baby, and I would fall asleep as she fed me.
  • Often I would spend three or four months away from school and I can remember spending hours with my head over a large jug of hot Friar’s Balsam.
  • At one point, someone said it could be the lead in the paint in our house, so my father burnt it all off and replaced it.
  • My mother used to make gallons of home-made lemonade according to one of Mrs. Beeton’s recipes, which must have helped, when I drunk it.
  • Doctors White and Curley were puzzled and at one point prescribed the new-fangled drug penicillin.
  • It should be remembered that in the 1950s, even in leafy Southgate, where we lived, the air was thick with the pollution from coal fires for a lot of the year.

In the end, one thing that helped was a nasal spray cooked-up by a pharmacist called Halliday. I can still smell it and suspect it was little more than the base chemical still used in some nasal sprays available from pharmacies.

Although my poor health persisted at times, I still managed to pass the 11-Plus and get to Minchenden Grammar School.

But I remember in the first year, I had virtually a term away.

From about ten or eleven, my health gradually improved.

I can suggest these reasons.

  • Getting older helped in some way.
  • I was exercising a lot more by cycling around, although it was up a hill to get home.
  • My parents had bought a house in Felixstowe and we would spend weekends there. Although, as I got older I hated being away from my friends with little to do, so I tended to stay in and read.

In the 1960s, my health seemed to improve dramatically, when I spent three years at Liverpool University and a year afterwards working for ICI at Runcorn.

Liverpool is a Maritime City and in those days, the air was much better than London.

But I also got married in 1968 and I can never remember serious boughts of coughing, sneezing and breathing difficulties in the time Celia was alive.

Although, she did often say that before I went to sleep, I would always sneeze three times and sometimes she would even count them.

She also regularly said, that my sneezes were rather violent at times. They still are!

In the late nineties, I was diagnosed as a coeliac. Regularly, I’d go to the GP around the turn of the year with a general run-down feeling.

Nothing specific, but then an elderly locum decided I ought to have a blood test, which would be the first of my life!

The result was that I was very low in vitamin B12. As a series of injections didn’t improve the situation, I was sent to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for tests.

I was diagnosed as a coeliac, initially on a blood test and then by two endoscopies. Note that Addenbrooke’s used to do them without anaesthetic, as it means the patient can easily get into a better position and doesn’t break teeth. It also means that the hospital doesn’t have to provide as many beds for recovery. Certainly, I’ve had worse experiences with highly-capable dentists!

I thought this was the end of my health problems.

It certainly seemed to be, except for occasional breathing difficulties early in the year. I can remember having difficulty climbing Table Mountain.

My stroke was brought on by atrial fibrillation three years after Celia died.

It happened in Hong Kong and before it happened in the restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, I had had a walk and remember how well the air felt early in the morning in the City.

The doctors said I had had a serious stroke and I was kept in hospital for twelve weeks on the 29th floor of a hospital with the sun streaming through the windows.

I remember one incident, where I was accused of throwing my water away and not drinking enough, as I wasn’t urinating. But I was drinking, so they checked my waterworks thoroughly and put in a catheter. Nothing improved. Thankfully, eventually they gave up!

So where was all that water going?

Another curious thing in Hong Kong was that their automatic blood pressure machines sometimes didn’t work well on me in the morning. So they resorted to traditional devices and a stethoscope. Strangely, these blood pressure machines never fail these days.

After the stroke, I was put on long-term Warfarin and I have been told several times, that I if I get the dose right, I won’t have another stroke.

Now moved to London, I possibly made the mistake of moving to a house, which gets too hot.

One day I collapsed, panicked as I thought it was another stroke.

It wasn’t and UCLH thought that I needed to be put on Ramipril, Bisoprolol Fumarate and Spirolactone.

Since then another cardiologist has dropped the Spirolactone.

As I said my body is unusual in strange ways.

  • If I have an injection or give a blood sample, I don’t bleed afterwards or need a plaster. With a new nurse, it often causes a bit of a laugh!
  • My nose seems to be permanently blocked and I rarely am able to blow it properly.
  • My feet don’t have any hard skin, which is probably unusual for my age.
  • I used to suffer from plantar fasciitis, which seems to have been partly cured by the Body Shop’s hemp foot protector.
  • I drink a large amount of fluids, with probably six mugs of tea and a litre of lemonade or beer every day.
  • I always have a mug of decaffinated tea before I go to bed.
  • I often have half-an-hour’s sleep in the middle of the day. As did my father!
  • My eyes are very dry and I have a bath most mornings, where I put my head under the water and open my eyes.

Perhaps, the strangest incident was when I went to sleep on the floor after a lot of tea, with the window open.

I woke up to find I couldn’t see! There was nothing wrong with me, but my large living room was full of steam, like you’d get if you leave the kettle on.

I came to the conclusion after that incident, that the only place the water could have come, was through my skin.

This was also suggested by a nurse, who said he’d got leaky skin.

As someone, who understands physics, could this leaky skin be the cause of my problems?

And do the drugs make it worse?

My Grandfather

He died at forty, long before I was born.

He was an alcoholic, who eventually died of pneumonia.

Could his drinking like mine, have started because of a need for fluids?

I used to drink a lot of beer until I was about twenty-four, but my father had suffered so badly emotionally because of the death of his father, that he had instilled the right attitude to drink deep in my mind.


This has been a bit of a ramble!

May 29, 2019 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Have I Regressed To My Childhood?

Growing up in the early 1950s in London, I wasn’t the healthiest of children.

  • At some time most winters, I would have several weeks off school with a severe cold with extras.
  • I can remember my mother cutting up old sheets for hankerchiefs.
  • These would be boiled after use in a large saucepan on the gas cooker.
  • I would  cough all night and a good part of the day.
  • I would  inhale steam from a large jug of hot water and Friar’s Balsam.

Dr. Egerton White was always round our house.

Things improved towards the end of the 1950s.

  • The passing of the Clean Air Act in 1956.
  • I would be given penicillin which seemed to help. Naughty! Naughty!
  • At weekends we’d go to Felixstowe.

What finally improved my health was going to Liverpool University.

Now over fifty years later, I’ve got a cold like I had in the 1950s.

  • I can’t stop coughing for more than ten or twenty minutes.
  • Nothing seems to work to stop the cough!
  • It’s gone on for eight days now!
  • I’m not getting much sleep.

Could the pollution from all the diesel vehicles be the key?

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Summary Of My Health

Doctors have always been puzzled about my health. In my early years, Dr. Egerton White struggled to find, what was wrong with the sickly child I was.

I used to miss one school term in three and it was probably the Spring Term, but as I’m relying on memory I could be wrong. I was always suffering from rhinitis, sore throats and often coughed for England. At one time, I was diagnosed with scarlet fever, but as I was the only case in London and no-one caught it from me I do wonder if it was a misdiagnosis.

Dr. White, at one point thought I had an egg allergy, but in the end I got the usual treatment of children in those days, they took my tonsils out.

Sadly, none of my medical records of those days exist, as they got lost somewhere between London, Felixstowe, where my parents had retired and Liverpool University.

But as my current doctor and I have agreed, whatever has bugged me over the years didn’t kill me as a child, so hopefully it is unlikely to kill me now!

Spending time at Felixstowe on the windy East Coast seemed to improve my health, but I still had lots of small problems like athlete’s foot, terrible dandruff, joint and foot pains and an overactive gut. I should also say that I suffering pain from my left arm, where the humerus had been broken by the school bully.

My mother’s health incidentally was generally good, but my father suffered from terrible rhinitis and catarrh, which wasn’t helped by his smoking of a pipe. His father had been similarly effected and found that the best way of coping was smoking and drink. Consequently, he died in his forties.

Moving to Liverpool for four years for university and work, seemed to dull my troubles and I can’t remember any new problems until a few years later, when I was living in a flat in London, when I started to get pains in my knee joints. One doctor recommended an operation, but luckily I decided to pass.

Things seem to get better in the mid-1970s, when my wife and I moved into an eleventh floor flat in the Barbican.

Generally, for the next thirty years or so, my health was pretty good, although my arm, where it had been broken, could be painful in hot weather. We had moved to Suffolk and generally spent a lot of time outdoors.

Then in the early years of this century, I was diagnosed as a coeliac by Addenbrookes and went gluten-free. My health changed for the better, with most of the joint pains and gut problems disappearing. But I still seemed to suffer from the odd bad Spring, although it got better, when my wife and I could afford to take luxurious winter holidays.

Then my life fell in, in that my wife of forty years died of a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart in 2007, followed by our youngest son, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2010.

My health got worse on the death of my wife, with hay-fever like symptoms at times.

I then had a serious stroke in Hong Kong, whilst on holiday. Luckily, they gave me the superduper clot-busting drug, and my brain is no worse than it ever was!

As I lay there for about three months with the sun streaming through the window, some of my old symptoms returned.  Rhinitis was pouring down my throat, like it hadn’t since the 1960s and my left humerus was giving me some of the worst pain ever.

Since then, I’ve sold up in Suffolk and moved to Hackney, so that I have access to public transport.

The rhinitis is often present, usually in the Spring, and my body feels very much as it did, when I was at school. I’ve also started to get conjunctivitis in my eyes

In one instance, I collapsed and was taken to hospital. They were puzzled, but did report that I had something like water on the lung.  A couple of days of oxygen and I was able to come home.

This Spring, my small problems have been getting worse, with constant wind, itchy skin and especially eye-brows.  Then I was found to have a fungal infection in my toes for which Terbinafine was prescribed.

This reacts with my Warfarin, but as I test my INR daily on a meter, I’m able to keep it under control. I should be able to, as I have a Degree in Control Engineering.

One thing that seems to help cope with the muck pouring into my mouth and throat is fresh lemonade, as it scrapes the muck into my stomach. The odd glass of weak Scotch has a similar effect. At times though it all goes away and white wine tastes like white wine, rather than vinegar.

May 16, 2014 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

One Of The Most Significant Places In My Life

After leaving Enfield, I took a nostalgic ride on a 121 bus to Southgate to get the Piccadilly line back to Central London. I pased this anonymous block of modern flats at the top of Windmill Hill.

One Of The Most Significant Places In My Life

One Of The Most Significant Places In My Life

So why is it significant.  On the site there used to be a nursing home, which is where I was delivered by my parent’s GP; Dr. Egerton White.

February 13, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

The Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

Whenever I go to Oakwood station, just seeing the parking in front of the station reminds me of a very funny story.

The Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

The Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

Our next door neighbour, a rather pompous Mancunian, who thought the world revolved around him, just after the Second World War, had a Rover, very much like the one you see in the James Herriott programs on television.  My doctor, the wonderfully named Egerton White had one too, as doctors in those days always did. just like they had three-piece suits, a good size corporation and a pocket watch on a gold chain.

Our neighbour, had a garage that was basically a store for his junk.  in the middle of the back wall, was an old chest of drawers with large round knobs. He also had the habit of going in a bit close, so that he could shut the garage doors. My father, who was a bit of a comedian, once joked that. his junk wasn’t worth nicking.

One evening, he wanted to get an evening paper.  The easiest place to get one, for our neighbour was Oakwood station, where he just parked outside, left the engine running and walked inside the station to get one of the Star, News or Standard.

The Entrance To Oakwood Station

The Entrance To Oakwood Station

The picture shows where the papers were sold, from the bench just inside the entrance.

Anyway, he duly backed the Rover out of the garage and proceeded to drive to the station.  He always sat high in the car, to emphasise his own importance and was surprised to see people waving and pointing to the front of his car.  He just waved back, as my father used to say, when he related the tail, in the style of the King.

When he returned to the car after buying the paper, he realised the reason for all the attention on the trip to the station. He had gone into the garage just a little bit too far, the night before and the bumpers of the Rover had hooked themselves under the knobs on one of the drawers. They were so firmly locked, that when he backed out to get the paper, the car extracted the drawer from the chest and it had stayed balanced there, all the way to the station.

He then took a fateful decision.  He decided that as the drawer had stayed there on the journey to the station, it would stay there on the way back.

It did stay there, but as he moved off, the bottom decided to part company from the rest of the drawer and thirty years of accumulated odds and ends, were deposited all over the forecourt of the station.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , | 1 Comment

My Allergies and Me

I seem to be getting no relief from the hay fever at all this summer. Just as it seems the pollen level gets to a low level for a day, it then rises back up again. I had lunch with a friend yesterday and he never suffers, but he is this year.  It’s a story that I’ve heard so many times in the last few months from others. No-one seems to have any idea about it either.

I don’t get any luck with it either.  On Friday I was to see a consultant about it, but for administrative reasons the appointment was put back for a few days. Any sane person, would think that the Devil has it in for them, if they had suffered the last three years I have. To make matters worse, the sale of my house in Suffolk, seems to be moving slowly and Ipswich lost by seven goals to one last night. But I’m still here, which is more than can be said for my wife and youngest son.

I also had a good lunch yesterday with friends, essentially to celebrate my birthday on Tuesday.  Even Ipswich contrived to lose six two that night.

I know it’s only a small thing, but I slept well last night and got up feeling fresh.  So I thought, it might be a good idea to go to perhaps Brighton or Southend and get a bit of sea air. But after checking the pollen levels, I decided against it as levels were moderate in all the places I checked.  And the excellent Met Office web site, says that it’ll be Tuesday before the levels get better.

So I think I’ll go and see my therapist today.  I’m not sure where I’ll explore, but because it is so easy and fairly close, I think I might go to Bruce Castle Museum this afternoon.

What I will do is reflect on my life and especially this dreaded hay fever.

I will start with my ancestors.  I’m certain that it’s my father’s line that has the really bad genes and has brought me the allergies.  From what I know now, I’m certain that he was a coeliac like me.  He certainly had more wind than the Outer Hebrides.  He was always choked up with catarrh and  ate menthol catarrh tablets like others eat sweets. He was also a heavy pipe smoker and that couldn’t have helped.  His father had died young of pneumonia and my father had told me, that my grandfather was a heavy drinker and smoker, who suffered from asthma.  My father told me graphic stories about how he would pick him up in a terrible state from places like Wood Green Conservative Club. One of the strange things about my father’s family, is that there is very few women, who have ever given birth. Could this be the coeliac gene, which doesn’t help women carrying a viable foetus to full term.

Unfortunately, I don’t have my school records, but it would make interesting reading, as I can remember taking endless time off because I just wasn’t up to it. I seemed to be coughing all the time and spent many nights with my head over a jug of Friar’s Balsam. At one time I supposedly got a case of scarlet fever. How I ever got to a Grammar School I don’t know! Luckily, we had television and I had my Meccano to amuse myself with.  And that is what I did, when I was at home.  Most weekends I would be off to my father’s print works, where I did useful things. To say, I was an indoor child would not be an understatement. And we worry about kids spending too much time on their computers.

So what was it that made me so ill? Unfortunately, my medical records are incomplete and start in 1970. If only they were on a central database, that I could access!

My GP, one Dr. Egerton White, thought I was allergic to eggs, and so I was rationed to one a week.  Did it help?  Not at all.  My father thought it might be the paint in our house, which he thought contained lead and I can remember him stripping it all off and using modern lead-free paints.  It could also have been his smoking or the coal fires we had in those days, but I didn’t really improve much.  I suppose it might have got better, when my parents bought a house in Felixstowe, but we only went for the odd weekends. But at least I used to walk a lot by the sea.

I think in some ways, I just grew out of the worst times and what finally killed it in some ways was going to Liverpool, where I spent the next three years at the University on top of a hill with the wind in the west.

So perhaps it was just hay fever of a particularly persistent form, as from what I can remember, I don’t feel much different now. The only difference, is that now I’m on a strict gluten-free diet after having been diagnosed as a coeliac ten years ago. That cured a lot of my problems, like chronic dandruff.

All of my levels like B12 are spot on, so it’s not as if I lack anything.

Since C died, I’ve started to get a few problems, like tight shins, difficulty in breathing and spots on my chest, back and legs. I scratch them a lot, when I’m alone.

I have been told on good authority by an academic I respect, that widows can suffer high cortisol levels and the Internet indicates there may be a link.

So has all the stress I’ve suffered in the previous three years, brought the hay fever back?

I sometimes think, that my mind learned how to control it and the stroke knocked out that knowledge, but that is just a feeling not based on any fact.  I have been told by a serious doctor, that stroke patients sometimes have pain return from previous injuries.  He did find problems in my neck, which are improving through physiotherapy.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dr. Egerton White

I am fairly unique amongst people these days in that I was delivered by my GP; Dr. Egerton White.

He was your classic GP of the time in North London.  He had the Rover 90 or 110, the corporation, waistcoat and watch-chain, the kindly face and warm hands, and everything else that went with the job.

But why did he come all of the way from Winchmore Hill to my parent’s home in Cockfosters?

It was a drive of about five or six kilometres and all of my friends and neighbours used doctors who were much closer. My father always said that it was because his was one of the first houses built in the area and there weren’t any doctors.  He may also have been a client of my father’s printing business.  But then that wouldn’t add up, as the house was built in 1936 and I don’t think my father was working there at the time.

It has always been a puzzle.

I can still see Dr. White’s face in my mind, as he came many times to see me at home. I should say, that I also went to see him and his partner, Dr. Curley, at Winchmore Hill just as many times too. It was an unusual face in that it was round and covered in dark pigmented spots.

Only now, do I know what the problem is with my health.  I am a coeliac, which means I’m allergic to the gluten found in wheat, barley and rye.  But in those far off days of the late 1940s and early 1950s, no-one knew how to diagnose my problem.  He thought I may have had an egg allergy, but try as he could, he missed the diagnosis.  Incidentally, go through my medical notes and you’ll see all sorts of symptoms that now I put down to being a coeliac.

Note that I don’t use coeliac disease.  I suffer from a diet-controlled non-illness.

One incident stands out.  At about seven, I caught scarlet fever.  Or did I?

I had all the symptoms and was placed in isolation at home.  But according to Dr. White, I was the only case in London.  So was it some weird manifestation of my allergy.  I don’t know and I suppose I could find out if I had a test for the antibodies.  But does it really matter?  No!  In the grand scheme of things.

About seven years ago, I bought a new car.  The salesman had the same skin colour with the pigmented spots as Dr. White. And the salesman was black or of mixed-race!

So does this partly explain the reason how the good Dr. Egerton White came to be my family’s doctor in North London?

June 30, 2009 Posted by | Health | , , , , | Leave a comment