The Anonymous Widower

Have I Lived All My Life With A Leaky Heart Valve?

A few days ago, whilst looking for an old post, I came across this post called Medical Progress.

This was a paragraph.

On Wednesday the stroke doctor had told me that I had a leaky valve. Now sometimes I think I can tell when it starts to leak. Or am I imagining things. I just push myself too hard and then I get a bit breathless, but if I get a rhythm going, I can pedal for over an hour. Especially in Holland, where they have abolished hills by law.

Normally, I remember most of the posts I have written, but as it was twelve years ago, I think I can be excused forgetting it.

A couple of years ago, I had some heart scans that appear to be puzzling doctors, or at least one, who sent me a copy of an internal mail.

I wonder whether you could arrange a stress echo for this gentleman who transthoracic echo results are confusing. One GP echo suggested mild/moderate AS with a vmax which was inconsistent with this and a Barts echo suggested severe AS by valve area (0.9) but again a low vmax. It was suggested that this was low flow AS but the LV function is only mildly down so this does not really hang together. He does seem to have moderate MR on his most recent echo and a history of AF (on Warfarin).

He has no symptoms attributable to Aortic Valve disease.

Would a stress echo help here and if so would you be able to do this please. I’d value your opinion.

The outcome was that I went for the stress test. It was confirmed, that I had a leaking valve, but it wasn’t that serious and I didn’t have the stress test. It’s described in My Cardiac Echo Stress Test.


I am tempted to believe, that I’ve always had the leaky valve. Is that possible?

But then my medical history is a bit strange. Read My Unusual Body for a bit of background.

October 30, 2022 Posted by | Health | | Leave a comment

Statins Are Not To Blame For Most Muscle Pain, Scientists Conclude

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

This is the first two paragraphs, that outlines the study.

Fears over statin side effects are unfounded as they only lead to muscle pain in 1 per cent of patients, a comprehensive study has shown.

University of Oxford scientists say they have “definitively” proven wrong the widespread belief that statins are a common cause of muscle symptoms.

Can my experience, add anything to the argument?

  • I am seventy-five years, 170 cms. in height and weigh just over sixty-two kilograms.
  • I have been taking statins, at least since I had my stroke ten years ago.
  • I have been diagnosed with arthritis in my left knee. I put this down to the fact, that my wife and I had three small children fifty years ago and lived in a fifth-floor flat with no lift. All the carrying up the stairs damaged the knee and it flares up every ten years or so!
  • I have constant minor pain in my left humerus, which was broken by the school bully, when I was fourteen.
  • When I was diagnosed as a coeliac and went gluten-free, a lot of my muscle and joint pains were reduced.
  • The pain levels seem to have risen again since going on statins.

This page on the NHS web site is an overview of Coeliac Disease.

In a section, which is called Who’s Affected?, this is said.

Coeliac disease is a condition that affects at least 1 in every 100 people in the UK.

But some experts think this may be underestimated because milder cases may go undiagnosed or be misdiagnosed as other digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Reported cases of coeliac disease are around 3 times higher in women than men.

I also believe that the number of diagnosed coeliacs, is also affected by the fact that there was no test for coeliac disease in children until 1960 and that a reliable genetic test wasn’t available until the 1990s. This will lead to numbers of undiagnosed coeliacs in the older population.

Coincidence Or Just Facts?

Note that statin side effects only lead to muscle pain in one per cent of patients according to the report in The Times and one per cent of the population are coeliac.


I’m no medic, but I am a coeliac and an analyser of data. I believe that better analysis of the data may add some new insight.

For instance, as coeliac disease is three times higher in women, then if it is involved, then it would mean that the muscle pain ratios will have a sex component.

I also believe, that all medical research databases, should record, whether the participants are coeliacs.


August 29, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Unusual Feet

My feet are often a red colour, as is shown in these pictures.


  1. It’s always the left that’s the reddest.
  2. They often itch, which I usually can cure with lots of Body Shop Hemp Foot Cream.
  3. I have no hard skin on my feet.
  4. I used to suffer badly from plantar fasciitis, but the foot cream seems to have stopped it.

Yesterday, I went to Liverpool on the train.

No problems, but this morning when I got out of bed and pulled my right calf muscle. Not badly as I was able to cure it with a bit of light massage and a hot bath.

I also found that in twenty-four hours, I’d lost nearly a kilo and my left foot was very red.

This is not the first time, I’ve had troubles after travelling on Class 390 trains. In another incident my left hand stopped working. That ended up with an overnight stay in hospital.

I’m no medic, but I do wonder, if I have a very leaky skin. I’ve mused on this before in My Unusual Body.

But does it let water molecules through, but the larger red corpuscles in my blood can’t get out, so my skin looks red?

Could it also explain, why I never need a plaster for an injection or when a blood sample is taken? Perhaps, the skin just parts for the needle and then closes after it’s taken out, so that the blood doesn’t leak.

To return to the Class 390 trains, I just wonder if their air-conditioning is set, so that the temperature and humidity is just right to suck the water out of my body. I certainly don’t get any problems on InterCity 225s, Hitachi AT-300 trains or Stadler Class 745 trains.


February 12, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Simple Solution To The Tricky Problem Of Eye Drops

Since the cataract in my left eye has been removed, I have supposed to be putting drops in my eyes seven times a day. It’s four of one and three of another.

But it has all changed since the District Nurse brought me a pair of these shields.

The bottle with the drops is poked through the bottom of the shield and the cut goes over the eye. To get one drop, you squeeze the bottle gently.

I find the best place to be drop the drops, is lying on my back on my Chinese carpet, with my head on a cushion that C embroidered.

My father would have liked this device.

In his printing business he specialised in creating special cards and forms for the office systems of the 1950s and 1960s. So he would create guides and spacers out of wood in his workshop, so that his staff could perform complex operations quickly and efficiently.

It has certainly made putting the drops in my eye a lot easier.


The hospital should have given me a shield with the drops. The wholesale price can’t be that expensive.

November 20, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 6 Comments

The District Nurse Takes Control

As I said earlier my only problem was putting in the drops.

I told my GP yesterday, and saw him send a message to the District Nurses.

Today one of the organisers phoned me and an hour later she turned up and gave me an assessment.

She also put drops in my eyes and came back later to repeat the dose.

She had all the attributes one associates with District Nurses. She was professional, competence and well-turned out. The only difference from the stereotype was that she was probably younger than thirty.

She or one of her colleagues will come back tomorrow and she is trying to source a device that will enable me to do my eyes myself.

It is good to see, that with the pandemic still raging, I can get good care like that from the NHS.

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , | 6 Comments

My Cataract Operation

It was all very simple and painless.

After the procedures, where they checked that they had the right patient and that everything else was in order, after some local anaesthetic was put in my left eye, I just laid on my back with my head in a rest.

A cloth shield was put over my face and my right eye and my left eye, from which the cataract would be removed was left looking through a hole in the shield.

I was asked to focus on a bright light and I held it there for what must have been about ten minutes.

I held my head and eye still and I felt nothing.

Then the shield was removed, I was told it was all over and I was led out of the operating theatre.

I was in no pain and the only difference in my appearance was the shield taped over my left eye.

How many people hold off their cataract operation because they think it will be painful?

I left the hospital within two-and-a-half hours of my arrival at nine o’clock this morning.

It is now over twelve hours since the operation and I can honestly say, I have had no serious pain. Although for some reason my right eye has developed an itch in sympathy.


If you are told you need a cataract operation, get it done sooner rather than later.

November 15, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , | 6 Comments

Back Home After The Operation

I’m back home and now wearing a fetching eye-shield.

But why are both eyes and my nose running so much?

I’m not in any pain, but the right eye seems to be the most uncomfortable and that wasn’t touched.

But then my left eye was always the most sensitive and every time, I get a fly in it, it is always a visit to A & E.

I seem to have calmed things down a bit, by drinking lots of tea and eating M & S gluten-free ginger biscuits dunked in the tea.

But then as a child, I was always dunking ginger biscuits in tea.

Whilst I was married I didn’t, as C thought it was a bad habit.

November 15, 2021 Posted by | Health | , | 3 Comments

I’m Having My First Cataract Operation Tomorrow

I’m having my first cataract operation on my left eye tomorrow.

So posts might dry up for a few days!

November 14, 2021 Posted by | Health | , | 18 Comments

My Cardiac Echo Stress Test

I had a cardiac echo stress test today at Barts Hospital.

It has been almost fifty years since, I’ve been to that part of the hospital. And it was heart problems then. Not mine but my mother-in-law’s.

She had a very dodgy ticker and had two heart valve replacements. Her valve was  noisy and once she emptied a bus, as someone thought it was a bomb.

Doctors have thought one of my heart valves was leaking badly, but after the first part of the test, the doctor felt that it wasn’t that bad, so cut the test short.

  • One of my valves does leak, but not badly and it just needs to be watched.
  • The doctor also said, that it won’t need open heart surgery, as methods have improved.
  • So instead of a two hour examination, I had left after forty-five minutes.

That’s the sort of health care I like.

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , | 3 Comments

Goodbye To My Gallstones

It is now some weeks since I said goodbye to my gallstones.

They were in my bile duct and were discovered by using an ultrasound probe on an endoscopy at Homerton Hospital. I didn’t even put on a hospital gown.

I had that endoscopy, as I did my two previous ones at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to check for coeliac disease without a sedative, as Addenbrooke’s likes to be efficient and cutting out sedatives reduces the manpower required, cuts the need for recovery beds and allows patients to drive home.

After this endoscopy, I came home the way I arrived – on the bus!

I would say that a good endoscopy operator should be able to do the procedure without a sedative. Although in this case, the nurse holding the oxygen tubes up my nose, was stroking my beard to calm me down. Not that I needed it! But it was a nice action!

I had the removal of the gallstones with a sedative, but I only remember the anaesthetist saying something like “Lovely” as he threaded the camera and attachments down my throat.

They broke into my bile duct from the duodenum and then inserted a balloon, which was then inflated to flush the stones back into my duodenum.

I must have dropped off and I woke without any pain or even discomfort.

One complication for me, was that I am on Warfarin, but I dropped my INR to one before the operation, so that there wasn’t blood everywhere.

I have had some after effects.

Where Has My Constipation Gone?

Since I was about sixty, I have suffered from constipation and my GP has prescribed a laxative.

I felt it was a family trait as my father was also a sufferer.

But since the operation, I have only taken one pill, that may not have been necessary.

My Appetite Has Returned

I am certainly eating better and I have not put on any weight.


If you have gallstones and removal is suggested, go for it!

October 14, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments