Not happy with the response I got from the doctor who gave me my X ray results, I go to a different doctor at the practice and I get a referral to Ear Nose and Throat. Luckily, being in London, there are a fair few hospitals with ENT departments. One of them has less than a six month waiting time, so I go with that. It’s Imperial. Ah, I know Imperial College; it’s in Kensington. No, it’s the Imperial Health Trust and although Imperial College is part of that trust, it’s actually Charing Cross hospital. Ah, Charing Cross, easy, just hop on the tube. No, Charing Cross hospital in in Hammersmith! For goodness’ sake!
So I see my ENT consultant. He has a theory. Not tests, note. A theory. It’s probably acid reflux he says. (Of course, acid reflux would tend to give symmetrical problems unless it always occurred at night and one always slept on one side. But at that time I didn’t know about the significance of asymmetry.)
He prescribes a proton pump inhibitor. This is a fairly sledge-hammer medication. It stops the stomach from producing acid. Now the stomach is an amazing place. In order to break down food and extract the useful chemicals we have a whole battery of enzymes, etc. Some of them are delivered by saliva for example. The stomach plays a big part; and what evolution has worked out is that a very acid environment is the place to start breaking down the food. So the stomach is incredibly acidic with a resting pH of 4 or 5 and an active pH of 1 or 2, which is the equivalent of battery acid. The stomach has a lining that keeps this acid in its place; and if that lining becomes incomplete it is known as an ulcer. And if the muscle at the top of the stomach isn’t quite fully closed then acid gets up towards your throat and it hurts.
Switching off the acid synthesis with a PPI is a big step. Ah well. Have to give it a go.
- Someone In All Along
- Hedging Your Security