Friday, 2 December 2011

Side Effects, Oh Yes.

“Of course, when you take steroids there are going to be some side effects”. The doctor is saying this but I’m not really taking it in. I’m so overjoyed that the 40 mg blast of Prednisolone has managed to push the polymyalgia out of my life. Well, if not out then at least right down to a trickle of pains running through the backs of my legs now and then, the occasional flicker in the upper arm and throb below the knee. Compared to what was there before this is nothing. The pains seems to have shrunk away to somewhere near vanishing point in a matter of days. The GP told me they would and I simply hadn’t believed her.

“I think I owe you a bunch of flowers”, I tell her. She smiles.

“If you were at 100% pain before where are you now?”


“Let’s keep the dose where it is to see if we can get rid of that as well.”

Prednisolone the wonder drug, the key to the kingdom, the holy grail.

The side effects are listed and I scribble them into my notebook. Most patients don’t do this, apparently, replying on faulty memory and hand-out information sheets. I rely on deciphering my awful handwriting.

The list goes something like: thin bones, reduced immune system, propensity to catch colds, weight gain, sleep disorders, mood swings, loads of energy, steroid highs.

The list is alarming but, of course, I’m on the Prednisolone glory lap and hardly care. The pain has gone. I can get out of bed in the morning without a second thought. I can sit in a car for longer than ten minutes. I can sleep. Heaven’s above, I can actually go to sleep. It’s terrific. What do I care about side effects, anything is surmountable. I look out of the surgery window and there’s a sky up there with bits of blue in it. That’s the future.

“We’ll do some more blood tests, arrange for you to have a flu jab and a pneumonia vaccination and I’m going to put you on these.” I’m handed a prescription for what turns out to Alendronic Acid. You take these things once a week standing up. They fix your bones. Stop you cracking apart when you fall over. Fine. “Come back for another appointment in a week.” I will.

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