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Vegan Eton mess

vegan eton mess glass portion

Life has a habit of dropping you down a peg (or two) from time to time, showing you how fragile everything you hold dear is, or maybe making you appreciate the things that matter and stop sweating the smaller stuff…This is exactly what happened to us this week, starting from 2 AM on Thursday.

Thursday night, I am suddenly jerked awake by Duncan doubling over in pain on the other side of the bed. For a second, I think he is having a nightmare. He is screaming in pain, but it sounds like he is underwater. He cannot breathe, he cannot speak, he cannot move and he is turning grey. I try to find out what is going on, but he is unable to speak, he just keeps on clutching his chest and making muffled pain sounds. Time stands still. I’ve never seen him like this – I am terrified that he is going to die. I call an ambulance.

Just before the ambulance arrives, his symptoms lessen considerably and he is able to explain his symptoms to me. He starts questioning if calling an ambulance was a good move. He is still in a lot of pain when he tries to breathe in deeper, but nothing like he was when the pain started. He is even starting to crack jokes. Too late, I say, we are going to Accident and Emergency (A&E) no matter what. There is no way I am risking you having an episode like this again.

When the paramedics arrive, he looks almost back to normal. We tell them what happened and that he has been recovering from pleurisy for the past week, yet they seem to think that what he has matches pericarditis (which it later turns out is completely wrong, btw). They don’t appear to think that what he has is that serious, yet I wonder if they would have been that chilled out if they had turned up 15 minutes earlier.

Once in A&E, we are clearly not an emergency anymore, so we have to wait till 8 AM to be seen by a doctor. The staff are great, by the way, but clearly overwhelmed by the number of patients on file. After 8 AM things are starting to move forward. After we see the first doctor, another one comes over and we are moved out of A&E into an assessment ward. Every one or two hours, something happens. A doctor comes to talk to us, someone gets Duncan’s blood, does his ECG, an X-ray, but everything is moving quite slowly. We keep on being told that we are soon going to be discharged, but the goalposts keep moving.

Our doctor is honest with us, he does not fully understand what has caused the attack of sudden pain, but he brings in a senior doctor for a second opinion. Together, they decide to order a number of very specialist tests just in case, although they make it clear that they don’t think they will come back with anything but negative results. To their (and our) astonishment, one by one, they all come back positive. Twenty hours of staying put later we finally have a diagnosis – it’s a pulmonary embolism (or PE for short).

A CT scan shows that Duncan has not one but two blood clots in his left lung. This not good news at all and it suddenly dawns on us that he really was quite close to dying. We are both shell shocked but lack of sleep makes everything seem surreal.

What makes Duncan’s case so difficult to pin down is that as a vegan marathon runner (3:09 PB) he does not have any of the classic PE risk factors (this is something called: un

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