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Hemicrania Continua | Appointment


My appointment with Dr Elrington was scheduled for 6 pm at his London surgery on Thursday 2nd December.  I had booked a hotel room for that night and checked in around 4 pm.  Coincidently there was an educational seminar being held by headachemasterclass.com the following morning at the Royal College of Physicians. I was aware that this training was aimed at healthcare professionals but an overriding need for me to fully understand my own problem had driven me to sign up for the event regardless.   My plan was to attend my appointment that evening and go to the seminar Friday morning.

I made my way to Dr Elrington’s surgery arriving 10 minutes before my appointment was due.  After filling out a basic medical questionnaire I was shown to the doctor’s room.

Dr Elrington embodied the look of a consultant neurologist and one whom would be recognised as an expert in his field of study.  Professorial in appearance, I was further assured by his dickey bowed attire and welcoming demeanour.

After short introductions, the doctor began a basic neurological examination. Testing such things as reflexes, eye examination, pulse, blood pressure, sensory and visual perception etc.   During the examination, I was questioned about my condition and history.  Shortly after completing the physical examination Dr Elrington asked me if I had worked out what I was suffering from. I replied that I believed my own research had discounted all but one headache condition. I paused with the expectation that he would fill in the blanks, but no words were forthcoming.  I offered my diagnosis, Hemicrania Continua.  Dr Elrington immediately acknowledged me by stating that I exhibited all the signs of a typical case of HC and for 2 very short seconds I felt slightly cheated. I was soon to be reassured that this was far from the case as he went onto discuss the treatment options available.

Made to feel as though I had somehow achieved something through my own self-diagnosis, the fact that I had become well versed in the science of my captor was of little consolation as I learned of the lack of alternative treatments to the one I was already following.  Mention of greater occipital nerve block was unnerving if you’ll pardon the pun.

I like Dr Elrington and would recommend anyone seeking professional advice to look him up. There is a dearth of information and few treatments available for HC and similar conditions. So you may, like me, leave with a feeling of consternation but you will hopefully, like me, leave with the feeling that you have had exceptional medical advice.

Dr Elrington concluded the appointment with an open door asking me to feel free to call if I had any additional concerns or questions. As I departed he mentioned that I would receive a copy of his assessment.

Snow was falling heavily as I walked back to my hotel contemplating what the future may hold and whether the weather would allow me to attend the Headache Master Class in the morning.

Friday morning I woke to news reports of severe weather.  When snow falls in the UK these reports usually precede a nationwide gridlock that manages to pervade all known forms of transport.  Sensing I may not make it home if I delayed my departure, with regret and a heavy heart I trudged through the snow and headed for the nearest railway station.


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