I usually like the drive to Hereford.
Beyond Worcester and its dizzying succession of ring-road roundabouts, is one of my favourite spots: the Malvern hills soar nearly 1400ft out of the Worcestershire plain. The road skirts the north end of the raised spine and then threads its way through the distinctly less cosy and populated Herefordshire countryside – you pass the Prancing Pony inn – to where Hereford nestles under the brooding shoulder of the Brecon Beacons, the beginning of the Welsh mountains. And, sticking with the Tolkien motif, the ‘Beacon’ terminology refers to the signal fire chain that the Welsh used to light when they saw the bloody English invading yet again. The Welsh Marches have a lively history.
You read this blog for the travel and history notes, yes?
Well, Hereford County Hospital is easy enough to find, although my Sat Nav, Tom, decided to have a complete tizwas when faced with some roundabouts that he was evidently rather older than, and responded to my torrents of abuse by attempting to send me up a one way street when I left the hospital.
When I left the hospital, officially sans gallstones, but with a back-to-front heart.
I thought that having two uteruses/uteri/wombs/whateverthefuck was probably enough anatomical abnormality for one woman. But no! My creator was evidently holding the instructions the wrong fucking way round – as well as losing track of what he’d already done and what he hadn’t.
The aorta – that’s the biiiiiiiiig Majorly and Highly Important main artery that rises up out of the top of the heart – should curve over to the left (patient’s left, remember) and down into the abdomen, like so.
The vena cava, which is the biiiiiiiiig Majorly and Highly Important main vein that brings the blood back, should run into the heart on the right hand side like so.
And mine… ummm… don’t. They are completely transposed, all the way down into my abdomen. And I can’t show you a picture of that because – and you’ll never guess what – I can’t find one that shows it, apart from x-ray films, because it appears to be… rare.
(‘You’re anatomically very special!’ enthused my GP’s clerk this morning.
‘I was already special’, I snarled at him.)
‘I’m sure your heart will continue to work fine!’ consultant radiologist said. ‘Although your GP might think a closer look is a good idea, particularly taking your didelphys into account. And you need to be very careful if you ever have surgery to make sure your doctors know about it, particularly abdominal surgery.’
Ahh. You mean, the type of surgery I was supposed to have this month but put off until next year because totally BusyBusyBusy?