On 10th March my wife, Christine, and myself attended a concert at St. Georges Hall, Bradford. During the time when the Omicron virus, a variant of SARS-CoV-2 was spreading. It was a full house, and the audience was predominantly mask free.

A few days after the concert visit Christine started feeling unwell. She had the Covid symptoms we all know. Then a few days later I too felt unwell with the same symptoms. Omicron had gotten us. Luckily, they were mild symptoms for both of us. However, we felt terrible for about a week. We gradually felt better. Christine more so than myself. I had a runny nose which was debilitating. I thought I would give it a few days and it would clear up. I also had a massive headache caused by sinus build up.

My nose continued running along with the sinus headache, so I decided to consult my doctor. 21st March. I was to experience the ‘new way to see a doctor.’ I had seen on the surgery website that you now have to call when the surgery opens. So, I got up from bed, dressed and at 8am “dialled” the surgery. Line busy. After several more attempts I connected, and after mechanical voice instructions to press various numbers for various departments I was eleven in the queue. Twenty-five minutes later the receptionist answered. Now came the challenging part. The battle to see a doctor. After a seemingly endless conversation I was told that the only way I could see a doctor face-to-face was to be at death’s door. I was not yet at that stage, so I was offered a telephone call. I accepted. Just over three hours later Doctor K phoned. I explained my symptoms,’ as above, and asked if he could cure these. He said yes and prescribed a course of Doxycycline, an antibiotic. The telephone conversation lasted less than one minute. I collected a blister pack of eight tablets from my local pharmacy. Two capsules to be taken immediately then one a day.

After a few days I started feeling better. However, the runny nose persisted. I thought it may get better so I waited. It did not stop running. I decided to ring the doctor. 20th April. Same procedure as before. Another telephone call booked. This time Doctor C answered. Symptoms explained. Prescribed Avamys, a prescription only nasal spray. One spray in each nostril daily for sixty days. The spray contains a minute quantity of steroids in each measured spray.

Diligently used the spray as directed. After a week no improvement was found. Sixty days later I used up all the spray and nose still running. So rang surgery. 14th June. The original Doctor K called. Explained I was feeling just as bad as when I called on 21st March. He asked, “Have you been examined?” Said no. So, it was arranged I attend the surgery. I arrived at the agreed time and Doctor K immediately took me into the Treatment Room. Looked up my nose with an instrument. Used a stethoscope to test my heart and lungs. This took less than one minute. Then said will prescribe a dose of Doxycycline and Avamys. To be taken again for sixty days then wait at least ten days and if no positive outcome, then another dose of Avamys. BACK TO DAY ONE!

Took the dose of capsules again and started once more with the nasal spray. Three weeks later my nose was still running. 14th July. Thought I am getting nowhere here. My head is still full of mucus, feeling lousy. Why should this be? I need a second medical opinion. I found out via Google that the waiting time to see an ENT consultant via the NHS was fourteen months. Ridiculous. Decided to go Private. I researched Google for an ENT consultant near me. Found one that held surgery at a local private hospital. Booked an appointment for 20th July next. The cost £185. Just six days away.

20th July. Attended local private hospital. The ENT consultant I had booked introduced himself and invited me into his consulting room. I asked if he would give me his professional opinion on my current condition and if there was a cure. At his request he asked me to outline my recent medical history. He wrote up the details. Then he examined my nose with various medical instruments. Similar to my mouth and ears. At the same time asked questions about how I felt about my condition.

He said in his professional opinion. I was healthy. No sign of anything seriously wrong with my nose except that it was abnormally dry. Which could have been caused by the original complaint in March. Not helped by the nasal spray which is designed to dry your nose. Which has also caused the build-up of mucus causing headaches. To get me back to 100% healthy I should spray morning and night with a saline spray. Continue this until I feel normal, then stop using it.

He said I should have been examined by Doctor K at my first complaint. This would have detected the dry nose condition and correct medicine being prescribed. As for the capsules they were unnecessary each time. He also said, in his words. Avamys is the ‘go-to’ medicine for GP nose complaints. He will write to Doctor K with his findings. So, seventeen and a half weeks of unnecessary suffering. Next time I will demand an examination.

As soon as I got home, I took a saline spray. I felt immediate relief. Twenty-four hours later after a morning’s spray, I feel wonderful. I knew I was not getting the correct treatment and my assumption was correct.

Consultant’s letter below.