Not a good day, although it started OK. Nice bright weather, sunshine and fluffy clouds, not too cold. However, after I did a spot of work with a carpet cleaner, I began to feel out of breath. The machine has a hoover component, which blasts air (containing copious amounts of dust, even on hoovered carpets) back into the air. Which is what went for me. Seriously.
So, after suffering for 7 hours through the afternoon into the evening, when I could only breathe comfortably if crouched forward over a table, and the muscles in my chest were in pain for straining to breathe, I decided that enough was enough, and dialled NHS 24. For my non-British readers, this is the Scottish out-of-hours medical service, which you can ring up if you feel unwell and it can't wait until morning. After being grilled on my personal details and the exact nature of the problem, they sent for an ambulance. I was put on some oxygen during the 10 minute drive across town. At 8.30 pm, I turned up at A&E at Western Isles Hospital, on the northern edge of Stornoway, where I was put on a nebuliser. This handsomely did the trick, as I expected. Had to wait for an hour or two before the doctor could see me, but he was quite happy to send me home with an inhaler and some anti-histamine pills. On return home, I crawled into my bed straightaway; it was 11pm by that time at any rate. The problem was identified as an allergic reaction to dust - something I had worked out myself beforehand. The doctor wanted to see the carpet cleaner, but that is just a soapy solution.
Typing this the following morning, I can add that I feel back to almost my normal self. The inhaler works a treat; one puff and everything is open straightaway. I'm also quite happy that a number of people turned up at the hospital to see how I was, and at the door this morning. I am on a promise not to identify them openly on the Net, but they know who they are.
This is the end of the medical bulletin!