Mind Our Minds

I’ve (in the last 5 months) become very involved with a new non-profit organisation called Mind Our Minds UK. Leading a team of Social Media and Public Relations volunteers.

Soon I’ll be raising money for the company too, as we aim to become a charitable organisation. 

We focus on improvement of NHS services and all staff on the team are service users too, with varying experiences of the UK Mental Health Services via the NHS.  

Please come visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. We are currently working on our website (exciting!)

We also have an Instagram account too, where we share submissions from our members. 

I feel very honoured to be a part of this organisation. 

Hep Hep Hooray…

We moved in July, and have been pretty lax about sorting out a new GP service closer to home. 

Finally sorted it out this week, took all the forms in, ID, Proof of Address and Emma’s Red Book. Last step was for a Health Check. A human MOT if you like. Go through medical history, weight, height, blood pressure, etc. 

Got told things I already knew. Yep, I’m fat, so fat that my BMI (stupid system) reckons I should have died a week ago. I need to exercise more, eat less, and become skinny with a tiny BMI number. Yup. Well the health care guy didn’t say those exact words, but that was the gist. Apparently we should be going to the gym 4 times a week. Hmmmmmm. As if. 

He told me I should check my breasts daily. To be fair if notice if they were gone. HA! Sorry. Yep. I check them often. I know that if I find a lump then I need to get an exam done. 

Then came my urine sample. Thanks to my lovely pot of pee, I’m now having a series of tests for diabetes. Apparently my sample contained high traces of glucose. And showed I may have a UTI brewing.

So far, I’ve gone in relatively healthy (barring tonsillitis) and I’ve potentially got diabetes and a UTI.

Next thing I know, Daniel tells me Emma’s picked something up. I turn to see, and she sticks me in the side with a needle. I pull it out and take it off her. It’s a hypodermic needle, used. Emma gets checked over, is fine, gets a biscuit. Health care guy doesn’t seem concerned at all, that my kid has picked up a needle from the floor under my chair and stuck it in me. He puts it in the bin, the NORMAL waste bin.

Husband has his health check and I go to sit in the waiting room, with my various sample pots and paperwork for my diabetes lab work, and a HIV screening paperwork.

It’s bothering me now, so I tell the receptionist what happened, and a few moments later I’m in a room with the practice manager. 

Now I’m having to add a load of other tests to my blood draw appointment (for the HIV screening) as well as having a Hep A/ Hep B combined vaccination. 

It begs belief that someone can complete their GP registration and then come out with paperwork for god knows how many lab works to be done, and vaccinations. To be done on Christmas Eve no less. *sigh*

I also still have bloody tonsillitis. 

But at least my BP is good! 108/71.

Here’s to a Healthy 2016!

Oilatum Junior

products sent (not shown – towel & candle)

Emma hasn’t had amazing skin since she was little. She’s got a mild form of eczema, which doesn’t really present a problem, but we were given some cream for her to use after her baths. 

So when I was asked if I wanted to review Oilatum Juniors new range for kids, of course I said yes! We’d already been sent a bottle of the lotion, which we found was much better for Emmas skin than the generic emollient cream we were prescribed. It was less greasy and tacky for a start.

Included in the gift basket we got were some very cool things to make bathtime more fun! (Or funner…should I say)

A lovely soft white hooded towel from The White Company, bath toys and a lovely bath thermometer. Not to mention a lovely smelling candle for me to use once bathtime was over and I needed to recuperate! Bathtime is exhausting with a toddler!

In 2012 a survey was taken by 280 parents (16-64) with children between the ages of newborn and 16. 44% of these parents claimed that their child/ren have had a dry skin condition. Oilatum launched a new range (see above!) to help parents care for their children’s skin. The Oilatum Junior range contains ultra mild products that have been expertly formulated with dermatologists to gently and effectively clean the skin of little people (and bigger people!) without the worry of skin becoming aggravated and to help combat an prevent dry skin.

The Oilatum Junior Cleansers Range contains these items; (see photo above)

~a shampoo, which is soap free and also contains a gentle conditioner to help with tangles

~a head to toe daily wash

~a foaming bubble bath

~a moisturise lotion

Oilatum Junior very nicely sent us all 4 products and we love them. They clean really well, and Emmas skin is noticeably less dry. We wash her hair twice a week (unless she some how managed to get something disgusting in it) and the shampoo leaves her hair clean, soft and smelling really nice. I could sit and smell her for hours (she doesn’t sit still though!) The moisturiser isn’t greasy or sticky and absorbs really well, and doesn’t stain your clothes either. 

Definitely products that we will continue to buy and use as well as recommend to others.

You can buy the range of products at all leading grocery stores and chemists.

Much thanks to Jen and the team at Oilatum Junior!

The views and opinions posted are my own, however products were gifted to me by Oilatum Junior for review. 

Plague

I have the plague.
I may also be exaggerating there, but I AM sick.

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I’ve had sinuses issues on and off since I caught a horrible cold in December. I had it, The Husband had it and so did Emma. Hers turned into bronchiolitis, which was horrible.
Since then, it’s been illness after illness and I’ve spent a fortune on OTC medication and remedies to help me breathe.

Then I got another sinus problem, it was manageable. Until Monday morning, when I awoke with conjunctivitis in both eyes AND a cold sore. I needed more nasal spray and decongestant and pain relief, and now eye drops and cold sore patches. (And I saw some Ashton & Parsons teething powder, which is so hard to come by now) so £47 later, I was stocked up.

Then Tuesday came.
My cold sore? Was more less small sore, more huge great big sore. My lip began to swell to epic proportions and everyone I encountered said I should see a doctor.

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The last time I had a cold sore was 3 years ago, when we first moved into our flat. It was stressful, thanks to the bank continually screwing up. That time, it was twice the size of the Day 2 picture. I saw the GP then and she was gobsmacked. After 10 days it went away and left behind a small red scar (which is only noticeable to me)

This time, the very nice (and HOT) GP, gave me a full check over. Red ear drums, red throat, swollen glands, blocked sinuses, slight temperature, it is a virus. Of which I just have to let run it’s course.

The cold sore, well he too hadn’t seen one quite so bad apparently and promptly printed me a prescription for some antiviral tablets that are good for HSV and the chickenpox and shingles virus.

3 tablets in, as well as some anti-inflammatory drugs with Lysine (apparently good for HSV) and my cold sore (see Day 2 midday photo above) is getting better.

The sinus problems? Not so much.
Sinus headaches are the absolute worse.
Especially when you have to be really careful of how much pain relief you take.
I don’t fancy adding accidental overdose to the mix of health concerns right now.

So stay away, lest you catch the plague that has infested our household.

Doctors Orders

On Friday, I completely disregarded my GPs advice. Why? Because it was a Friday night, and I didn’t want to spend my Friday night in Accident & Emergency with the very possible chance of being admitted.

There are on occasions, times where I cannot praise the NHS more, especially when it has come down to my mental health illnesses. My GP is one of the best GPs I have ever had and the team she works with are also fantastic. But they have their limitations, and on occasions, like the Friday just gone, I just don’t have the energy to deal with all of the red tape that I find myself wrapped in. So I ignored my GPs advice.

My GP surgery opens at 7am and closes at 7pm on most days of the week. I have never had a problem getting a same day GP appointment. They do blood tests, antenatal, post-natal, asthma clinic, and the like in house (my previous GP made you go to the hospital where you had to wait for a minimum of an hour and a half for a simple blood test), so unless I need to see a consultant or specialist or I need some sort of imaging, then my GP is a one stop shop. It’s great. Unless it’s the weekend.

You see, last May, I found myself in the hospital with suspected appendicitis. I had a GP appointment for that day (3 hours after I called them) to be seen by the doctor, but it escalated quickly and well, I then spent three days in the hospital. After 3 days my symptoms stopped and the surgical team decided I was ok and could go home but with strict instructions to come back should it happen again.

3 weeks later it happened again. After having spent 3 days in hospital for pretty much no reason, I didn’t want to go back, after all someone else probably needed that hospital bed more than I did. So I called my GP who consulted over the phone and then told me to come in the next morning to be seen before her first patient. (Is she good or what?!)
We decided that unless my symptoms became very serious (vomiting, high temperature with shivering) then I could manage without going back to the hospital and if it occurred to telephone her again.

It happened again. 6 hours later it was fine.
Then again, and then again. All at inappropriate times, night out with The Husband for anniversary dinner, rare trip to the cinema, etc.

No rhyme or reason, just random times, normally afternoon or evening, I’d suddenly be doubled over in excruciating pain, The Husband asking if he should call an ambulance, me refusing.

After the fifth time, I went back to the GP, who agreed that it definitely was not normal and needed investigation and who instructed me to see a doctor straight away if it happened again. Either come into the surgery, or go to urgent care and Accident and Emergency if it’s out of hours, so that they could catch this problem “in the act” thus enabling them to resolve it promptly.

You see, the NHS will not perform surgery (which my GP thinks will be needed) unless it has several test results confirming the doctors diagnosis. Which means that I have to have quite a few tests done, and I have to wait for appointments to be scheduled.

First up, blood. Easy enough. So easy in fact, that it’s already done and I have the lovely bruise to show for it.
Second, an ultrasound, which takes time. Once that’s done if it’s inconclusive (which apparently it is more often than not) then an MRI and endoscopy (dependent on whether the GP is having a good or bad day, LOL) which is more time. You’re looking at a minimum of 6 weeks, followed by a week for results, followed by another 6 weeks and so on.

This, people, is where the NHS frustrates me. Accident and Emergency is for that purpose exactly. My condition is not an accident and very likely not an emergency (unless I turn yellow or have febrile convulsions). In the time it’s taken for me to have the blood test, and await results, I’ve had what the GP calls a “flare”. I could have gone to Accident and Emergency, yes, but it was a Friday night. Ever tried getting an ultrasound or MRI on a Friday night? Unless it’s a very real emergency, it doesn’t happen, mainly because the department staff required for ultrasounds and MRIs are not available as those departments are core hour departments. In cases where it’s a serious emergency, radiographers need bleeping, they’re on call. Routine diagnostics wait until the next working day, unless your hospital is lucky enough to have the staff and budgets to open them on weekends.

It’s tricky, waiting for tests means I experience more “flares” which increases my risk of having to go to the hospital as an emergency patient. However my condition isn’t an emergency or accident (yet), so by going to the hospital during a flare up as suggested by my GP, takes away the time of a doctor from someone else who may need it more than I do.

I am learning to become functional when I have these “flares”, simply because I cannot just pop down to A&E or the GP at such short notice at 7pm in the evening. I refuse to take Emma to hospital anyway because I don’t want to put her health at risk. I think my pain tolerance has improved too, because I managed to do Emma’s bath-time during the last episode rather than curling up into a non-functional ball. I am hoping that these diagnostic tests are quick, but I am not optimistic, because the NHS is stretched beyond it’s means as it is.

But more than anything, I am hoping that my next flare up happens at a suitable time, like say a Monday at 2pm, when The Husband is at home and I happen to be on a train and the next stop is the one for the hospital. Ha! As if i’d ever be that lucky.

The one thing that I hope definitely happens? That the diagnostic scans show a positive diagnosis before I become very unwell and have to have emergency surgery, because that would suck.

What I wouldn’t give to have a private healthcare coverage scheme right now, sadly £70 a month is a luxury I can’t afford right now.

Whilst I cannot fault my GP and her team, or the NHS staff who work hard to fix me when I am sick, I cannot help but be frustrated by how long things can take to resolve. I cannot help but also be frustrated by the fact that if I had a spare £70 a month then I wouldn’t have to wait at all.

Let’s just hope it’s resolved before my liver begins to fail.

I quite like my liver.

NHS Limited Edition Super Hero

It’s not very often I get to catch up on the news. So whilst on the train this morning, I did just that.
When I saw, on my Sky News App, a story about a member of NHS Management, who is paid £175k a year, who has done a motivational video for staff.

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Quoting from my app – “A £175,000-a-year NHS boss dressed up as Superman and danced through a hospital for a motivational video that has divided viewers.”

I’ve yet to watch the video (poor signal, thanks to moving train) but already I think it’s great. A manager dressed up as superman dancing about the place to encourage staff to exercise.

The NHS goes on about the rising rate of morbidly obese people, and the amount it costs the NHS when they have to fund treatments, give advice, and so on so forth, for obesity related health conditions.

So one Trust is doing something to promote fitness at work, good on them!

I get it that hospitals are busy places an most staff don’t have time to fart much less take a lunch break, but it’s a good idea. The whole practice what you preach phrase springs to mind!

When I was pregnant with Emma, I weighed a huge 92.1kg, the consultant I was referred to (because of my weight, BMI and history of depression) was twice my size. She wrote down my BMI, pushed a leaflet across the desk to me about pregnancy and weight gain and didn’t utter a single word about my weight or BMI.

Funnily enough when she wrote to me an my GP about our appointment she had the cheek to say “we discussed nutrition during pregnancy”.

Ha! Liar Liar pants of fire is another phrase that sprang to mind!

My point is, the NHS are start starting to practice what they’re preaching to their staff. Good on them!

Although quoting Mr Morely – “Mr Morley said the video took 15 minutes to make and cost the Trust nothing.”

That’s not strictly true is it?
On the basis that the video was made during working hours and breaks are paid breaks?

Did it *really* not cost the Trust any money?

I doubt it, but whatever it did cost, I think it was well worth spending!

What’s your opinions on this story?

21

I’m on day 21 of my Bells Palsy.
There has been improvement, slow improvement, but improvement none the less.

I saw the GP who has referred me to the eye clinic as I still can’t close my right eye. They saw me and my eye and no damage has been done.

However if in the next 2-3 weeks I’ve not made a full recovery I will need to be referred to an ENT and Neurology specialist to check for nerve damage.

Lets hope that doesn’t happen!

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Face Ache

That phrase always cracks me up.
Face Ache. Bloody Bells Palsy.

I always used to use it at school with friends as a joke (not a clue why).
“Morning face ache!”
“Did you do Mrs ODs essay face ache?”

Anyway, I digress!

My face? It aches!

There’s tingles and the right side feels like someone thumped me with a brick. To be fair I’ve never been whacked in the head with a brick, golf club yes, brick, no. Don’t ask.

A sign that something is happening no doubt. Which is great, I just wish it didn’t bloody hurt so much. Especially as I’ve run out of paracetamol, so I’ve taken to swigging from a bottle of children’s paracetamol oral suspension. *classy bird*

The GP has referred me to an eye specialist. I can’t actually close my right eye fully, so it has to be kept an eye *no pun intended* on. Something to do with ulceration… Yuck!

I have to wait another 3 weeks now and if I haven’t made a full recovery then I have to be referred to another specialist to determine what damage (if any) has been done.

Shame that the NHS doesn’t have a reward points card. Probably should stop complaining about how much tax and national insurance I’ve paid. Over the last 6 months I think it’s safe to say I’ve clawed all that money back and then some!

I’ll admit. I’m ready to be healthy. Fed up of this malarkey now.

Go away Bells, you’ve out-stayed your welcome!

Not So Perfect 10

Well, I’m on Day 10 of having Bells Palsy now.

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Today I have one last set of corticosteroids to take and then I’m done with the medication.

I’m still not back to normal, and I have no idea how much longer it is going to take. I’m seeing the GP on Wednesday for a review. I have no clue what to expect!

My face still has the odd tingle throughout the day, normally by my chin or nose and my cheek and jaw are now starting to feel quite sore, almost as if I’ve taken a right hook and its been a few days!

From the onset to now, you can see the difference.

Day One

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Day Four

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Day Six

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Day Eight

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I’m hoping that within the next 7 to 10 more days that my face will be back to normal.

I really hope so, because I do not enjoy/like having this condition.

Day 6

I have been taking daily photos since my Bells Palsy kicked off. So I could see if there was any change.

I’m on Day 6 and there is no change at all. However, it hasn’t got any worse, thank god!

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I still slur my speech if I speak for any length of time and I get tired very quickly. I can’t pronounce words that contain B’s or P’s, which is frustrating.
I can’t talk quickly, I have to speak slowly to form my words, which often makes me feel incredibly stupid.

Yesterday I think I felt a small twitch on my right nostril, but I can’t be 100% sure if it was real or if I think it was because I wanted to be. However I’ve just felt it again, so I think it was real!

I am still self conscious, despite The husband saying “despite your wonky face, I still love you” yesterday.

Thankfully I have had no horrible experiences out in public.

It’s just a waiting game now. How long before it starts to resolve? How long before I can eat and drink properly? How long before I can speak without sounding like I’m drunk?

I’ll admit I am fed up of waiting. I want my face back, I want to feel better.

I have a review with the GP next Wednesday. My medication will be completed and hopefully something will have started to change.

If there has been no change at all, then I guess the GP will decide what else we do and when next we review.