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. 

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?

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!

B12

Emma is 16 days old and I’m getting to grips with limited and interrupted sleep.

I’m getting to grips with breast feeding and being peed on and explosive projectile poo.

I’m getting the hang of this mothering business.

After having Emma, I was told I had to take Iron tablets, as well as antibiotics (2 lots!) and the many pain relief tablets, not to mention daily injections to prevent DVT and PE (for the next 6 weeks!)

It was a pretty easy labour and birth (thanks to my epidural) however I lost a litre of blood. Which is apparently quite a lot to lose. However months and months of taking prenatal vitamins meant that my iron stores were very good and despite losing a litre of blood my iron count was still 10.9 after delivery.

Even though my iron count was still pretty good, I had to take the iron tablets (standard if your level is 12 or lower it seems) and then have a follow up blood test 2 weeks after the birth.

I had my blood test yesterday morning. This morning my doctors surgery sent me a text message asking me to make an appointment as my results showed a B12 deficiency which required further injections for me.

People may complain about the NHS, but that’s pretty good going, having a blood draw yesterday and then getting the results back the very next day.

I don’t like the fact that I have to have more injections, or the fact that if my body doesn’t manage the deficiency and resolve itself then i’ll be on these injections for the foreseeable future.

My pregnancy at the start was OK, the sciatica was a bitch, the middle it got a bit more difficult, what with the increased sciatica and the itching, and by the end I could hardly walk on most days, my skin was scabby from the blood I’d drawn scratching my itches and I was ready to be a mother, ready to stop vein pregnant.

Labour? Well, they reckon that you don’t remember the pain. Ha! It’s 2 weeks on and it’s still fresh and clear in my mind. I certainly won’t be forgetting it and neither will I be in any hurry to experience it again.

The best part of my labour was the moment my epidural was cited and the pain went away. The gas and air was pretty awesome too.

By the end of it, I had this pretty awesome teeny weeny bundle of amazingness.

She’s worth every pain and medicine and cringey moment where I have to inject myself.

Still not too happy about the B12 deficiency though.