Posted in Mental Health, Sports and Fundraising

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 20th May 2018

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 20 – I am Sorry,

Today I really am feeling sorry for myself.

I should have been in Manchester today. I should be running and remembering those lost last year in Manchester.

But I am not!! And I feel so bad.

I was unwell and sent to hospital, then got sent home in the early hours of the morning to come back for emergency scans and tests, there was no way my body would have held up on the run, but I am determined to run the race – SimplyHealth will not let me defer even with the hospital note so I have to wait until I can put some money aside and wait for 2019 entry and re-enter.

I will get there.

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Posted in Health, Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 4th May 2018

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 4 – To the Doctor who looked at me and said to your colleague “She has Polycystic Ovaries and Abdo Pain- just send her to gynae and they can discharge her”.

Physical health and Mental Health go hand in hand. Several years ago during my first ‘appendix scare’, I ended up in a bed in University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and the consultant surgeon came to see me (along with at least 10 Junior Doctors!!) for an assessment. Now by this point, I was already very hungry and thirsty, alone and in pain. But when the surgeon came and told me to lift my shirt up and before saying anything useful she proceeded to point and say what are these marks you have done to yourself? and of course I had no idea what she was talking about, looked down and was like “what these, they are stretch marks!!” and she looked back at them, actually lifted her eyebrow and rolled her eyes, used the hand sanitiser and bend down to stare at them again before touching me for an abdominal exam.

I must have been no older than 21 but had already battled anorexia and at the time really hated my body. This Doctor made me feel fat, ugly and worthless- yes I was curvy but by no means overweight, my stretch marks came from my weight loss rather than gain and I hated myself. You did not help!!

If you are in the healthcare field and you are reading this, please be a bit more mindful of your body language and comments. Patients are not stupid!! We all go through tough times and the marks on our body usually tell a different story rather than a persons first judgement and opinion.

Posted in Health

To any Healthcare Workers out there….

This article was submitted to my ‘Mighty’ page but has been saved for future release rather than being published straight away.

Roll back to early March 2016: I had just completed training for a new job within the emergency services and it was my first day “set free” to take calls and be “in training.” I felt strange, was having chest pain and really didn’t feel well. Within the first couple of hours into the shift I went home unwell. The 30-mile journey home was the longest ever and I was straight on the phone to NHS direct for advice.

Fast forward to late April, a very long six weeks later. I was still off work and had been to so many nurses, GPs, out of hours and telephone triage appointments I had lost count. That day I spoke to my surgery to request an appointment with a doctor and was told I couldn’t see one but they had a paramedic in the surgery I could see. By this point I had lost the will to live and just wanted the pain to stop.

I will never forget the kindness I received from that paramedic. I was told to go to the hospital and a letter was written and faxed to the emergency department for me to go to see the surgeons.

I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and while this condition is being talked about more, there is still a stigma with the condition. I had abdominal pain that had lasted about six weeks and had been referred to the surgical team, not the gynaecology team.

One of the worst comments I have ever overheard from a person was: “She has polycystic ovaries, just send her to gynae and they can discharge her.”

While this comment may only be minor, I also saw these people shaking their heads and asking about beds for other patients. Might I add, this person was a doctor.

Three days later, I had surgery and my appendix was removed and then two days later I went home. I continued to use the services of my GP, district nurse and NHS Direct as I had an infection in one wound that turned out to be two different infections as well as several water infections.

I will never be the same person again, but I am very thankful to that paramedic who believed me and listened to me and the surgeon who listened to me and didn’t presume it was just my polycystic ovaries – because it wasn’t!!

To any healthcare workers or those who wish to become a healthcare professional: If a patient comes to you with a problem, please do not presume it is “just” their pre-existing condition. Yes, take it into account, but don’t use it as the first excuse to discharge your patient.