Fight for it – Chronic Illness Challenge, Day 22

How do you feel you have been treated by the medical system? Explain. 

Well, urgh, part of me really doesn’t want to answer this because I have so much respect for the NHS and it’s employees. For the care and compassion they provide in an increasingly difficult environment. 

But when you mix the medical profession with some chronic illnesses you come up against issues. ME is one of these conditions. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts there is a lot of people that disbelieve the exsitance of ME, sadly many of such people work within the NHS. 

ME is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a neurological condition and has been since the 1960’s, there are also NICE guidelines on how to treat it. Thus, you would think that all medical professionals would take it seriously, but sadly this appears not to be true. 

I have been told that my condition is “all in my head”, I have been treated like I was going mad until I was actually convinced I was. I have been told my other doctors that my condition “does not exist”and that I’m silly. I have been denied treatment and various referrals because it’s “just ME” or it’s “just Fibro”. My life has been made more difficult both physically and emotionally because of other people’s inability to empathise, understand or, it seems believe and follow the findings and guidance of their profession. 

That said other GP’s have been amazing, pushed through referrals, put up with me in tears at appointment, got me the help I needed and have written amazing letters that have helped me get the support I have in place. There are two particular GP’s that have been there for me every step of the way, including during my pregnancy with Wildchild and I cannot fault them. 

The nurses and consultants I have seen in my time have been kind, compassionate, empathic and have really wanted to genuinely help me. They have listened to everything I have had to say and taking me completely seriously, coming up with plans to help me as best they can. They have improved various parts of my chronic collection to the point where they are bearable and manageable. They’ve provided me with water, held my hand as I’ve cried and sat with me when I needed someone. 

When I was hospitalised when pregnant with Wildchild, the midwives and ob-gyn doctors took note of my ME care plan and put me in a side room, with dim lights and tried not to bother me when it wasn’t necessary. Also, knowing that long term hospitalisation would likely cause me more harm than good they arranged for me to go home, and visit the hospital daily for monitoring and tests. Obviously not ideal but much better for my health than a prolonged inpatient stay. Community midwives came to my home when I was too unwell to attend clinics, visiting me at my parents home when I had to stay with them during the day. Without question, without argument. 

When I have had to visit A&E (Emergency Room for those Americans reading) they have always been amazing kind. You see, a few of my conditions, when viewed together often trigger their protocols for things like sepsis and cardiac problems. I go in when this happens as one day, the likelihood is that one of this things might happen and I will miss it, putting it down to existing conditions. They work on the principle of “better safe than sorry” and I’ve been told multiple times they would rather see me and it be one of my chronic collection acting up than not see me and it be something else. I will regularly sit there and apologise to everyone I see, telling them that I’m sorry for wasting their time. They always smile and inform me that I’m not. 

For example, my last A&E visit was last year, when I was two days away from going on holiday. I suffer from recurring infections for which I always have emergency antibiotics to start taking if certain symptoms arise. This particular time I had about half of my normal symptoms but was going away so I phoned 111 for their advice. Of course I ticked all their boxes for A&E and because of the impending holiday I went. Apologising the entire time, as usual. They took me in, triaged me immediately, took an ECG and sent me to ACU and took bloods. A doctor came and after a chat with me (with me still apologising) decided that although my readings were abnormal in the general scheme of things that were normal for me, if I had an infection. They sent me home and told me to take the antibiotics. But they understood and were happy I came in and get checked over. 

So, overall, my experiences with the medical profession have been positive. The majority of doctors have treated me well and all the nurses, consultants and midwives I have been amazing. The problem is the negative experiences I have had have been hard hitting and made a huge impact on my experiences through my illnesses. I am also nervous about seeing new doctors and new consultants. I’m always anxious they will be another professional to add to my “don’t see” list. 

Anyway, the point is, I would never dream of being negative about the NHS. It has its problems right now but the NHS itself is not to blame. The people that work within it do so out of a genuine love of helping people and caring for people. I would be much sicker if it was not for the NHS it is amazing system that needs to be invested in, understood and appreciated. It needs to be loved and cared for, and saved. I am so completely thankful that I have access to healthcare that doesn’t cost me a fortune. Where I don’t have to suffer just because I am poor. The NHS is the most amazing healthcare system in the world. Fight for it. 

“The NHS will last as long as there are folk with the faith to fight for it” – Nye Bevan

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