The NHS at 70, 70 whole years of free healthcare, that’s what has been all over the tv screens this week, a truly incredible system of universal healthcare which, I believe, is the UK’s finest institution. I am unbelievably grateful to it for so many things, the births of my children, my many surgeries and since 2014, my struggle with chronic pain. All for free and all delivered by incredibly dedicated staff who go above and beyond to make sure that you get the best care that they can deliver. (Plus, I’m also really grateful for my own nurse training back in the Eighties which has stood me in good stead throughout my parenting life – well I hope so anyway!)
So with these celebrations ringing in my ears, it’s time for my Pain Clinic appointment again. I’ve been attending it every 3/4 months, playing around with my meds, tweaking some, stopping one, adding another kinda thing. It’s been a very interesting experience I must say and I’ve been looked after by so many wonderful health professionals but mainly the wonderful Dr B.
Now the wonderful Dr B (Which will henceforth be his official name, well to me anyway) has been with me every step of the way, he’s done all the medication twiddling which has been great but more than that, he’s watched me cry, he’s handed me tissues, he’s held my hand, he’s seen me in my pants, he’s made me laugh but even more than that, he’s remembered EVERY single thing about me.
He remembered my name, my job, exactly what part of my spine I spontaneously fractured (S1), the date of my fracture, he even remembered that P and I had gotten married and asked how it went and wanted to see photos in the next appointment. That’s how truly wonderful the ‘wonderful Dr B’ is.
So why am I writing this post today with tears dripping through my eyelashes? Well, after a thorough review of my meds, levels, dosages etc, we really have hit the end of the road with my medication, we’ve simply run out of options. There is nothing I haven’t tried, nothing else in the book, nothing more out there, nothing at all.
To this, I have nothing to say, I can just look beseechingly at Dr B, then at P and at the nurse and then back to Dr B. He says he can refer me back to the Consultant Anaesthetist team and see if they can come up with something else, a new trial maybe or something else, just anything really. But it’s unlikely.
The nurse suggested a pain management course, I’m up for anything but as she went through it, we discovered that I already am doing everything that the course covers.
I already do meditation, yoga, pacing so really it wouldn’t help much but it would be good to have people around who are in the same boat as me and understand what it’s like being in pain every minute of every hour of every day. Who understand that just because you look ok, doesn’t mean you’re not in pain, who realise that this burden of yours is a very heavy one but which is ultimately borne alone and who are some of the only people who get the dark humour which seems to come when you have a long standing medical condition. (“What? You spent all day in bed yesterday? Lazy bitch!”)
So it was with a heavy heart I said farewell to the wonderful Dr B. It’s a link I didn’t want to break, he has supported me so well throughout these difficult months and years that I’m going to miss his jolly misdemeanour, his sense of humour and his ever smiling face. Always reassuring me that ‘we’ll get there, don’t give up, we’ll crack it, let’s just try this‘ and his classic ” I said one of the side effects was weight gain and boy, have you put on weight since I saw you last” (he actually said it twice 😏)
It just goes to reinforce what we knew anyway – from now on, it’s up to me to follow all the good advice I’ve been given by this awesome NHS and manage my pain myself. It feels a bit like I’ve been cut adrift as it were but with some common sense, the support of my friends, family and my ever loyal P, I’m sure I’ll be ok.
As P said earlier “it’s all going to be fine, it’s only the same as we’re doing now!” So if pottering in my lovely new garden, not exerting myself too much and enjoying this amazing weather, I think I’m going to be able to manage…….! 😌