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Flu jabs and chronic illness

Just a friendly reminder for anyone with a chronic illness or vulnerable people that it is flu jab time!

Flu jab chronic illness

 

The NHS says:

Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications.

Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.

However, flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:

  • anyone aged 65 and over
  • pregnant women
  • children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
  • children and adults with weakened immune systems

Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it’s recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to help protect them.

Chronic illness flu jab NHS

Ive had flu once and ended up in hospital for a couple of weeks, it was horrific! I’ve never felt so ill in my life. People say all the time “oh I’ve got flu!” The chances are they don’t!

The doctor told me it’s the £10 note test, if you have flu and someone told you there was a tenner on the floor outside your house, you wouldn’t have the energy or inclination to move. Not sure quite how true that is but when I had flu it felt like even my hair hurt. I couldn’t move and even breathing hurt.

I had to call my GP to get on the list as Id been missed off, but now I get an annual letter to go in. It takes a couple of minutes and it’s all done.

If you are unsure whether you should have it or not, get in touch with your GP for more advice.

✌🏽 & ❤️

Sam xx

 

Matron, Medicine and Me – 70 years of the NHS

I was thrilled to be interviewed for the BBC’s Matron, Medicine and Me which was aired recently.  The episode I was on was hosted by Fern Britton who went back to the hospital that saved her life from sepsis a few years ago, there were lots of amazing stories shared about the NHS and if you’d like to watch it again, head over to the iplayer here.

You can see my interview here.

 

Love Sam xx

Happy birthday to the NHS

I had never thought about the privilege of having free point of care medical treatment until I starting blogging and readers from around the world shared their hospital bills with me explaining how much they pay for the surgeries and treatment I receive for free.

I’d never considered my finances before heading to the doctors, never checked my bank account before deciding whether to have a colonoscopy, never checked my insurance before having life saving surgery.

We are so lucky in the UK, our NHS saves lives every single day and we take it for granted. Without the NHS my life would be so drastically different, I’ve had 7 surgeries over 5 years, months in hospital when you add it all up, I’ve had world class surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses, specialist nurses, stoma care and so much more. And not once have I had to make a decision between treatment and my mortgage.

NHS saved my life

The NHS saved my life, more than once!! And I just wanted to take a moment to say a huge thank you and happy birthday to the NHS at 70.

I took part in the BBC’s Matron, Medicine and Me: 70 years of the Nhs that will be on in a couple of weeks and I couldn’t be more grateful to the amazing care I’ve received over the past 5 years.

But it’s in danger, we need to protect this wonderful service that takes care of us from birth to grave, we need to ensure that in another 70 years, our children and grandchildren will have the same care that we’ve been privileged enough to receive.

Lets nurture the service that has always nurtured us.

Happy Birthday NHS! ❤️

Dear tea lady,

Dear Tea Lady,

I am so sorry that I don’t know your name, but every time we have met (which has been probably 20 times over the past three and a half years!) I have been dreadfully ill and self indulgent.  I do genuinely feel bad that I can’t remember your name as you have been one of the most important people in my recovery.  But I’m going to blame the drugs.

So dear Tea Lady of the Northern General hospital, I wanted to write a big thank you letter to you.  I have had 4 of my 5 surgeries at your hospital and benefitted from the wonderful care of top surgeons, consultants, anaesthetists, specialists, registrars, doctors, students, nurses and support workers.  All of these people gave me the most brilliant support and health care, I am so lucky to live in the UK and get free at the point of care, world class treatment.

I have had my colon removed, an ostomy created, a jpouch created, a jpouch removed, two hernias fixed, a rectum and anus removed and another ostomy created.  I have also spent weeks and weeks in hospital receiving medication, treatment, blood transfusions and care.

hospital pouch ibd ulcerative colitis

But you know the person who made me feel so much better every day? Yep, it was you!

I saw my consultant for a couple of minutes on their morning rounds, the doctors if something is going wrong, nurses through the day who are so busy and overworked and though I am sure they would like to spend a little more time with patients, they just can’t, I saw support workers, specialists and that huge team for the surgeries themselves.  Yet it was your face that made me smile several times a day.

You make your rounds with your tea cart and after day one, take the time to remember, not only my name, but also how I take my tea! It is a small yet important part of my hospital day, a little feeling of personal care and a reminder of home.

You made me feel special, when you spend a lot of time in hospital, you very quickly become institutionalised, it’s so easy to end up feeling like a number.  But you made me feel like a person, a person who likes their tea strong, yet milky and with one sugar.

I wonder if you know just how important your role is? Do you understand that you become a part of so many people’s recovery story.  You are the person I saw the most, a constant, nurses change from shift to shift, you only see doctors if something is going wrong, yet you are the person I saw several times a day, every day.  Your days off is always a sad one.

And so I want to thank you.

Thank you for all the tea, thank you for the extra biccies on the evenings where you thought I looked like I needed them, thank you for remembering me, thank you for knowing I am a person, not just a patient, thank you for the times you noticed I looked sad and came and touched my hand and made eye contact, thank you for taking your time to speak to me, thank you for the magazines you brought over when I was bed ridden, thank you for telling me about yourself, thank you for the gossip, thank you for being wonderful.

Tea Lady, you are awesome. (And I am really sorry that I can’t remember your name)

Sam xx

How to not be a dick patient in hospital

I have spent a lot of time in hospital on the wards, it adds up to months and months of my life and in that time, I have seen a lot.  Mostly good stuff, but some things that set my teeth on edge!  I love our NHS, we are so lucky to have one of the best health care systems in the world that is free at the point of use.  Our NHS is run on nurses, wonderful, brilliant, hard working nurses, as well as a whole plethora of support staff, doctors and surgeons who work together to give us outstanding care.

I know it goes wrong sometimes, I have had the odd bad experience with nurses and doctors and that’s not ok.  But you know what is really bloody wrong? The amount of crap nurses have to put up with from some patients, and so I thought I would give you my guide to avoid being the patient everyone dislikes, how to not be the one who sets the staff’s teeth on edge, how to not be a dick patient in hospital.

dick3

 

Be polite.

It’s a simple one, but oh, so important.  I know you may be in pain, frightened, at your lowest ebb, but manners cost nothing.  Say please and thank you.  People are doing things for you, therefore you should thank them for their time and effort.  Need a bed pan? Don’t demand, ask nicely.  Has a member of support staff just cleaned your shit up? Say thank you!

You aren’t more important than anyone else

Your illness is important to you, but your pain and suffering is no more or less important than anyone else on the ward.  Your needs will be prioritised by someone in the know.  Don’t assume you should get attention above others.  I have seen it a million times when a patient calls your nurse away from you.  Wait your turn!

Be humble

If you are laid in bed and unable to do anything for yourself then no matter how much money is in your bank or how important your job is, you are at the bottom of the food chain, so be humble and grateful to those around you.  That woman mopping the floor is currently lapping you, so thank her.  The man making you a cup of tea is beating you in the ‘being able to get out of bed, go to work and make tea’ status, so smile and be grateful.

hospital drip stand IBD disability

 

Don’t be a dick

I know you may be in pain and feeling terrible, you are probably scared and shaken, but don’t be a dick about it.  The staff know it is hard being a patient and want to do everything to make you comfortable, they don’t deserve to be shouted at, mocked or abused.  I have heard patients loudly comment about nurse and support staff’s weight, appearance and sexuality.  Not cool.  Not cool at all.

Speak up, don’t scream out

If you are struggling, speak up.  But don’t scream out.  It can be frustrating and anger inducing to be in hospital, but don’t lay this at the feet of the people caring for you.  They are at work and doing their job, they are human and don’t deserve to be a verbal punching bag for you.

ibd hospital jpouch canula medications

Be respectful

Respect is a two way street, I have seen patients scream at nurses, call them names and then whinge that they aren’t liked and everyone ignores them.  The people caring for you are doing a tough job, give them credit for caring for you for little more than the living wage.

Think of your fellow patients

You may be at your lowest point, but it’s likely that so are the other 7 people on your ward, so think of them too.  Keep the noise down, smile at them, don’t be nosy about their private medical needs.  “So, what you had done?” is never really an ok question in my books.  If people want to talk about themselves they will, don’t pry.

sam cleasby ulcerative colitis ibd ileostomy surgery

If it’s good, say so…

If you are receiving great care, then say so, thank the person, tell them how much of a difference they are making to you.  If you feel a certain person has made your life so much easier, then let them know.  My nursing friends tell me that even in their worst nightmares of shifts, the praise and gratitude of one patient can make it all better.

 

So much is put on the behaviour and attitude of NHS staff, and rightly so.  They should have to behave in a way that is respectful, caring and professional, but us patients have our role too and we need to think of others even in our own greatest time of need.

 

Sam x