So this weekend for the first time in a long time I’ve been poorly. Not mentally, but physically. A horrible head cold, headache, blocked ears, headache, itchy throat, running nose, the usual. Now being rational – it’s a cold. That’s it! Drink plenty of water, maybe a couple of paracetamol, some fresh air & have some rest. But no I have anxiety and a personality disorder, so clearly I have a terrible disease. What do I do? I google!
Laid awake at 3am with a hot bottle against my ear, wondering which of the hundreds of pages of infections & deadly diseases I could have. It is then I began to wonder why I worry so much when it comes to physical illness.
Having anxiety was always going to enhance my worry, but seeking validation I asked myself why, even after seeing a nurse or GP sometimes, I don’t believe them. And here it is. The list. As I lay awake I thought only of the things they missed & clearly I hold onto that:
- When I was aged 8, I trapped my thumb in a car door which was locked. It was bandaged up. Two days later I ended up admitted to hospital with blood poisoning
- When I was 10 I was hit in the eye with a tennis ball. It bled & my pupil became rugby shaped, but I was sent home & told to let the blood drain. So I had to lay flat for a week. My mum eventually took my back and they realised I’d detached my retina, if they didn’t operate soon, I would lose my sight. The operation went smoothly & I am still grateful to this day for the consultant that saw me & my mums persistence
- My first daughter was 10lb 7oz and the doctors & nurses argued during my labour whether they should take me for a c section. Eventually after 3 hours of pushing, they pulled my not so little Millie out with forceps & I was unable to hold her as I was rushed to surgery because I had third degree tears. I was told afterwords that after an hour of pushing they should have looked at a C Section. The surgery went on to leave many more problems later in my life.
- Nigel’s mum passed away during heart surgery. They hadn’t scanned her for 18 months before her surgery, so her condition had worsened & no-one was prepared for that in theatre
- Nigel’s Dad was told he had a collapsed lung, before realising it was terminal lung cancer, he passed away 9 months later
- I had taken Laila, my 2nd daughter to the GP 3 days running at 9 weeks old with a bad cough & turned away each time as a worrying new mum. My mum eventually made me take her to hospital, where within the hour I had to hold down my poor baby while they inserted feeding tubes and attached her to oxygen as she had bronchitis. She was in hospital for almost a week
- I pushed for almost 15 years for a laparoscopy, where they finally found my endometriosis & it took a change of GP and another 2 years before I had my hysterectomy
- My mum was told all her cancer had been removed in her ovaries, before she even knew she had cancer. She had quarterly check ups. In fact she was given an all clear at one of these check ups just 2 weeks before they found a terminal tumour, and she passed away 6 weeks later
- Having attended the hospital on 3 occasions myself with breathing difficulties & discharged, I collapsed & was taken into hospital in London & diagnosed with adult onset asthma. A hospital stay that could have been avoided had I been given medication earlier.
- I have been attending my GP and been on anti-depressants since 16 years old, that’s 19 years and have just been finally diagnosed. I am now on a waiting list for therapy estimated for me to start DBT in January 2020, on the 2 year waiting list
All of these things were different health care professionals and I don’t blame any of them. Everyone makes mistakes & I feel lucky we have the NHS. I have a wonderful CPN now who does what she can in the time she has but ultimately they are underpaid, tired, overworked & under-resourced, so mistakes happen. It’s just a shame so many of these things have happened to me & my family. So when you see me moaning about a cold or a headache & I’m thinking the irrational worst, take a moment to know I back it up with validation, however irrational it may seem. I wish I didn’t have the trusts issues that make my experience, along with anxiety so difficult to put my faith into medical professionals. And I hope with time, my faith will be restored. With all that said I am grateful for the wonderful work they do.
- My two healthy children
- My husband facial surgery after a fractured cheekbone
- My hysterectomy
- The medications I take to function with my anxiety, emotionally unstable personality disorder, HRT, my asthma inhalers & allergy tablets
I guess this isn’t meant to come across as a criticism but as an explanation as to why I worry so much when there are physical illness signs in my family