A day in A&E, and acknowledging the fantastic NHS

I think it’s widely accepted and established that bad, crappy weeks or things often come teamed up with other bad, crappy things. It’s always the way, isn’t it? Whether we are more vulnerable to ‘crappy’ things once we’ve already dealt with stuff, maybe we’re more likely to notice and be effected by ‘crappy’ things or whether ‘crappy’ things do just come in threes, or in teams it’s definitely arguable that when something crap happens other crap things tend to happen.

Now that I’ve finished overusing the word crap I’ll actually get to the point.

Accident and emergency

For the last three weeks or so I’ve been having a few issues with my head (not mental health related). I somehow managed to shut my head in a fire door a few weeks back, which led to a rather hilarious (lack of co-ordination etc) concussion. I then had something up with my lymph nodes, which I think ended up just being a mild form of tonsillitis (it really wasn’t as dramatic as the paramedics initially made it out to be, thankfully). Then, this past weekend I had a bit of a rocky Sunday, which led to me collapsing. Fortunately though I had a speedy recovery, and was able to get back to work fairly quickly.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, despite intense moments where I doubt every fibre of my being, I have in fact developed superhuman strength in response to battling mental illness. It may seem that I’m being slightly pretentious here, but I really, truly believe that tough times (whether it’s mental illness, or any type of illness) lead us to develop a versatile attitude in terms of dealing with difficult, stressful situations. I am definitely a resilient human and I definitely don’t give myself enough credit. To others it may seem I moan a lot (in fact that may just be my anxiety convincing me that I moan a lot) but I think having a ‘moan’ is a way for me to justify and understand certain situations.

This new-found (or newly understood) resilience really helped me yesterday (Friday 11th December). In response to the recent head injury, and other issues I’ve been having – unexplained aches and pains/loss of sight etc. – I’d decided (been persuaded by my colleagues) to register with a new GP. I’ve recently moved house and was awaiting a letter from my previous GP, however I decided I really did need to get my head checked out. (I must admit it’s slightly confusing trying to not be stigmatising here… for this blog post when I’m talking about getting my ‘head checked out’ I’m NOT talking about my mental health… I’m literally talking about my brain/my head/my skull all that kinda physical stuff). 

When I visited my GP yesterday morning I was then sent to the Accident & Emergency department at my local hospital (Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, UK). I was a little worried, overwhelmed and slightly relieved. I’ve been worrying a lot about the possibility of there being a lesion on my brain, which prevented me from actually getting all this checked out. So yesterday I finally plucked up the courage to face this all, though admittedly I wasn’t expected to be directed to A&E.


It was a very long day but, the staff at the hospital were fantastic, they really really were. Plus, I was able to have a chat about cats… which always makes situations less stressful! I’ve been to A&E in the past, mainly for broken bones (I’m a very clumsy human), but I’d never been in the actually ‘ward’ bit of A&E. Basically, when you break a bone you’re seen by a nurse and/or doctor and then sent off to the x-ray department/the bit where they give you a lovely bandage. This time it was different… I had various tests done, and was treated by different people. (I even, embarrassingly saw the paramedic who’d come out to me a few weeks back). What I found most interesting though was being at the centre of the accident and emergency department. Watching the staff working tirelessly to deal with some pretty major stuff. It was also particularly weird, and slightly pride-invoking to see some student nurses from the University I work at (Birmingham City University) working really hard. Seriously, Accident and Emergency teams (all staff included, i.e: porters etc.) are not given enough credit. I’m really incredibly grateful to the wonderful team of staff there yesterday who reassured me and were so lovely (despite how busy it was!)

Thankfully everything – everything that could be dealt with there – was okay in terms of my health and I was discharged about four hours later. I had the okay from neurology to go home, but I’ve been referred to another team for further checks etc. Which, although it’s relieving it’s also slightly frustrating as I went through/dealt with similar stuff like this when I was younger, which led to treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital (again another fantastic British hospital). Hopefully everything will be okay – it’ll be cool to figure out why some unexplained things have been happening in terms of my health, but it’ll be a relief when it’s all over. Also, it goes without saying that – despite the negative media stories, and people who like to moan about the NHS, we are actually very lucky to have the NHS, and they’ve certainly saved my butt a fair few times now!

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Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity

I wanted to finish this post on a positive note, and I wanted to draw your attention to a fantastic project which is currently happening. Project For Awesome 2015 is currently underway, and one of my favourite YouTubers/actress/singer/writer Carrie Hope Fletcher is taking part in the project to raise money and awareness for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. 

You can watch Carrie’s video here:

Project For Awesome is a really cool project: “During Project for Awesome, thousands of people post videos about and advocating for charities that decrease the overall level of world suck. As a community, we promote these videos and raise money for the charities.”

And so far this year it’s already raised over $1,000,000 which is AWESOME. Check out their website for more info: http://www.projectforawesome.com/ 

Check out Carrie’s YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbhNxkjmpQcTJDrabiyzHUw

And check out the incredible Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity: http://www.gosh.org/ 


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