Not easy for me to write the following piece. Mainly because it involves taking pot shots at our NHS. I have worked for several years within that organisation, seen the many and varied sides of the day to day things that go on. To try and sum all that up would take many hours, I am not going to even try. I will say this though, the altruistic ones who battle on are eventually dragged down by the added weight of the "not my job" factions, of which there are far too many. It is overly simplistic to leave it at that, even those disinterested employees have their reasons, namely increasing workloads and decreasing reward. Simple really.
I have also been able to look outwards at our NHS as a patient, not with trivial issues, but actual life threatening ones. Some of which are progressive and require constant attention to prevent becoming a blind amputee or even death. This is why I have decided to write it all out here, I make no personal accusations nor do I wish to increase any problems which that beleaguered organisation faces everyday. It is just too important for me to ignore, I can stand my ground with anyone, I have done it many times re different issues on live national television, front pages of newspapers, live radio and many times in forums and meetings.
So, as you read though this, try to put yourself in my shoes.
Here goes nothing eh ?
As a Diabetic I carry a particular piece of kit that is critical to me maintaining my health to a reasonable standard. An Insulin pen. This is used to administer my daily doses of the Two Insulins that I require. Usually I take Four injections per day. These doses are the main factors in controlling my Blood Glucose readings. Get the Insulin wrong and everything else will be wrong. High levels of BG are really not acceptable, low are worse.
So, over recent weeks I had noticed these BG readings becoming more and more erratic, which was puzzling as my diet has been good, exercise good, nothing had changed, yet the readings became worryingly high or low. I did not know what was wrong.
Now, I usually order my monthly Meds online. In total, directly due to the Diabetes I get Six different Meds per month. Plus various needles etc, not a small amount and the cost would be way beyond me. (more of that later).
I notice that when I am taking my Insulin it is not all being delivered properly. Which means I am not adhering to the formula which has been worked out for me, that being Two units of Insulin for every Ten grams of Carbs. Maybe this is the cause of the problems. I can take no chances so I make a visit to the GPs to order a new pen. Should be quite straight forward ? Errrr NO. The cost of this visit - I already know better than to try and do such things on the phone or online- being £4-20.
I said it as clearly and concisely as reasonably possible and left and returned home.
Thinking all was well I returned on the following Saturday (Jan 11th) to pick up the PEN. Here's where things take a sharp down turn. In the Pharmacy they have no pen and know nothing about it. What has been sent through is a pack of Insulin cartridges. Now maybe it's me, Pen ? Cartridge ? , I do not take the cartridges as they are time limited and I don't need them, plus with a dodgy pen what would be the point ? let us go on.
This leaves me with a dodgy pen and worsening BG numbers. At this point my BG numbers have been exceeding safe limits for a few days. It is Saturday and I see no way out. What to do ? I leave it and the next day my readings are again not at all good.
Before I go any further I should highlight that Ambulances have called at my house quite a few times, Not for trivial things, things that have required Morphine and Oxygen etc. So I do not call for one easily and greatly value the help the crews have provided me with over the last few years. Back to my pen episode.
On the Sunday ( Jan 12th) I realise that something has to happen. When you are in my position you are only too well aware of the penalties for neglecting your self care.
I ring 111. Something which you should really only do if you have no other option. Not for the reasons you would instantly think, but because of the following- they are untrained medically and are only there to field calls. I do not care about how people try to dress up their role, you end up dealing with them if you have a complicated set of conditions and you soon realise how out of their depth they really are. The upshot of my first contact is "go to A&E".
I am starkly aware that a visit to A&E is totally the wrong thing to do. I do accept that this person is acting in good faith and on a "safety first" footing. That Dept is for those with problems which require instant emergency attention. Usually something which needs to be viewed by a team of experts. Also that department is a good few miles from me and would likely take Four buses and around Two hours for the round trip, at yet more cost. I know what my problem is, a broken piece of kit. Why be sent to A&E ? Out of desperation I call the Pharmacy which is attached to my GPs and explain the situation, to be told "we should have some emergency 24hr supplies but we are out of stock",, another blind alley. They tell me to "ring around open Pharmacies" !
It also transpires that a Dr would have to write a prescription for a new pen. It is Sunday.
I again ring 111, the call fielder spots that I had rang earlier and asks if my condition has worsened ? I ask if it is possible to speak to a Dr and this is not deemed possible. The person on the line runs though the routine one size fits all questions and decides to get a "medical practitioner" to call me back soon. Sure enough a little while later the phone rings and the person again runs through the routine questions and decides that I need an Ambulance. AT NO POINT did I request an Ambulance. At no point during this entire saga did anyone show any appetite for putting me in touch with a Dr, I have to ask why ? Surely a Dr would have listened and acted accordingly, a Dr may even have put forward that waiting until tomorrow, though far from ideal, would have been the thing to do, or may even have supported the A&E option.
I will leave this here for now, we are at the Five min read limit. I don't like to go much beyond that. I will pick this up again in a couple of days.
Please help me by spreading word of this blog. Many thanks.