25 October 2016

One Restoration of Faith at a Time...

It is out there. It exists. There really are medical establishments that care; that appreciates your needs; that are willing to take hold of the reins and piece back together the fragmented remains of an incredibly disjointed transition process. I literally could not be happier about writing this incredibly positive post following my visit to the Student Health Centre at Sheffield Hallam today. For the first time, since departing from my previous GP surgery, I felt listened to, understood and supported in achieving my goals for recovery and maintenance of health.

The positivity of this story actually begins a week or so ago, when I had an appointment to speak to a new GP at the Student Health Centre. Having explained my situation to the medical professional- because there was no clear communication of my medical history- the understanding of my situation was immediately appreciated. I was weighed, height measured, with blood pressure and pulse rate recorded and booked in for blood tests to be performed the following day. This routine procedure is something that I have become accustomed to, but not having it performed for a long while, during my transition to university, made my parents and I feel uneasy. Not only that, but the feeling of being forgotten and dropped enhanced the welcoming of the proactive systems displayed by the GP. It was also made certain that I would have my blood test results reviewed with one of the eating disorder specialist nurses that are present in the clinic. It goes without saying that this provided an overwhelming sense of relief for my family and I- an indication that I was still going to be monitored.

So today was my blood test review appointment and unsurprisingly, I anticipated that it would last no more than 30 seconds. Wrong. Having read through the letter that my previous GP had provided me with- which I did hand in on the first day of university and it did not get looked at- the nurse made me feel at ease by congratulating me on my achievements throughout my recovery so far. Raising concerns about the need for me to still be routinely monitored without me even having to ask, I felt safe and cared for. We discussed my physical and emotional state, my eating habits, any difficulties I was experiencing, where to find support, her willingness to see me at any time- it goes without saying that the sense of relief I felt was enormous. I know I have to work on my recovery with a certain degree of independence, but for anybody that has been through what I have, I think you will agree that the knowledge of having somebody there makes the process a little bit easier. Thirty minutes passed and another appointment was booked for 4 weeks time- as happy as I was, this is not to be mistaken for a countdown.

As I have mentioned, it is encouraging to have a medical professional supporting you, but there is still that niggling thought that every time you meet them you are going to have to go through the same process- being weighed. Not just that, but the thought of physical assessments is daunting. Memories of the ones I was having 18 months ago and being told I was days away from a heart attack, or that I was going to be wheelchair bound for the foreseeable future; they ricochet worryingly in my mind. But that is in the past. I no longer use the notion of satisfying a medical professional with an adequate set of results as motivation anymore. I have my own set of goals- achievements for health and a fulfilling life that I want to accomplish for me.

Having being left out of the loop and with a sense of being dropped off the radar, I cannot tell you how reinforcing today was for me in restoring my faith in the healthcare system. As grateful as I am to be receiving this level of support, and hearing about the fantastic establishments there are now available to me in Sheffield, it saddens me that not everybody can have access to these types of organisations. I suppose it only fuels my ambitions to succeed and hopefully contribute to more positive developments in the future.

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