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Endometriosis

The NHS nearly killed me. The NHS saved my life.

I don’t know how to talk about this.
Unexplained period and bowel pain for my entire life. An 8 cm ovarian cyst. A test with a result. Relief spiralled into Gaslighting. A private blessing. A hidden complication. And me.
Waking up from a major complex surgery without painkillers, intolerant to every medication they tried, throwing up for hours with stitches, unable to move…

I can’t comprehend the glass window I look through. Memories shatter and visit me in fractured pieces puncturing my heart. How could I treat myself like that? How did I manage to cope, and not only cope but edit podcasts, live and love and function with this incredible pain?! I even became a freaking politician during all of this! (Hi, I am a town councillor now, vote for me when I apply to be an MP won’t you?)

A list of things that kept me sane: Lin Manuel Miranda, Taylor Swift, My mother, the person who taught me strength.

How could I be such a hypocrite and forgive myself for it… Will I ever forgive myself? Another diagnosis. How many does that make now? The doctor said I had been dealing with Endometriosis for years. The doctor said it was shocking my local hospital had tried to make me wait until the end of September for a consultation, not even the operation. The doctor said they should have operated when the first found it 6 weeks ago. What a wild thing, to be believed by a doctor.

And the heart breaking dichotomy that always strikes? The NHS nearly killed me. The NHS saved my life.

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NHS Staff Deserve Better

We clap for them, we praise them, but what are we actually doing to change things for them?

I have been in even more excruciating pain than usual, and I should have gone to hospital a lot sooner, but due to a history of medical gaslighting and dealing with constant pain, I find it hard to register when something hurting is ‘serious’. By which I mean, it is impossible to know when a hospital could actually help, especially if they usually make things worse. Not just if they are rude or if I experience a flare from sitting in the waiting room for hours, or if they don’t take my bloods properly and put me in more pain, but also because going to hospital when you’ve had bad experiences can be quite traumatic. Something happened. And for the first time in my life, when I went to hospital it showed up on a scan. It showed up in my blood tests. It showed up in the faces of the doctors who didn’t look at me like I was lying.

The doctors taking care of me on this occasion were very caring. It was my first inpatient stay as an adult rather than a child, and that changed how I was treated but also how I perceive the NHS. I now notice just how much is systemically wrong, how trapped the staff are in a system that is under so much strain, how new doctors are taken advantage of, and experienced doctors are desensitised. No matter how much these health professionals want to serve, they are often restricted by the pressures of bureaucracy and ‘efficiency’. For the majority of the doctors I have seen (note, the good ones, the kind ones) English is not their first language. And yet Brexit and our xenophobic laws mean we have created an unwelcoming environment for them, and we are limiting a great number of incredible healthcare professionals from coming to work in the UK by stopping freedom of movement. We clap for them, we praise them, but what are we actually doing to change things for them? Donations alone are not going to fix this system or change these laws. I hope in the next general election our votes reflect what our NHS workers deserve, because it is not this.