Tuesday, 11 August 2015

So I met Jeremy Corbyn.

So me and Techiecarer went to hear Jeremy Corbyn speak.

Even though we arrived early the hall was already packed. Asking for help we managed to get seated after someone had kindly offered their seat. Before the event had started the hall was filled with people spilling out of the doors and crowding around the entrance of the hall desperate to hear him speak. I obviously thought that this was likely as the same scenario seems to have been played out up and down the country. So arriving to a rapturous applause he began his speech.

He was the first politician I have ever heard to categorically state that those on welfare are not to blame for the UK’s problems, that we should be proud of the welfare state, that the NHS should be free from the point of use and that society has failed so many people in need of mental health treatment. That immigrants fleeing atrocities should be seen as people in need and not as swarms, as if they were non human. That we need to invest, tackle tax avoidance and increase public housing and pay. That we should have more public ownership, look after our environment and invest in education. That people should be able to learn what they want without worrying about fees at any point in their life. For the most part I agreed greatly with what he said even though I still have some questions on some of his policies.

After his talk he took random questions from the audience.

He then dashed around to talk and take selfies with everyone that wanted one. There were people at the event who were obviously struggling in their lives but he approached them with no less interest than anyone else and listened to what they had to say. Too often politicians seem awkward when talking to ordinary people and it was nice to see they were treated no differently.

Initially I didn’t think I would manage to grab a word with him, I was low on spoons and trying to ask something in a crowded room is not the easiest especially as I was sitting down. I thought I would only have a second as he was rushing to another event but he stopped and smiled. I spoke to him about how the disabled community felt especially about Labour’s actions and the discrimination faced due to the negative stereotypes portrayed in the media. He answered and when I mentioned my health asked about how I was managing. I also spoke to him about care leavers and he actively asked about my experiences.

Although he was in a rush I can honestly say there was not a moment where I felt he wanted to rush the conversation. I shook his hand and he reached to the side of me to shake Techiecarer’s hand, as well as the lad to the other side of me.

The main point that resounded with me from his speech is when he stated that no party has the automatic right to exist and that the public should play a part in helping shaping its policies.

I have supported the party in the past, as well as other parties but more recently like others I haven’t felt like I could. Labour's inaction to hold true to its roots has been infuriating. The election campaign was run on an attitude that voters must vote for Labour otherwise the Tories would get in and that voters must accept austerity light. That any disgruntled Labour voter who votes instead for another left wing party are allowing the Tories to get into power and obviously this attitude did nothing to win voters over. Throughout the Labour leadership campaign, the other Labour candidates and political commentators have stated that Labour lost the general election because it was too left wing. The fact that they state this shows how little they are listening to the public. Labour lost because it was offering austerity light. So people either decided not to vote or instead voted for other left wing parties. Instead of coming to the realisation that people were voting for other parties because they didn’t believe in Labour's policies, Labour decided to attack them stating how much their vote would be wasted. It is true that under the current electoral system for Westminster that these votes are more often than not “lost” but Labour did not understand that people wanted to vote for policies they believed in and I respect anyone holding on to what they believe in.

It is often stated that people do not care about politics any more but if that was truly the case why is this man packing halls up and down the country with people spilling out of the doors and jumping up to windows in the hope to hear what he wants to say?

Yes Corbyn could be like any other politician, this could be an act and he could totally change if he becomes leader or even prime minister but at the moment he seems to have been the most genuine politician that I have met. There is also no guarantee that the party, like any other might not backtrack on any election promises made. With how current opinion is within the Labour Party, there has been doubt cast on whether the party will allow him to lead if he gets elected as leader.

But you can not tell me that people aren't interested in politics, they just want policies they can believe in, an alternative whatever the party.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Election Campaign thoughts

I think I can sum it up the nations feeling


Well done UK after five years of a government who came to power with their lie that “we’re all in this together” and five years on, the richer are richer and the poor are poorer.The burden for the banks failings have been placed squarely on the shoulders of the young, disabled & the jobless.

This election campaign has been brought to you by fear. The media and the conservatives have continued to perpetuate a discriminatory atmosphere towards the disabled community over the last five years through the misuse of statistics and the unprecedented coverage claiming that benefit fraud was much higher than reality. Not only have the disabled community experienced a significant increase in discrimination, they have also borne a significantly larger percentage of cuts to services. Because of this distorted reality a significant percentage of the public believe that disabled people who claim benefits are part of the problem and are the reason that the working classes are struggling.

This same tactic has been used to stigmatise the immigrant population and to imply that they are a drain to society and contribute nothing when this couldn’t be further than the truth. Finger pointing at its finest instead of the reality that there was a significant lack of investment into public infrastructure, hospitals, schools and housing in some areas due to a lack of government planning which has lead to a strain on public services. None of which should be blamed on the immigrant population.

And then the conservatives throughout this election  have shifted the focus to the Scottish people and scaremongering fantasy that the Scottish people want nothing more than to tear up the UK. Yes they had a vote on Scottish independence and many scots would love scotland to be independent but the fantasy that if a SNP/Labour coalition was to go ahead that the scots would some how systematically make bad choices in an attempt to break up the union is a farse. For the simple reason is that they are in it!

And if the people of Scotland decide to send all SNP MPs that is their democratic choice and they have just as much legitimacy to be in Westminster as any other MP.

Unfortunately I can't help but agree with the many in the disabled community that there isn't any real choice for the majority of the UK and the choice is between not great and horrific. Many are hoping for the best case scenario of a Labour/SNP/Plaid/Green coalition hoping that the smaller parties will push Labour further left to where they used to be.

The country needs proportional representation so that each vote will matter more than it does now and the union needs to change to give each nation an equal voice and this includes the north of England that so often gets forgotten alongside Wales and Scotland.

But please today vote, even if you only spoil your ballot. There are vast sections of society that the government often fails to represent and its often those that vote the most like pensioners that are better protected and represented.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

#BADD2015: Don't shove me into your stereotypical box.

The other day I felt really angry, for me at least because I’m not a person who angers easily. However when I was younger, there were periods in my life when I felt really angry. My Auntie taught me that the things I was getting angry about may not be as simple as they seemed and to find out what the truth was. As I got older I questioned more and endeavoured to understand. I shied away from anger believing that it had no place in my life, that it would only bring negativity and pain. And although I still believe that anger is best kept in small quantities, anger can push us forward, it can prevent us from accepting the inequality within society and instead motivate us to fight for change.

The last five years have been especially hard on the disabled community and there have been many times when it would have been easy to be consumed by anger. Even before the last general election, the tabloids had increased the disproportionate amount of articles that falsely claimed or gave the perception that benefit fraud was sky high. And not only has this continued but it has steadily worsened.

Over the last five years society has been bombarded with an underlying ideology that disabled people that claim welfare are a problem and are not part of society.

This negative ideology is only further perpetuated by the Government. With a speech on the fairness of seeing the “closed blinds of their next door neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits” and the near constant references to those who “work hard and get on” and “hard working families” to name but a few.

But this simplistic and discriminatory view implies disabled people who are not in work are simply choosing not to do so because of the perception, that a life on benefits is an “easier” life. This shows an absolute lack of understanding about those who can’t work and of how restrictive disability can be.

But with this being portrayed as an injustice to the rest of society it is easier for politicians to form a regressive welfare policy if people believe that those in the disabled community are fraudsters. Because the perception then is of a government that is simply righting a “wrong” and not the truth, that this causes society to stagnate and discrimination towards the disabled community to worsen.

You would think with a government and the media that is so eager to criticise the disabled for not working it would be shredding away the barriers to work to enable those that could, with the right support, variety and flexibility in the work available but alas no. This Government that is so eager to criticise has not only failed to remove any barriers to work and social inclusion as a whole but it has closed or reduced existing schemes like the Independent Living Fund and Access to Work.

The prime minister only days ago stated “a life on benefits, is no life at all.”

This goes back to the same perception that a disabled person without a job, has no purpose, no life. It also implies that a disabled person’s value simply rests on their ability to work or not and belittles the huge contribution that disabled people have made in society. In the same way as the rest of society, the disabled community pursue interests and contribute to society as others do outside of their employment.

When highlighting the Government and the media’s position with the public and with people I know, it is obvious to see how much this distorted perception of the disabled community has influenced many peoples’ opinions.

In its more milder form it is not unusual to be told that the “Government are obviously not talking about you, you're obviously genuine”

I know I am but given that the vast majority of people claiming disability benefit are genuine, chances are however much this person may perceive me as genuine, another member of the public who doesn't know me may not and may discriminate against me. This feeds into the public's belief that benefit fraud is 34 times higher than reality.

For anyone that has read my blog you will know I have psoriatic arthritis and hypermobility alongside additional conditions and that I deal with pain every day. Although I walk with a stick and have had to use a wheelchair at times, I may look “normal” to an outsider that doesn't take more than a second to glance at me or get to know me.

I have had my disability questioned and have faced discrimination by passers by and those who even know me. I know that isn’t helped by the fact that stereotypically, arthritis is seen as a mild condition and one that only affects people in their old age. But the real crux of it is, that not only is the reality of my condition further from the public’s often misguided perception, I often receive discrimination and less understanding than someone who has the flu.

This is what I find truly ludicrous. I would love to say that this is uncommon but I and so many who live with invisible conditions have our validity questioned just because we don't have a snotty nose. It is even more ludicrous when you factor in that my arthritis can create a immune response that is equal to a severe bacterial infection or even burns.

Not only do disabled people have their validity questioned by society and even by people they know, they often are excluded from social gatherings and if invited the lack of an accessible venue or seating may mean they are unable to join in when they otherwise could of.

I have learned since the onset and the gradual worsening of my disability that friends that knew me well accept that my disability is just another aspect of me and that if they enjoy my friendship, they will make time for me as they did before. There are friends that care after every hospital stay and friends that will wait with me whilst I sit and rest, and there is the friend that has done all she can so I could be at her wedding.

Because of those friends and when I meet members of the public that give me their seat before I stumble, for those that don’t glare at me and instead open a heavy door, and for those that ask me questions with a thirst for understanding, you are the reason I do not submit to that anger.

The discrimination has been completely engineered to pull the public's attention away from the real causes of the inequality in other sections of society to easily blame those in the disabled community.

Society has gone backwards and peoples' perceptions have worsened. But this is not an problem created by the disabled community, it is one of a complete lack of acceptance. It is so hard for the disabled community not to be blinded by rage from the injustice experienced. The realisation that this shouldn’t be up to the disabled community to fix. There are those in society that will judge the disabled and do not want to change their ignorance and to those people I do not need to justify myself or spend time on you. To those that ask questions and want to reach out to understand, I am here.

(I know im late this year but better late than never)

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The NHS: should we all have care?

So I was looking at 4OD, looking through the factual section when I found NHS: £2 Billion a Week and me being me, who has watched so many documentaries I was intrigued to find out what it was and when I did my heart sunk.

The first episode of NHS: £2 Billion a Week follows three patients; a women in need of a breast reduction, a man in need of a liver transplant and a couple in need of the support of a Dementia nurse. After each of their stories were shown, it was detailed how much their care would cost and what the same amount of money could provide in other areas. Selected tweets were also shown live commenting on why each person should receive their care or not.

First was a women in need of a breast reduction. Generally, it is often felt that any breast augmentation is purely cosmetic and stories shown in the media like that of Josie Cunninghams only serve to reinforce this further. Many breast augmentations undertaken in the UK are for cosmetic reasons. However there are people, like Kim, who have particularly large breasts and this extra weight attached to the front of them day in day out will eventually take it’s toll on a person’s back.

She also referred to how she had and was working when explaining how she needed help. I have seen this more & more, consciously or not, many are using language to almost promote their “worth” before they are “allowed” to receive help both in the welfare and NHS system.

Then you have people like Josie Cunningham who had breast implants on the NHS and yes, she plays the villain well for the media. But the simple fact is she had no breast tissue, she was at the extreme other side in breast augmentation and for many girls they find this truly difficult to deal with psychologically. Do we therefore not allow anyone any argumentation because of the socially unpalatable person that came before them?

The cost of surgery was used to compare what the same amount could provide for elsewhere. It resulted in an inevitable tweet “Shall I miss dialysis for 6 weeks and die so you can reduce your boobs.”

Cost of Breast Reduction £4,000
the examples given for the money spent elsewhere
1,000 inhalers for children with asthma
6 Weeks of Dialysis
100 GP visits

Next patient Mark, who has alcohol related liver disease and needs a liver transplant. Any transplant given is obviously a gift that anyone should be thankful to the donor family for giving and thinking of others at such a sad time.

However, there was the inevitable tweet stating “why give an alcoholic new liver so he can drink more give it to someone more deserving.” This person isn’t alone in their opinion, many feel this way. But because this is due to alcohol he or anyone else is not allowed a second chance to change and turn his life around?

Another tweet however, reminded people that alcohol is an addiction and an illness, albeit one that society finds unpalatable. One that too often we judge to be the individual’s doing, a choice. It is a choice but not to become an addict but one to escape from life and what the person’s feeling. Access to drink and drugs are available within minutes but access to mental health care can be months if well over a year away. With the systematic lack of mental health care provision and mental illness being too often viewed by society as something people can help if only they tried, there should be no surprise that when given the choice of lessening your pain (and emotional pain is legitimate) that people often chose to forget with drink or drugs.

Cost of a Liver Transplant £73,000
the examples given for the money spent elsewhere
A nurses salary for 2 years
9 Hip replacements
40 hospital beds for a week

The third, Barrie, has Dementia and his wife and carer Ros wanted access to a specialist Dementia nurse who would support the couple. The couple are dealing with an awful disease which is only going to increase in frequency in the UK as the elderly population rises. Many will be supported by their carers who often aren’t supported and often are overlooked. The government knows these carers won’t abandon the person they care for and too often carers take the strain at a cost to themselves.

Cost of a Dementia Nurse £375 a year
the examples given for the money spent elsewhere
2 Meningitis B jabs
2 ambulance call outs
19 blood tests

For me this programme brought up notions of the workhouse and the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor. The simple reality is the NHS is affordable but at present is being woefully underfunded and portrayed as unsustainable. The program detailed the costs of each procedure requested and what the same money could buy if used elsewhere. Instead of creating an environment where people feel they need to prove themselves “worthy” of help, the equivalent costs could have been shown for how much the same procedures would have been under a private health care model. The government want to portray the NHS as unsustainable, for us to reduce the NHS to the bare bones so those that can pay are forced to top it up with private health care and those that can’t go without.

Kim’s breast reduction would have been £4,000 on the NHS, the same privately would cost nearly double. Even if people paid more in tax, the NHS is still cheaper and more efficient. Its not perfect but satisfaction is often no better in countries that have a private health care model.

For me, the programme highlighted how decisions are often based on the short term in order to “save” money. Kim was refused a breast reduction and it was costly to decide this. However not once was she seen by a (NHS) plastic surgeon to assess the reality that if she lost weight (which she already had) would it reduce her cup size. Long term, the medication she is taking will be more costly than providing the operation. Providing a Dementia nurse also long term is more cost effective, supporting people in their own home, away from hospital which is so much more costly.

The programme also highlighted how society’s disregard in helping those with addiction is so much more costly and simply because it is seen as “immoral.”

The cost of not treating addiction is added to policing and seen in the increases to home insurance with both costs recurring. By not treating addicts, the odds are stacked against them being able to achieve recovery without the support. It is something that crosses all social barriers and could happen to anyone.

This programme opened up the debate on Twitter of who was deserving and who wasn’t. Many believed that addicts weren’t. But if were to get rid of the limited and woefully inadequate amount of support available for addicts, what is to stop the same happening to the next illness society finds unacceptable?

What would be the criteria? Do we exclude those who don’t work in favour of those that do? Or ration treatment for the elderly? Or no treatment for those that smoke? It would be a nasty downward spiral.

I am worth it. I personally won’t apologise nor justify myself because I have a disease that was not of my own doing, that I won the shit health lottery or that it happened to me when I was young. I will however say my gratitude for the NHS can not be summed up in a few mere words, the NHS is worth fighting for and is cheaper than private health care. You may be healthy now but probability states that you will need the NHS in your lifetime, it only takes a second for things to change.

We have already seen councils placing elderly and disabled up on bidding sites for social care providers, reduced to a list of conditions like you would sell an old Jacket you no longer wanted. How would you feel if that was your relative? Nobody should feel unworthy of care and feel like they have a price on their head.

Everyone should receive treatment but we are a generation that were born in the NHS and so often don’t understand the realities of not having it to rely on. People need to use each service responsibly. We can not let this be reduced to an argument about which condition is more “deserving” than the rest. The NHS was created at a time we could least afford it because it was the right thing to do, it is one of the best things this country has done and it will remain as long as there are people left to fight for it.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Westminster, If we can do it so can you!

So a few weeks ago I watched Prime Minister's Questions, oh why did I.

I rarely watch Prime Minister's Questions anymore, it has descended into a circus of baying, laughing & taunting that any child could tell you is a deeply wrong way to behave especially when parliament discusses matters that affect the public so deeply. But even putting this aside, no genuine debate occurs, ministers on the prime minister's benches jostle for a turn to stand up & state how wonderfully they're doing, with the opposition of course taking it’s turn to say they could have done it better. Any genuine inter bench debate is silenced. There is no debate, no back & forth of ideas & definitely no compromise. So whats the point? All Prime Minister's questions shows us is what the government & the opposition is arguing about on a given week. What they accuse each other of failing at & what achievements they claim to have accomplished, regardless of the truth of them. All of which are covered by any news source that covers politics within the UK.

Watch one Prime Minister's Questions & you can't wonder why people are disillusioned with politics in Westminster.

This is however not how Questions are done throughout the rest of the UK. With the countries that make up the UK having their respective devolved Assemblies & Parliaments that sit depending on the nation, on a differing amount of devolved legislative powers.

So I decided to look at the most recent sessions (at the time of writing), in the respective parliaments & assemblies across the UK, that were currently available online when all nations sat during the week. (I couldn't find any link for the London Assembly)

The First Questions were on Monday 24th November - First & Deputy First Ministers questions: Northern Ireland's Assembly.

During this session the chamber talked about the troubles, the Irish language & religion. Northern Ireland with such a troubled past, can gather in the chamber & discuss topics which outside the chamber can still be very heated without resorting to the same type of behaviour seen in Westminster.

The Second Questions were on Tuesday 25th November - First Minister's Questions: Welsh Assembly

During this session the chamber talked about transport, including roads & rail. The First Minister was asked about the changes in fares & admitted at present he did not know the information to give to the minister but that information would be made available in due time. There was no spin given & no guess work & the minister asking the question accepted the First Minister's answer. The chamber got a little more heated at 18.20 in the video when Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood spoke about Welsh under funding. However this didn't continue for long after the speaker intervened & brought the chamber to order. There was then further debate about health & domestic violence. 

Wednesday 26th November - Prime Minister's Questions: Westminster

The debate started with VAT & how the Prime Minister believes there should be a debate in the commons about the Welsh NHS even though this is a devolved issue. Even if there was to be any debate in the Commons, it should be about the NHS as a whole & not instead an attempt to politically point score by attacking the Welsh NHS. The Coalition attacks the Welsh NHS because a Labour government is sitting in the Senedd (Assembly) & a there is a Labour opposition in Westminster. There are various problems within the NHS as a whole but as a Labour government doesn't hold a majority in any other parliament, there is no other opportunity to attack the Labour opposition. 

The debate then moved onto those with learning difficulties, often those who get placed into institutions away from & against their families wishes instead of being supported in the community.

Then there was A LOT of it's your fault, no it's your fault. There was also a lot of “will you congratulate” so & so & oh our economic plan was so “awesome”. If this was cut out, all of the peppy filler, there may be so much more time to discuss more pressing issues?

Anyway, after the peppy interlude, the debate moved on to accusing the government of pandering to UKIP. Followed by the NHS & the Israeli bill removing the rights from non jews. A minister then tried to praise the personnel who were going to help with the ebola outbreak. Something very worthy of praise, however people continued to speak whilst she was trying to talk. Its worth noting that this help is arriving months after charities on the ground had stated the urgent need for further assistance & unfortunately this help was only given after westerners had become infected.

Thursday 27th November - First Minister's Questions: Scottish Parliament 

The session began with Jackie Baillie asking what the First Minster was doing & wishing her a safe journey to the Isle of Man. Could you really see an opposing party member doing this in Westminster? The debate primarily focused on further powers being given to Scotland. Although the debate was a little more rowdy in parts, the debate still continued with the Chair bringing the chamber back to order.

I have included all of the videos of each debate, from each of the respective parliaments & assemblies. I don't expect anyone to sit through & watch each session but click on each video, a few times on each & the difference in noise level between Westminster & the devolved parliaments is astounding. Especially the shocking frequency of how people are not talking when someone else is trying to speak in the devolved parliaments. Has it come to the point that we must implement a talking stick within Westminster & for ministers not holding the stick, to sit with a finger to their lips like children do in primary school before they learn to listen?

Although there has always been debate about the effectiveness, along with the ability to efficiently legislate in the devolved parliaments, the fact remains there is much more purposeful debate seen in these parliaments. There has been research to suggest that parliaments that sit in a rectangular chamber with two sides are much more confrontational than those that are round & parliaments that sit in a rectangular chamber are much less likely to compromise. In addition, in all of the devolved parliaments within the UK there is an opportunity for the member posing the question to the First Minister to respond to their answer, something which is not seen at Westminster with the exception being the lead for the opposition. Regardless of the reason it is clearly possible to have an adult debate without the behaviour seen in Westminster. When people are watching ministers laugh when pressing through legislation that may impact upon a person's life so significantly that it may mean they have less food, no roof over their head & less opportunity in life, there should be no surprise how little faith people have with Westminster. Laughing shows how little they are in touch with the people in which their legislation affects & that I think is the main difference, that too often Westminster MPs forget who they represent until the next national vote.

But it is always important to remember. These MPs are voted in, they represent their constituents with their consent. We are the ones that must push for change & understand the importance of who you vote for on election day. 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

and a Happy New Year!!

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

So Happy New Year to everybody! We rang in the New Year watching people standing in the no doubt freezing cold weather watching some pretty fireworks whilst Techiecarer & I sat at home with one very excitable bunny bounding around us, he seemed so very pleased to ring in the New Year.

There was some lovely times this last year & some sad especially with my Dad’s passing & although it is part & parcel of my life, it is truly ridiculous to see how many hospital visits I’ve had.

I’m not for resolutions. Promises that so often you don’t keep to yourself. However as always I have things I want to do but on the understanding that I may not complete some of the things I would like to do this year but that doesn’t mean I never will. I also know that I will no doubt do things that I hadn’t even planned for this coming year.

However the main thing I want to try & do this year, is not to care about peoples’ judgement as much. I always try to be a nice person & be someone who cares but when I know that I am doing all that I can & that I need the help & support that I receive I still however get judgement. For me, it makes you feel like you have to explain, to justify yourself, where there is in fact nothing you need to justify yourself for. I have always known that for some they will never accept how things are regardless of what you say. So I’m going to try to conserve my energy & not defend something I don’t need to defend. I also want to make sure that I don’t let people define my worth by my disability or my lack of a job, my disability is part of me but it is not the only part & that just because I don’t have these things does not make me worthless nor mean I have no purpose.

I also want to write more. Manageable amounts that aren’t necessarily huge essays & to not worry about what I’m writing as much as I do & to improve upon it. For me with my dyslexia I have always found speaking a breeze but writing is a lot harder especially coupled with brain fog & fatigue. There are also so many small things I’m thinking about focusing on & will mull it over in the coming days & I know that Techiecarer has his own challenges ahead for this year but I know how very I proud of him I am.

To everyone I wish you a very happy new year & for everyone to be kind to themselves this coming year. To be helpful to others, to stand up for whats right & for the disabled community to support each other, to not allow people to create a climate where disabled are made to feel inadequate.

No one should define you but you.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Counting Spoons

So what has happen since my last “spoonie” bod update?

Well all I can say is having multiple overlapping conditions is just damn complicated & inconsiderate some times, well a lot of the time. Too often than not I have learn’t that you can calculate how many spoons you may need for a particular task & often half way through a plus changes to a minus & you have to deal with the “fabulous” consequences.

But on the whole there have been many hospital appointments, GP & nurse appointments & I underwent surgery.

I was waiting to have a nerve test done which i've had & my nerves at least are doing what they are suppose to. Great, but that obviously doesn't explain the pins & needles in my feet & legs. The guy however that was doing the test said I need to be sent for a head & spinal scan & also mentioned that Doctors have found that some people on Anti-TNF treatment have discovered that it has messed up their nerves.

Oh, well that's peachy then !

It’s not like I can really choose not to take medication for my arthritis so it does "slightly " complicate things some what however there are a few similar medications that I could switch to if need be.

I've been off my Anti-TNF treatment for awhile as I had to have an operation & as my medication suppresses my immune system, my rheumatology team took me off treatment so to try & give my body the best chance of healing afterwards . Although not great, it’s worse to be left on the medication (for me personally anyway) like my old team would (different treatment but it still suppressed my immune system) as often I wouldn't heal properly & I would be more prone to infections.

The operation hurt, I was awake though sedated. I'm not a wimp about these things been as I have pain all the time but I tried to tell the anaesthetist that when I had sedation previously at this hospital for a non surgical procedure, I was barely sedated at all & obviously as this was surgery I didn't want that to happen again.

Unfortunately he took this as me having a low pain threshold instead of having a higher level of pain to deal with but I didn’t try & argue & just agreed with him as it was easier. He told me not to worry that the sedation that he was going to give would be enough but it wasn't, he had to give me more sedation & pain relief because I was too awake.

I then had to lie in recovery for an hour whilst I came round & after you have eaten they move you to a chair recovery before you are seen by a doctor & then discharged. 

So half way though being discharged I started to feel bad & that I was going to be sick so I told the doctor who asked if I "hold on for a minute" & they would get me a sick bowl. Ookk? So shes talking about my discharge whilst I try & concentrate on not throwing up on her or that's what I thought. About a minute maybe? Later she asks me if "I'm ok" I proceed to slightly shake my head, mumble "no" & then I blackout. I mean how it happens in films, think Harry Potter & the dementors without the dementors, soul sucking & the screaming. I came back around to people holding me up right on the chair on oxygen with a blood pressure cuff on & O² sats monitor. They proceeded to plonk me on a trolley & wheel me back into the recovery for another hour & a half.

Nooooo! I was trying to escape!

Turns out that my blood pressure had got really low 60/40 but by the time I left recovery (for the second time) it had got nearer normal at around 100/80. I asked the nurses if TechieCarer was ok throughout this & she said “Oh yes but you scared the doctor half to death”.

Whoops, well I did warn her!

Anyway other than an early infection which my GP was awesome quick to treat, I healed as I should & when I went to my doctor to talk to him about some other tests I had & my bowels, (I know! but everybody has them) he suggested that I had another blood test.

This was to check my ferritin levels which is an important little protein for those that don't know that stores & realises iron. I had had my red blood count done, the amount, size & shape were all as they should be & usually if they aren’t, it is a good sign of anemia. However when I had my ferritin checked my levels were really low indicating that although the other signs were fine I was infact anemic because I was deficient in the little protein that knows what to do with the iron.

This is also likely one of the main reasons I blacked out after my surgery & so I’ve now been put on quite a significant dose of iron tablets to try & get everything to how it should.

Also my usual physio is off sick (Boo! Hope she is better soon) so I have been seeing a new physio who is really nice. She had me trying wax therapy which is very odd & since I have been off my medication I’m in quite the flare & have been having alot of inflammation in my joints. My hips have been especially more painful which the physio has said is because I have bursitis in my hip (again) & inflammation in my pelvis. So unfortunately i'm not going to be able to avoid a steroid injection this time but hopefully it should get the flare inflammation back under some kind of control.

So yep that’s what's been occurring