Allow me to introduce Mrs Gastroparesis Bartlett
It has been a while since I blogged, I’m afraid the Gastroparesis* (GP) took over for a while and haven’t had much energy and spent more time in the NHS Spa. I have long accepted that this illnesses not going away and is part of me and dictates my life, family and friends are bored of me, they don’t visit the “new me”, she just isn’t as fun or as interesting as the earlier model, so my life has become lots of “rain checks” and no umbrellas. So allow me introduce myself Mrs. Gastroparesis Bartlett.
In the hospital hierarchy you are very much known by your illness and the severity depends on the level of care you get. At my last visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, Mrs. Gastroparesis Bartlett was well and truly put in her place by a couple of incidents. The first was when I stopped speaking English, or any language that a Birmingham University Student Nurse could understand. I was due to go for a procedure but the day before the registrar and I agreed to discuss in the morning if it was best to proceed.
Next morning the student nurse hands me a gown and tells me I’m going down for the procedure, I explained to her that before I had this I wanted to speak to the registrar, five minutes later I heard her telling the sister: “She doesn’t want the procedure she is refusing treatment.” How does suddenly “she” wanting to speak to a doctor turn into “she’s” refusing treatment? You can be sure I had a gentle chat with her about the importance of developing her listening skills.
There was more to come when one of the medications I had been taking regularly was getting pushed back because I was getting it later and later due to the nurse’s workload. Finally one dose was scheduled for 3am. I asked the staff nurse to wake me to make sure I had it. She said she might forget, so jokingly I said I would set my alarm to wake up and buzz her; she said thanks that’s great. And so to get my medication I had to set my phone alarm and buzzed her!
When I get really tired I sometimes use a wheelchair christened Bluey. We took Bluey down to Edgbaston to watch Warwickshire playing cricket. This was the first time I experienced the disabled provision. His Lordship (husband), who was pushing me found heavy doors, that often weren’t wide enough and the metal “kerbs” that were too high. Eventually we found a steward who helped us through the remaining doors. Although he was very helpful the steward still felt the need to pat Mrs. Gastroparesis (me), on the head, like I was a dog!!
I’ve also noticed that a couple of times we’ve had lunch at Edgbaston, instead of being put on communal tables to share with other people (one of the things we enjoy), we have been put on large tables with nobody else, just us. Is Mrs. Gastroparesis a pariah, should I employ a man with a bell, to warn people she is coming? And the “perhaps they felt you might not want to sit with other people” excuse just doesn’t work.
I am not embarrassed or sorry about my condition so why should anyone else be?
I have a serious chronic condition but it has not affected my brain so why do people think that I need to be treated differently – if I need something I will ask. I am fed up of people thinking they know what’s best for me. They don’t I do!
So back to my theory, perhaps people don’t see me anymore; the medics see Gastroparesis and Diabetes. My former friends and family see someone who will be too much effort.They all see Mrs Gastroparesis Bartlett but nobody seems to see me anymore.
* Gastroparesis is a chronic condition in which the muscles in the stomach don’t function normally. Ordinarily, strong muscular contractions propel food through the digestive tract. But in Gastroparesis, the muscles in the wall of the stomach work poorly or not at all. This prevents the stomach from emptying properly and results in sickness, nausea, constipation, pain and malnutrition. Gastroparesis can be caused by Diabetes. There is no cure for Gastroparesis.