I chose this soundtrack because: a) I like this 80s classic; and b) ‘crazy nights’ kind of sums up those first few nights when I realised I could be seriously ill. Sleepless, highly stressful nights leading to me feeling even more exhausted. As mentioned – last week was quite possibly the most intense week of my working year due to work commitments that took place then. What typical ‘sod’s law’ that this should coincide with a time when I have to deal with possible serious health issues.
I’ve had broadly good news which is that the latest set of tests (Friday) indicate that I am not suffering from worst case scenarios. I do have ‘health issues’ which are being dealt with through quite powerful drugs – but these aren’t long-term life threatening which is the most important thing.
To say I was ‘totally in the clear’ would be inaccurate. There are more tests waiting to come back and more monitoring required through until March – and I guess after that, annually. The good news, though, is that I don’t have to go back to the hospital until the very end of this month.
The drugs I am on are really powerful and had horrible side-effects the first few days, the worst of which was nausea. Just this feeling that you’re going to throw up all the time. This is countered with anti-nausea medication. Exhaustion was another side-effect, as was constant thirst and everything to do with digestion. I’ve never had to take any drugs this strong before. The good news is that my body seems to have adjusted to them and settled down somewhat. Oh – this will make people smile – another side-effect is that I seem to have lost the taste for alcohol. Just don’t want it at all at the moment! Yes – this is me talking! Scary??! Or good! Haven’t yet decided. 6 days and counting so far. I have gone through two huge work nights with open bars and stuck only to non-alcoholic cocktails or juice just recently.
This has been my first real experience of the NHS as I am normally a very healthy person who almost never takes time off work through illness or has needed to seek medical help for any reason. I’ve been very impressed with the NHS – starting with A&E last Monday, through to follow up appointments. Yes – there is a lot of waiting involved, but that is the price you pay for completely free healthcare for all of us, so I’m not going to complain. The treatment itself has been world-class which is as it should be as Guy’s & St Thomas’s Hospital is of international renown and rightly so. I really have felt in good hands. Yes, there have been times when it’s felt like ‘right hand talking to the left hand’ but that’s because of how hugely busy the hospital is and of the number of patients in the system.
This is the history of my hospital:
Guy’s and St Thomas’
Guy’s and St Thomas’ are amongst the oldest hospitals in the world, having endured the Black Death, the plague, the War of the Roses, the Great Fire of London and the Blitz.
Long before they were brought together as a single NHS Hospital Trust in April 1993, the two hospitals had shared centuries of working together.
The brutal beginnings
The history of our hospitals began in 1170 with an assassination. Thomas Becket – the Archbishop of Canterbury – was slaughtered by the King’s knights in his own cathedral after a fall out with Henry II. After his murder he was made a martyr and monks at a Southwark infirmary renamed their hospital in his memory. St Thomas’ was born.
The first St Thomas’ was a charitable hospital with only 40 beds. The original site was known as St Mary’s Overie, and it existed decades before 1170. The original site is where Southwark Cathedral, near today’s Guy’s Hospital, now stands. It was run by Augustinian monks.
In the 16th century King Henry VIII closed down all monastic institutions, including St Thomas’, and took their wealth. He planned to refound St Thomas’ due to the number of sick and dying on the streets of London, but he died before he signed the Bill. His son Edward reopened it in 1555 on the condition that it no longer took its name from the Catholic saint St Thomas Becket and instead honoured St Thomas the Apostle.
As London grew, so did the hospital. After the Great Fire of London in 1666, the streets around the hospital were breeding grounds for disease and many children died before the age of two.
By the late 18th century the powerful railway companies won the right to build London Bridge station on part of the hospital’s site. Eventually, and after temporarily relocating its patients to an old zoo in Kennington, St Thomas’ was rebuilt to its present location opposite the Houses of Parliament. This move coincided with Florence Nighingale’s return from the Crimean war, who influenced the design of St Thomas’ by ensuring that the ward environment had high ceilings and was big and airy in order to help patients feel better.
Read more here.
So in short, though we British may moan – as we do about absolutely everything, as is a part of our national character – I have enormous admiration for the NHS and the British healthcare system in general.
I need to state that in retrospect, following the last post, I have decided not to elaborate on my health issues suffice to say that they fall broadly under the umbrella of ‘men’s health’. As this is a public blog, there are some things that just really needn’t be elaborated upon.
These have been ‘crazy, crazy, crazy nights!’ but a thank you again for the continuing concern, warmth and support I have had from people. Yes, you all know who you are! Is very much appreciated.