A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Friday, 30 January 2009


I'm back. I came back on Tuesday, but I've had a late assigment to get done so I haven't updated things here. So yes, I did the long drive home from London to Newcastle, and although it was tiring, it was definitely worth it to see O and meet D. On the way down on Saturday I'd been intending to go down the A1 all the way, but wasn't quite paying attention at the point where the A1 splits off to the M1, ended up in the wrong lane and found myself on the M1. It didn't make much of a difference really, except it changed my point of entry to London. Having never driven in London before (or at least only a handful of times about 15 years ago) I wasn't looking forward to working my way through it, but I wasn't too stressed out as I have sat nav, which still impresses me, even though I've had it for 3 years. I ended up having to go all the way through the middle of London: down Park Lane, past Marble Arch, over Vauxhall Bridge, but I coped. However, I decided I'd try coming home a different way: Up the M11 and join the A1 somewhere after Cambridge. This was actually much better, partly because it was a change of scenery, and the A1 is such a boring road that a change of scenery is a very good thing, but because I'd never come this way before I used my sat nav till I got to the A1. Fine ... except that I somehow managed to accidentally punch into the sat nav that I wanted to go via some very random, very isolated, tiny road somewhere between Ickleton and Duxford in Cambridgeshire. I have to say that for all it was an unexpected and unnecessary diversion, it was ever so pretty, and I think I'd like to venture further into that area sometime. Perhaps I'll leave it till I deliberately plan to go there though ;o)

While I was travelling up the M11 and A1 I came across some place names that reminded me of previous travel. One of the obvious ones was Grantham, which you may recall is a place I ended up taking an unplanned diversion on my last return journey from London. I was on the train, had an anaphylactic reaction to a small dog that sat on the knee of the lady next to me, and the train ended up having to do an emergency stop for me to be taken off by paramedics, who had to carry me over the railway lines (we were on the wrong side of the lines for the ambulance) and take me to hospital, where I had terrible care in A&E, but excellent care after that, and had several days in ITU. I think I could just see the top of the hospital as I drove past Grantham on the A1, and it stirred up all sorts of feelings ... pretty much all negative. I've been in rather too many different hospitals around the country (and one in Canada), and it's no fun. In fact, knowing that I can never guarantee that I won't end up in hospital any time I go away (or any other time either) is tough. Of course I always hope that everything will go smoothly, that I won't end up ill ... but then I suppose I also hope that if things do go pear-shaped then the care I'll get at whatever hospital I end up in will be good. Mostly it is, but somtimes it isn't and that's frightening. I've mentioned before that I carry a letter from my hospital consultant with me at all times. This letter has information about the nature of my asthma and the treatment that works for me, and most usually doctors find this helpful, particularly as I'm usually unable to speak by the time I get to hospital so can't tell them myself what helps. The problem I had in Grantham A&E was that the doctor and sister attending to me decided to ignore my consultant's letter, to disregard my state (I have no idea why), and even considered discharging me! It was only upon insisting (as much as I could in my state of only being able to speak one word or part-word at a time due to breathlessness) that they telephone my consultant, whose contact details are at the top of the letter, that they did eventually admit me. I was taken to the Emergency Admissions Unit (EAU) where I was finally able to reach my mobile phone and could text my mother, tell her what was happening, that I was very scared as nobody was helping me, and she was able to find the telephone number for Grantham Hospital and explain the seriousness of my condition. Actually, the doctors in EAU were completely different from the one I'd seen in A&E, were on the ball, and got on the case of helping me as soon as they were aware of me and my condition. It was ever so frightening though, and I couldn't help but find myself thinking about it all, and mentally reliving it, when I was driving past Grantham on Tuesday. It sends shivers down me.

One of the other place names I drove past was Stamford, again in Lincolnshire, and then for Burghley House. These are places with memories totally contrasting those of Grantham. Back in the summer of 2006 I went on a Great Camping Expedition on my own around the country, which turned out to be the most fantastic holiday I'd had for a very long time, even though it included a week-long stay in Treliske Hospital, Truro, Cornwall (where the care was fantastic throughout). My first stop on this holiday was a tiny little campsite in Rutland, the smallest county in England - so small in fact that when I drove the 5 miles from Rutland water to Stamford I kept falling out of Rutland and into the surrounding counties. I think I did Rutland, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough (though I wasn't sure if this was a seperate county or just a random sign post), and Lincolnshire. Anyway, Burghley House is wonderful, although to be fair I didn't actually go into the house as I was too late that day, but the sculpture garden in the grounds of the house are wonderful. It was a miserable day of grey skies, intermitent thunder, lightening, torrential rain, and drizzle, with only the occasional outbreak of dryness, but the sculptures distracted me from all that. They were varied enough to keep being interesting however many I saw, and while some were obvious, others were hidden and you'd just stumble across them as you meandered around the gardens, or even looked up into the trees.

It's a place I'd like to go back to ...

While I was driving back on Tuesday I realised, once again, that I'm overdue a holiday, and would love to do something again like my Great Camping Expedition of 2006. There's so much of the country that I still haven't seen, even though I did 2000 miles in 2006, but if it were at all possible I'd like to go beyond UK shores too. This of course may not be realistic, and then there's the language barrier, which is a potential additional risk, especially as I speak no language other than English and British Sign Language ... but maybe ... I can dream ...


B said...

glad you got up and down ok :)

i'm horrified at the doctor and sister in grantham. horrified. i'm glad you managed to make them call your consultant.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Been reading your blog. It's fine!
I too am clueless re technology but most bloggers will help you out. Did you notice the yesterday, today was tomorrow bit is on the top of my blog. great minds think about!
My wife and I lived in grantham and both my children, about your age were born there. Keep going. Pace yourself. don't think you have to blog every day. Some do but i only do two a week. Will be back.

BeckyG said...

B - Actually, the doctor and sister and Grantham didn't call my consultant, but my asking them to do so seemed to be enough for them to take me a bit more seriously. After I was discharged from ITU onto the respiratory ward, the asthma nurse came to see me. I told her of my experience in A&E, and she was horrified. She relayed the events to the consultant who was taking care of me and he told me that he would be 'disciplining' them. I never found out what happened, but I'm forever grateful for all that the staff beyond A&E did for me, and also thankful for the asthma nurse's and consultant's response to what happened in A&E.

BeckyG said...

Ken, thank you for your comment, and welcome to my blog (though I know that you've posted a comment once before :o) I was just rubbish at responding :o( Sorry). Be assured that I have nothing against Grantham per se, only the doctor and sister who didn't treat me and nearly cost me my life. I actually saw very little of Grantham itself - the train station, a close look at the railway track as I was bumped across it by the paramedics, the small area of concrete where the ambulance was parked, parts of the hospital (A&E, ITU, respiratory ward), and a very tiny bit of the area between the hospital and the A1 on the trip back home (by ambulance). The little bit of it I saw beyond the railway station and the hospital looked rather nice, but I'm not sure I'd be confident enough in some of the A&E team to ever consider living there.

Thank you for your advise about blogging. I've only been at it about 16 months, and still feel surprisingly new at it. I enjoy it though, and that's what matters I guess ... although it's always a bonus if others enjoy/getting something out of reading it. Oh and yes, I did notice the 'yesterday, today was tomorrow' bit at the top of your blog :o) It made me smile. Any idea where it comes from? I'd like to credit it if possible :o)

Take care,

rattles said...

Sounds like a horrific experience in grantham gosh!!!

On a lighter note though those pictures are fabulous i love art and sculpture and things like that - no patience doing them myself mind lol!!!

Speak soon hon
Rattles Xxx

KSD said...

Grantham's my home town - and Grantham hospital is therefore my 'local'. I'm still a little new to being brittle, and was quite nervous about moving my resp care across to Grantham; having had very good experiences in Derby. Unfortunately not many weeks after my first outpatient appointment with the rather fab resp cons and asthma nurse I found myself in Grantham A&E (thankfully had a much better experience than you Becky!) ending up on NIV in HDU. Unfortunately though, Grantham has no longer got an ITU onsite, so I then ended up transferred to Lincoln when I needed ventilating.

On a completely different subject - how long have you been doing your courses with the OU? I'm thinking of doing a digital photography short course just to get myself started. Any hints?

BeckyG said...

KSD, thanks for your comment and welcome to my blog. I'm so pleased to hear that although Grantham is your local hospital that you've had more positive experience there than I did. As I said in my post though, once I got out of A&E they were very good, but the A&E experience really was terrifying. I'm sure that I would have died if the doctor and sister had discharged me as they were going to. I'm surprised to hear that Grantham hospital no longer has it's own ITU. Being carted around in an ambulance when you're very unwell is awful, and I don't think it's condusive to getting better, so it flummoxes me when 'they' do things like centralise care and close wards etc.

Regarding OU, I've been studying with them constantly since October 2006, though I did my first course with them back in 1998. They're a marvellous organisation and have always been incredibly helpful and understanding in working around my health needs. As for the short digital photography course (T189), I did it last year and loved it. Go for it!