It is never good to be ill. It is particularly bad to be ill enough to need to be hospital. It is even worse to need to go into hospital when you're meant to be on holiday. Quite honestly, it pisses me off. However, given that I have ended up in hospital whilst on holiday in Cambridge, it seems that I couldn't have ended up in a better place, even with all the negative press that Addenbrooks is getting at the moment because of their financial situation. So far I have nothing but praise for the care that I have received from every single doctor, nurse, and health care assistant in every ward or department I've been in.
I try not to let my asthma restrict me too much in terms of going on holiday. Okay, so I haven't been able to go abroad for several years, but I still try to holiday in the UK when I can. But my asthma doesn't dissappear when I go away from home and it is always something of a risk to be away from my home medical team. I take that risk for the good things that a holiday can bring, but it means that I do sometimes end up in hospital away from home, like now.
Usually the 'foreign' hospital's priority is to get me through and patch me up so that I'm well enough to go home. That's fair enough. But here at Addenbrooks they actually want to do more. They want to look into my asthma more deeply, see if there's something else driving it all, see if there's something more that might be able to help me. This is amazing.
The consultant looking after me at Addenbrooks happens also to be the personal physician of the eminent physicist Stephen Hawking, so I think I'm in safe hands. He is an incredibly nice man as well as an excellent doctor, and all the way through has been checking with me that what they're doing is okay with me and what would usually be done by my home team. Yesterday he came to me and asked if it would be okay to ask Addenbrooks' difficult asthma expert to come and see me. He said there was no pressure on me at all to agree, but I have jumped at the opportunity for a second opinion. It isn't because I in any way disrespect the opinion of my own consultant at home or don't think he's doing a good enough job, but because this is a chance for someone to look at my case with a fresh pair of eyes.
My own consultant at home is an expert in difficult asthma, but he hasn't been able to come up with any new ideas for me for a long time. It might well just be that there aren't any new things out there, or old things that haven't been tried. But it might be that a fresh pair of eyes can see the possibility of something that might be able to be tweaked, and it might be that a small tweak could make a big difference.
Addenbrooks' difficult asthma expert came to introduce himself to me yesterday evening, and he's coming back this afternoon. He has set aside two whole hours to see me, go through my asthma/medical history, assess me. He is coming in a little over an hour for that consultation, and whilst I am somewhat nervous about it, it also excites me. This is a real opportunity that I must take, and was most unexpected. I am astounded and delighted at the medics here who really do want to do everything they possibly can for me, and way beyond the patching up and sending home that other 'foreign' hospitals have done.
It is not yet clear whether or not Addenbrooks would be able/want to form an official collaboration with my medical team back in Newcastle, but they haven't immediately dismissed the idea. I think it could be useful to have a second team on board that can look at things periodically and see if they have any fresh ideas. This needs more discussion, and probably discussion with my home team too.
So, for all that it is horrible to be in hospital, especially when I'm supposed to have been on holiday, it has brought me some unexpected possibilities that are potentially very exciting.