This week I am thankful for the NHS
On Tuesday I woke up with a strange pain in my back. Unlike normal backache, or even the baby lying awkward or having kicked my lungs, only one side of my back hurt and it only hurt when I breathed. I could move normally, stretch my back and even twist. Usually when I have backache I can barely move or stand, but with this backache I was fine. Except for when I breathed, which unfortunately I have to do!
By the time I had gotten the kids dressed and walked them to school, which is only a few blocks away, I was in agony with my back and taking shallower breaths than usual to ease the pain. I then had to walk over the bridge to the drs surgery to see if there was any appointments available that day for me to see a dr and by the time I got there I was almost crying. I managed to make an appointment, but not until lunchtime, so I went home and after hiking up 4 flights of stairs I was ready to pass out and my breathing sounded ragged and loud. No sooner had I made it upstairs then it was time to go back out again as I had a midwife appointment. Usually I see her locally, but because we live in such a rural area, the midwives have a large area to cover and can only do clinics on certain days in certain towns. Sadly because of hospital appointments, 60 miles away, I couldn't make the day they were in my town and had to reschedule the appointment for another day in a neighbouring town 10 miles away.
I saw the midwife, but didn't mention my back pain as I had a drs appointment afterwards. I had my 28wk bloods taken and listened to the baby's heart beat before popping to see my SIL about my daughters baby shower and then heading back home to see the dr.
When I went to see the dr, she was quite concerned about the strange pain in my back, especially as I'm a type 2 diabetic who is also pregnant! She said that it was possible to get blood clots in your lungs, especially having a high risk pregnancy like mine and she thought it was important I went straight to hospital, to the A&E department to get it checked, which unfortunately was at our main hospital 60 miles away. She said if I didn't have anyone who could take me, especially as I would have to arrange childcare for the kids, then she could organise an ambulance for me. Thankfully my mum agreed to have my 3yr old and look after my 6, 8 and 10 year olds after school until their dad came home from work and that my dad would take me to hospital in my car.
So off we went to hospital, a lovely 2hr journey along windy roads but passing through beautiful scenery, heading towards (but not over) the Wales/England border. My dad drove and I just tried to get comfortable whilst taking shallow breaths to ease the pain. We arrived at the A&E department and thankfully it wasn't busy so I was seen within 10 minutes. First of all I saw the triage nurse who tested my blood sugars and asked why I was there. I explained about my back and breathing and my drs concerns and after waiting about another 5 minutes I was seen by a dr.
The dr checked my oxygen levels and was pleased to see that they were 100% and that my pulse was regular at 80 bpm (with a blood clot your heart has to work harder to pump blood past the clot which causes your heart to beat faster). He then arranged for me to have an ECG just to check but he was confident I didn't have a blood clot. After having a look at my results he was happy to let me go home. I never did find out what caused my strange backache (which thankfully is a lot better now and I'm breathing normally) but at least it wasn't a blood clot.
The following day I was back at hospital, this time accompanied by my 10 year old son. Three years ago he had grommets in his ears to help with his fluctuating hearing loss and glue ear. Recently he has been complaining (sometimes tearfully) that his ears hurt, especially the one which lost the grommet and you could see it sitting in his ear canal near the surface. It had appeared to have fallen out as we couldn't see it anymore, but we discovered that day that it was still sitting in the ear canal. The ENT dr checked his ear and said that he couldn't see any trace of an infection or anything which could cause pain and arranged for a hearing test. Sadly my son didn't behave for his hearing test (I suspect he was deliberately trying to fail so that he could claim he couldn't hear to get more attention and out of trouble, especially as some of the beeps he claimed he couldn't hear, I could!) and the audiologist said it wasn't an accurate hearing test because of his lack of concentration which the ENT dr agreed with. He said he would reschedule another hearing test and see him again afterwards, but because he couldn't see anything which could be causing him pain his opinion was it was pressure in his sinus and he prescribed him some nasal spray.
We'd been at his appointment for 2hrs by now, so we had just enough time to pop to the hospital cafe for some lunch before heading to my diabetic appointment. I was also thankful that I could claim some money back for my travelling expenses because of the distance involved (120 miles round trip) and although it doesn't cover all of the cost of diesel to get there, it does cover 3/4 of the cost.
At the diabetic clinic there was some confusion as there was another lady there who was also a pregnant diabetic (either gestational, type 1 or type 2 I don't know which) who shared my name! So I never knew if they were calling me or her! After having my blood pressure and urine checked and blood taken (the 2nd time in 2 days), I saw the diabetic doctor who looked at my blood sugar results from the past week and adjusted my insulin medication accordingly. He did explain I was at the stage where my body struggles to cope with sugar and my blood sugar levels will rise. The hardest part is realising it is not my fault! He upped my insulin levels which I was taking at teatime (quick acting) and bedtime (slow acting) as well as adding a new breakfast (quick acting) dose.
Afterwards I saw the obstetrician diabetic doctor who looked over the results of my growth scan from the week before, which shows the baby is in the 50th percentile for her gestation. Of course, I'm expecting another 9lber as none of my babies are small (8lb 13, 10lb 14, 9lb and 8lb 15 with only my last pregnancy affected by gestational diabetes). She asked if we were aiming for another virginal birth, which I said I was (my 2nd was an emergency section as she was wedged in my pelvis and showing the largest part of her head. 3 and 4 were both Virginal Births Afer Caesarean or VBAC).
She's arranging for me to have another growth scan in 3 weeks when I'm 32 weeks pregnant and to see her again the following week. I guess then we'll discuss the plans for my delivery, especially as there is a risk of big babies for diabetic women as the unborn baby gets some of my excess sugar, made worse by the fact I am on insulin. I was induced 2wks early because of the gestational diabetes with my 3yr old and I suspect I will have the same thing again. They will also have to monitor the baby when she's born to check her blood sugars as her body is creating insulin to deal with my excess sugars, which are passed to her via the placenta and of course once she's born she will lose the extra sugar and it will take her body a while to realise and to stop producing insulin which could cause her to have a hypo (hypoglycemic shock caused by a lack of blood sugar).
On Monday I have yet another hospital appointment (at this rate my car will be able to find it's own way to hospital!) This time it is to check my eyes for any signs of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes, which occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the cells at the back of the eye, known as the retina. If it is not treated, it can lead to blindness and is the common cause of blindness in diabetics. Because I am pregnant it is even harder to control my diabetes and sugar levels which is why I'm having my eyes checked more regularly than a normal diabetic would. Of course this means that I cannot drive myself home on Monday (last time I had my eyes checked it took 3-4 hours until my eyes could bear the sunlight) so my poor dad is taking me to hospital whilst my mum picks the kids up from school (I bet he's so glad he's retired!!!)
So today I am feeling thankful for the NHS!!! I am thankful that;
- I can easily access all the medical help and support I need to have a successful pregnancy and to stay healthy despite having a serious medical condition.
- I am thankful that the NHS is free so I don't have the worry or stress about the cost of my medical treatment.
- I am thankful that (despite the journey) the hospital is taking good care of both me and my baby and ensuring that my pregnancy will not cause any long term diabetic complications and that I will have a healthy baby at the end of it
- I am thankful that once I have had this baby the NHS will sterilise me so that I cannot put my health anymore at risk by having any more babies (and really 5 is enough LOL!)
- I am thankful that I am able to claim my travelling expenses back to help with the cost of getting to and from hospital
- I am thankful that the NHS covers the cost of the medication I need to monitor and stabilise my blood sugars
- I am also thankful to the Welsh Assembly Government for allowing everyone in Wales access to free prescriptions regardless of their age and whether they're pregnant
And last but not least, I am thankful to my parents. For my mum for babysitting and attending hospital appointments with me and my dad for driving me to hospital when I cannot drive myself, which means that hubby can still work and still earn an income to provide for his family!
What about you? Do you have anything that is making you feel blessed or thankful? Why not join up with #R2BC Reasons to be Cheerful this week! It's a wonderful opportunity to find the positives in your life as too often we're full of the negative! If you want to learn more about #R2BC why not have a look about why Mich from Mummy From The Heart started #R2BC and what she believes about it.
If you want to join in, then go for it and jump right in. Just make sure you remember to link up with the linky below. The fab thing about this linky is that there are no rules and you can link up whatever you like. Just remember to visit all the other blogs which are linked up as well and share the comment love as everyone loves to see comments on their blogs and to know that it's being read and enjoyed!