My family have lived in various places abroad for many years and have been back in the U.K. for nearly a year.
They are currently living in a house which everyone instantly falls in love with. Set deep in the country, full of character, lots of space, loads of ground, fruit trees and everything.
So when I went to visit yesterday, the sun was blazing, the company was amazing, and it just seemed like the most idyllic place to be in the world.
We went for a walk, the dog was happy and excited all day, and we had a barbecue in the evening.
My family have plans to move abroad again and aim to leave within the next few months, so this trip felt a little bittersweet.
There have been many years that I haven’t seen them, and when we visited them abroad it felt surreal to finally see them.
Yesterday I sat there appreciating the moment and the company before they go, before I don’t see them again for years, and before I never visit their lovely home again. But, I realised how lucky I was to have them back closer to us for the past year, and yesterday meant a great deal to me.
Although I love my family very much and I will miss them, I know that they have to do what makes them happy, and what is best for them. I know that we’ll keep in touch and that I can visit them at their new home and discover a new and exciting place.
Anyone who lives in the UK will be able to tell you we are currently experiencing a bit of a #heatwave.
Anyone who lives in the UK will be able to tell you we are currently experiencing a bit of a heatwave.
I have never been the kind of person who copes well in the heat. I have very fair skin, I have never had a tan, and I burn instantly even in mild weather. So I’m the kind of person who avoids sun and loathes heatwaves – I know I’m in a minority on my sun opinions.
Yesterday I woke up to a boiling hot bedroom and a terrible migraine which I suffered from for the rest of the day. For hours nothing seemed to relieve the horrible ache, it was awful. The ironic thing is, is that my epilepsy medication is Topamax which is also used as treatment for people with migraines…it didn’t help me yesterday!
The two unfortunate things about yesterday were that:
It was Father’s day and I ended up making my dad worried about my health.
I was asked to look after my baby nephew who also wasn’t enjoying the heat, and then decided to cry for ages – which just made my headache worse! 😥
It eventually passed after I drank plently of water and slept most of the day away. Thankfully I’m back to my normal self today.
although I was pretty miserable yesterday as everyone else was out enjoying the sunshine and having barbecue’s and stuff, I’m glad to say that I didn’t have any aura’s, so I am extremely grateful for that.
Today I’ve stayed in the shade and respected the 30 degree heat.
Anyone with epilepsy will have their fair share of stories and experiences of hospitals. We’ve been rushed in by ambulances, woke up in Resus, had all kinds of scans and blood test etc. and although we’ve received excellent care from dedicated people, the whole experience can leave us feeling nervous about hospitals. I guess it’s just association e.g. ‘last time I was here I was ill.’
Due to these different experiences, people will have their own varying thoughts and feelings about hospitals, its only natural.
Normally I am fine with visiting hospitals but I was surprised when I recently found myself feeling a little anxious at my old hospital:
The other day I had to take my brother to the hospital for an appointment.
When we entered the building that ‘hospital type’ smell instantly hit me. I felt uncomfortable, and a little anxious, and quickly realised it was attached to old memories of frequent visits to the A&E and outpatients from my early teens.
Being diagnosed with epilepsy at 14 classed me as a child, so I was under the care of paediatric consultants.
As you’ve probably guessed, being classed as a child at that hospital meant that I stayed on children’s wards, and had to go to the children’s outpatients departments as there was no department for adolescents = embarrassing situation for a teenager.
When I was 17 I was classed as an adult and transferred to a different hospital.
We walked past the children’s outpatients department and I briefly stopped and looked at it. It was closed for the day, and it looked dark and sad. It was so much smaller than I remembered – I didn’t think I had grown that much since I was 14.
For me, my height was the biggest embarrassment of all. Today I am 5’10 tall and I wasn’t much shorter as a teenager.
So picture me, sat there in that waiting room among all the little children.
I would then frequently have people staring at me or have women engaging in ‘mum chat’ with me and enquiring where my child was.
The other problem was that the nurses had to record my height and they could never reach high enough.
Its one of those things that’s funny to look back on now, but at the time I was really quite sensitive about.
I was surprised by how visiting a place for just a moment could evoke so many memories.
Even though I remembered going to the hospital I didn’t think that it had been that emotional for me.
But to stand back in the same foyer and smell the same hospital smell transported me back, and I remembered just how nervous, embarrassed and uncomfortable I had felt during my visits to hospital as a teenager, and it all happened in an instant.
So whats your thoughts and feelings on visiting hospitals?
Do you find that they have a certain amount of anxiety attached to them?
Or do think when your there that you’re in the best place if you become unwell? 🙂
This time last year I donated my hair to charity. You might be thinking, why didn’t you raise money for an epilepsy charity? But at the time the issue of cancer was close to my heart.
It’s strange when situations happen to us personally, we just battle through them, but if something happens to the ones we love and care about, it affects our emotions deeper somehow. We want to remove the pain and suffering for them and we feel hopeless when there is nothing that we can do.
Cancer has unfortunately affected many people in my family and thankfully there have been good outcomes, but about two years ago I lost a good friend of mine to cancer and it was completely devastating. She was the one of those rare people who was a true friend. She always there for you when you needed her, we may not have seen each other for a while but when we did, you wouldn’t think any time had passed. She was always happy and smiling, and she was genuinely kind. Basically she had all the best qualities a person could have. We’d known each other since school and I always assumed that we would be in each other’s lives forever, which made it harder when I discovered that I wouldn’t see her anymore. No one wants to say goodbye to someone they care about.
Naturally this leaves a small gap in your life, even now I will be reminded of her, but more than anything I think of her family and her two sisters, I and think of how strong they are.
Last year I decided to try to turn my sadness into hope by trying to help others and raise money for cancer, and because I had very long hair at the time, I realised I could donate my hair and literally give something back.
After witnessing family members having chemotherapy I understood what it was like to lose your hair through cancer treatments. The main charity for hair donations is The Little Princess Trust which makes real hair wigs for children suffering hair loss from illnesses such as alopecia or cancer. This was the charity I decided to support.
Before I donated my hair, I had NEVER had my hair cut short before, so this was a huge step for me. In the end I donated 10 inches of my hair. It was a really strange sensation having so much hair being cut off all at once, feeling the weight disappearing, and holding it after was weird. I couldn’t believe just how heavy it felt.
My hairdresser was amazing; he helped raise loads of money for me and even cut my hair for free! In the end I raised nearly £1000.
The following weeks and months were unusual as I had loads of people commenting on my short hair. Even now if I meet someone I havent seen in a while they will notice that I have had my haircut.
During the past year, after trying a couple of short styles, I am now growing my hair again.
I have been going through the milestones where I could pin it back, and then tie it back. Although I didn’t mind having short hair, I also missed long hair a little, the one day I realised I could hold my hair comfortably in a ponytail, and there was a lot of hair there! Not tiny strands that escape before I had chance to throw a bobble around them, and I felt pleased. I then considered all the people recovering from cancer treatments that achieve these same milestones but feel a million times happier.
The odd thing I noticed was that I decided to donate my hair as sponsored runs etc. could mean a potential disaster for me and my epilepsy. But people were giving my excellent praise saying I was ‘brave’, as if it was something unusual, and even before I had my hair cut, my hairdressers were giving chances to back out if I wanted. Even though I appreciated their support, I thought – its only hair. Thinking, I’m lucky, my hair is healthy and it will grow back, and I wanted to help a child who needed it more than me.
I plan to keep growing my hair and have plans for another donation in the future.
The other week I mentioned that my one passion was music; well, my other passion happens to be books, I’m either spending my free time listening to music, or reading books.
There is a place called Hay-on-Wye, its close to where I live, its full of book shops, and every year it holds a literary and arts festival. You’d think it would be my favourite place, but until this year I had never been there before! 😮
Living close-by I initially planned to visit nearly everyday, but unfortunately my brother injured his back, and needed lifts everywhere, so I didn’t visit Hay as much as I hoped. With regards to my brother, it was nice to finally return the favour, after the many years that he helped me when I couldn’t drive.
I went to Hay twice in the end.
For my first visit I saw Graham Norton, he’s just released his debut novel called Holding, and yes I’ve already read it. I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it. If you’re expecting it to be funny, it’s not, it’s actually a bit of a murder mystery and there are many at cliff hangers. One night while reading the book, I thought I’d read one chapter, I then looked at the clock and realised it was like 2am and I’d read half the book!
Graham’s talk was interesting, he discussed his book, and he talked about his career. He was exactly like you see him on TV, relaxed and funny. The audience asked questions at the end there were many questions about guests he’s had on his show, such as; ‘Who’s been the sexiest guest?’ – By the way I did not ask that, I didn’t ask any questions, as you will understand in a moment.
I was lucky enough to have my book signed by Graham after his talk. Although I didn’t feel nervous approaching him, I just couldn’t think of anything interesting to say, and when I eventually made it to the front of the queue all I said was; ‘How are you?’ which was kind of stupid. But he was really nice, and you will be pleased to know he was in good health.
While I was at Graham’s book signing I also met the historian Lucy Worsley who was also really lovely, I came away with a book signing from her too so it was a very good day!
Due to those family commitments I returned to Hay the following week to see a talk by Professor Noel Fitzpatrick.
Noel’s inspiring talk was on the subject of, The Reformation of Global Health in Man and Animals. I have recently written an article about Noel’s charity The Humanimal Trust, if you want to know more.
Noel is extremely passionate about this topic and I was glad to see so many people there to listen to him. I was also interested to learn about parts of his childhood and the veterinary practices he’d had over the years.
The questions at the end of Noel’s talk were very different compared with Graham Norton’s. Graham’s questions were mainly celeb based which would result in a hilarious story, the atmosphere in the tent with Graham was light and friendly like being with an old friend.
In the same tent, a week later, Noel’s questions were much more personal, some seemed to centre around his wellbeing, making sure he took care of himself, as he so busy with his work (again it wasn’t me). But although there was much laughter during Noel’s talk, it was clear that the audience had huge admiration and warmth for Noel, like a supporting family.
The Hay Festival was amazing to see, with its deck-chairs laid out for you to relax in and read a book, and people of all ages and from all over the world, casually strolling around just enjoying the day.
I also popped to the town which is full of tiny independent shops and loads of books shops. One book shop in particular was like something from Harry Potter, small from the front but huge on the inside with wide oak floor boards, old wooden shelving, and over three storeys tall. I was in heaven!
Overall I had an incredible time at Hay, I feel incredibly lucky to have seen two brilliant talks, and to have such an amazing place on my doorstep.
I would definitely recommend everyone to visit the Hay Festival one day, especially if you love books of any kind you will really enjoy it. 🙂
No one should ever have to live in fear of an attack
Words cannot describe how upset I felt to learn of the recent attacks in London. People out for an evening, simply enjoying their lives.
No one should ever have to live in fear of an attack.
We cannot forget that this is not an isolated attack and others are constantly happening all over the world.
I have been disappointed to see so many negative comments today on social media. I was shocked, and even considered removing myself from social media as I began to question its purpose. You would think that during a traumatic time such as this, we would unite, but there were people having heated arguments instead of considering the important things – the innocent victims, and the members of the emergency services risking their lives to save them. I saw ‘friends’ on Facebook suddenly spurting out almost hateful posts which makes me wonder how I was ever friends with them in the first place. Although I understand people may have been frightened, anxious and weary I didn’t think it was an excuse to say hurtful things to others, it should be a time to stand together.
During situations like this, I am reminded of the wisdom of Gandhi:
‘You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.’
And I think that people often lose sight of this. There is more love and good people in the world than bad people. But unfortunately good news doesn’t seem to sell well, so many live their lives in fear.
Yes, there have been more attacks recently and at the moment it’s natural to wonder if they will ever end, or if we will ever be free of them – Gandhi’s advice:
‘When I despair I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murders and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it – always.’
We must have faith, and know that the minority will never win, as Gandhi said humanity is an ocean, and our world contains far more good than bad, and in the end good will alway triumph in the end.
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who have been affected by all the recent attacks.
Many of us have medical complaints or take medications, but how often do we think about the bigger picture?
Did you know that there is a charity that is fully committed to improving how the industry is currently run?
A few of years ago a family friend of ours became a vet and got a job at a famous veterinary practice called Fitzpatrick’s Referrals. If you havent heard of Fitzpatrick’s they have their own TV show called The Supervet, which shows pioneering surgery and treatment for animals.
Before my friend worked there I had honestly never heard of the place, and initially I was tuning in to see if he was on TV – he wasn’t. I think I saw him twice. But it didn’t matter, because I have now became addicted to the programme.
The practice boasts a brilliant and dedicated team and it is clear that for all staff, their job is their passion.
Yes there can be sad moments, but you always know that they give their best and do everything that is humanly possible in order to improve an animal’s quality of life.
The show follows the practice’s owner Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, Noel is like one of those rare teachers you might have had in school with contagious enthusiasm for their subject. He has so much passion about his profession; it makes everyone else just as equally absorbed and you soon realise you have been learning loads while watching the show, to the point where you find yourself talking to friends about stuff like orthopaedics over a cup of coffee!
After discovering about Fitzpatrick’s, and adoring the whole ethos of from ther work to the love and hope that they provide to every patient and family that reaches them, I soon found that there was also a charity, founded by Noel Fitzpatrick. You would expect a charity that’s created by a pioneering veterinarian to be focussed on animal health but it’s not. It’s called The Humanimal Trust, and it focuses on humans and animals equally through the concept of one medicine:
The theory is quite simple:
Human + Animal = Humanimal
One medicine is the idea that humans and animals will be treated equally in the field of medicine.
There are basically 3 main parts to the ethos of The Humanimal Trust and their concept of one medicine:
Clinical communication between vets and doctors.
‘Everyday there are advancements and research breakthroughs in both veterinary and human medicine, yet at present neither profession collaborates to share their information that would progress treatments and procedures using regenerative medicine for the benefit of humans and animals simultaneously.’
A couple of weeks ago, I listened to a BBC Radio 4 interview that Noel had taken part in, it discussed the topic of: ‘Should Doctors and Vets Work More Closely Together?’, an audience member mentioned that while working in Australia as a doctor, he and his colleagues learnt that vets had solved a rare medical issue that had been baffling them, the solution was discovered to be a simply a lack of copper absorption. The veterinary community already knew about it and had been treating sheep for it. communication meant that the problem was easily solved.
When I first heard that The Humanimal Trust wants to improve communication, I thought about how beneficial it could be in sourcing medical solutions and treatment for so many people.
As many of you know by now I have epilepsy, and I can remember thinking that if there was a vet somewhere in the world, who had perhaps made immense progress towards epilepsy which could be of benefit to humans, I would like to know about it, and I think many other people would feel the same.
Medication for humans and animals that is ethical
Ethics in medicine is an important topic, and The Humanimal Trust is addressing this.
Currently, if we have any medication or implants they have been tested on animals in order for them to reach us, meaning a perfectly healthy animal has sacrificed its life for our medicine.
In 2015 approximately 4,300 dogs in the UK sacrificed their lives for human medicine, in the USA, that number was nearer 50,000  . These are shocking statistics, and since I have been a child I have always been concerned about animal welfare. I have never been content with the fact that animals have been used to test drugs, and that our only consolation is that it’s safer than endangering human life. But, there could be a possible solution. The Humanimal Trust proposes that with the diseases and conditions are practically identical in humans and animals, medications and implants could be trialled on animals that are actually unwell, and then co-operate with pharmaceutical companies, which would then produce more ethical medications.  This would be benefiting both humans and animals.
Human medicines are huge business, so there is a risk that pharmaceutical companies may see more profit in the way they currently run business. I once sat next to my GP as we went through a list of generic and branded medications that I could have. I saw exactly how much they were costing the NHS to purchase, and the prices were eye-watering.
A vital part of The Humanimal Trust is that they also conduct their own clinical studies; The Trust is potentially the only charity of its kind in the world that is funding clinical research in animals and humans at the same time.
It’s understandable that we all want cures and treatments for our illnesses, but there other problems that can also arise without warning, for example MRSA and Ebola. These bugs are the same in humans and animals, so what’s the best plan for when a superbug strikes? Especially as it’s no news that healthcare professionals can sometimes overprescribe antibiotics:
‘You don’t care about MRSA until it’s in your child and yet The Humanimal Trust is funding a project to look at bacterial resistance with over prescription of antibiotics, it’s the same bug. We have DNA mapped, every bug that comes into my practice it’s the same bug that you or your child would have. Why are we not doing a study in parallel? If doctors are going to be over prescribing antibiotics and vets are going to be over prescribing antibiotics,…we are in a mess.’ (Noel Fizpatrick)
So that’s the Humanimal Trust!
Im grateful for learning about Fitzpatrick Referrals through The Supervet, I believe that they are more than just a referral practice. They show unconditional love and hope to everyone regardless of whether they are animal or human.
I have been equally appreciative to discover the amazing charity of The Humanimal Trust as the charity also provides that same love and hope with the pledge to benefit both humans and animals.
I truly believe that The Humanimal trust has the potential to change the world of medicine, and benefit so many lives (both human and animal!)
Before I knew about The Humanimal Trust I always believed that our health care system was pretty good, and I couldn’t think of much that needed improvement. I’ve now realised that things could be improved and great things could be gained.