Last week I had my first hospital trip of the season although unlike the football, I was hoping to delay kick off until at least September. It was the first visit (not counting my outpatient season ticket) since my tracheomalacia diagnosis so it felt a bit like a pre-season friendly to test out some of the tactics I’d been revising all summer.
There were two things I was dreading from my meeting my hospital opponent:
1. Standard asthma protocol: antibiotics, nebulisers, peak flow meters and a shed load of steroids). This has happened to me throughout all of my previous matches in hospital but often, doesn’t actually help. Particularly worried about steroids and the effects of taking them on a regular and long term basis.
2. CPAP: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. One of these massive masks being strapped to my entire face and having air continuously blasted down my airway while I’m struggling to breathe. Here’s a nice little photo reference of the lovely CPAP mask.
Even though I know that ultimately, CPAP will help to artificially stent my airway open through the positive pressure, I find the concept quite daunting and a little harder to get my head around especially when I’m out of breath anyway.
What actually happened during my first hospital fixture of the season was really refreshing.
- Each member of staff I encountered in my journey through the hospital listened to me
- They all read the letters I had with me (these are written by my consultant explaining my condition and making suggestion of what to do in an emergency)
- They saw asthma in my records but didn’t assume that was the only problem and didn’t start immediately with steroids
- I was seen immediately by a respiratory doctor who wasn’t completely familiar with the condition but they called the consultant to flag my visit in the hospital and to ask for advice
- A member of my consultant’s team came out to see me, listened to my symptoms, explained the problem, came up with a solution and gave me an email address that I could use to ask any additional questions in future
All of this was a dramatic change from last season, it was in a different league. I was listened to. I was able to explain my symptoms and nobody assumed anything. This was incredibly important to me as often, I worry about being able to communicate effectively when I’m struggling to breathe and I worry that I’m not understanding the signs my body is giving me sometimes. It made the process much less stressful and intimidating and again reminded me just how lucky we all are to have the Premier League NHS there for us both in and out of season.
Sorry for all the football references, I committed to using them half way through but now feel a bit silly as I know nothing about it.
Are you thinking “What the hell is tracheomalacia?” – read my first post.