Hysterectomy – a wake up call.

by Bina Pattel, 52 yrs, London, UK 

At the age of 45 – I was 14 weeks pregnant, had a miscarriage and did not stop bleeding for 11 weeks. After 8 internal examinations by different doctors, I told my husband I would rather die than have another doctor examine me. I thought this was the worst time in my life. I had no idea that worse was yet to come.

I collapsed at home and the ambulance came and picked me up and dropped me off like a parcel on a stretcher to the super busy A & E department at the local hospital. I vaguely recall a nurse passing by me twice and looking concerned. She pulled my eyelid down, saw how pale I was, and went off in haste. Before I knew it, I was on a drip and told my blood count was very low and I needed 2 blood transfusions and there was no time other than to give my consent, which I did.

At no point did I ever consider the seriousness of what my body was telling me. Continue reading “Hysterectomy – a wake up call.”

Dementia – is it truly a mystery?

by Doug Valentine, BSc Eng, window cleaner, Frome, Somerset, UK 

The truth is I cannot remember exactly when early stage dementia started for me, because the onset was so very gradual and undramatic. I understand that it is fairly normal to not become aware until the symptoms reach a certain level. In my own case drinking daily quantities of alcohol that obliviated all my senses also contributed to my lack of awareness. My feeling is that it would have been detectable to me at age forty – or perhaps before, if I hadn’t chosen to numb myself in the way that I did. I feel that it was definitely discernable to me by my mid forties.

How can I say this? Well by then it was becoming a struggle to remember things from the day before with any accuracy, and sometimes not at all. I recall my life around that time being a sort of terror – that I might forget something vital, that may harm one of my customers and therefore also harm my business and my family, and so I wrote everything down on lists and carried multiple messages to myself in my pocket. I was not honest with myself about this, telling myself that this is just what happens, as we get older. These memory issues added to my already high stress levels, because I couldn’t talk to anyone or admit what was going on. I felt that if I did, I would have to cease working in my business, with all the financial implications that that might have for my family. So I chose to hide it and not seek any help. I also put my head in the sand with regard to considering what could have caused it. The above average alcohol consumption, as well as above average caffeine consumption, continued as before, without any thoughts of cutting it down or perhaps more sensibly giving it up! Continue reading “Dementia – is it truly a mystery?”