Tag Archives: pandemic

How To Get An NHS Doctor’s Appointment Today

Well, it’s a nightmare. It’s a battle. It’s hit and miss. It’s a protracted and exhausting procedure that I’m sure puts most people off bothering.

Today I suddenly broke and realised I can’t continue living the way I am – every day in pain and agony from my hip, back, knees, and head. Something isn’t right. I can’t cope with the pain any more. And why do I have all this pain anyway? What is WRONG with my hip, my back, my knees..? And why do I get a headache every single day and migraines most day? Why do I wake up every morning with a splitting headache? I honestly can’t take it any more. it’s making me a bad mother and a miserable human being. I need to make a doctor’s appointment.

BUT… Gone are the days when you simply pick up your phone, call the surgery, and book an appointment. Gone are the days when you can go online, select a day and time from the list, and make an appointment. No, no. You can’t do anything as simply or easily any more. Why? I do not know. Perhaps it’s because they’re using the coronavirus pandemic (that isn’t a pandemic in the UK now) as a continual EXCUSE to keep patients away so doctors can have an easy working day, but if so, this is a stupid strategy long term. We are all so ill and suffering, and we’re only getting worse and worse alone at home, making our injuries or diseases more complex and harder to treat every day that slips by that we don’t have any medical attention.

But back to my story. Having decided I need to see a doctor to find out what on earth is wrong with me, I went straight to my GP surgery’s website where I discovered that unfortunately I can’t do anything today or tomorrow because it’s the weekend and, naturally, the doctor’s are closed. You can’t phone, text, email, or fill out a form – they are shut, closed, offline. This is extremely inconvenient.

Meanwhile I’m resigned to the fact that, even on a weekday, I won’t be able to see a doctor face-to-face because… Coronavirus Excuse, so Monday (in two days’ time) is the earliest I’ll be able to fill out the electronic consultation form. I will hope against hope that the vicious triaging guard dogs allow the form to be seen by a doctor, and then hope that a doctor, any old doctor (I never see the same one twice) replies and sends me an email to say that I have permission to phone to book an appointment with him or her, by phone. It definitely won’t be a face-to-face appointment straight away because Coronavirus Excuse. I will then get on my knees my knees and pray that the appointment they make for me isn’t scheduled too far ahead in the future (and not at a time when I’m already doing something important – because I get no say at all about when my appointment will be. If you don’t accept the one they offer you, you get the feeling that there won’t be another one and you’re made to feel utterly ungrateful). It could be up to two weeks away. When I finally do get that precious telephone appointment, which will obviously be without any eye contact or body language or any physical examination, I will have to ensure I convince the doctor about how much pain I’m in every day, and how I can’t go on, and desperately need help. (Why does it have to be that I’m absolutely desperate before I seek help?) After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Most likely they’ll offer pain killers but no exploration as to what’s causing the problem. If I’m extremely, incredibly lucky, I may manage to somehow convince him or her to allow me to come into the surgery and sit down opposite them and have an actual real, life face-to-face appointment. This would be like some kind of miracle, a similar feeling to winning the lottery. If they examine me, they will be shocked at how much I’m suffering and FINALLY, I might actually get some help – hopefully a referral to a specialist. But in reality, a face-to-face appointment with a doctor is extremely unlikely.

This is what it’s like these days in the NHS. No exaggeration. It’s easier to get a hairdresser’s appointment, your nails done, a virgin media technician or even a plumber to come to your house. Massive problems are being stored up for the future and patients will be dying in their thousands because doctors – the first port of call for us ill and suffering people – are trying their best to keep us away as long as possible.

I’m usually proud of the UK and England, but right now I’m losing that. The GP service is not fit for purpose. The NHS is failing its people. God help you (me?) if it’s cancer.

Lockdown 2.0

As expected, the Government has announced that a second national lockdown will take place, although this time schools, colleges, and Universities will stay open. It will last for four weeks and then regions in England will go back into the tiered restrictions that have become familiar recently.

I agree that a lockdown needs to happen – and probably one more stringent. I intend to follow it to the letter. I’ve decided to socially distance from everyone, including Paul (my ex-husband and father of the twins) and my parents. I want it to just be me and the twins in the house, no-one else. Coronavirus cases and deaths are rising alarmingly exponentially in the UK right now, steeper even than during the first wave of the pandemic. I think I’d prefer the children to stay at home this time too. For safety’s sake.

I’m worried about getting the virus again. I feel short of breath from time to time, but as happened during the first wave, I can’t tell whether it’s psychosomatic or real. If it’s real I wouldn’t know whether it’s one of my usual long Covid flare-ups or the start of something new. I have no other symptoms, really – perhaps the hint of a sore throat – but I’m trying to ignore that. In winter I usually have a sore throat and a cold for about three months solid so it’s nothing remarkable. I don’t want to panic myself…

But still. These are very worrying times.

Coronavirus second wave graph

Second Wave

So today we are officially in the second wave of the coronavirus. It’s only three months since the end of the first wave. It didn’t take the virus long to bounce back. At the end of August I noticed an upsurge in the numbers, and by the time the children went back to school the trend was already established. It was clear the virus was taking hold in the UK again. I think the summer holidays is to blame for this. People took trips to Europe when the virus was already widespread once more, and then they brought it back to the UK. We are an island, we should have done better than that. Also, young people (between the ages of 16 – 30) relaxed and acted as if there was no such thing as the pandemic. There were many illegal raves and parties. Now the country is seeing the effects of these things. A nationwide lockdown may be needed once again, as a “circuit breaker,” although the Government says it wants to avoid this if at all possible. It also says schools will stay open. Thank God.

Second Wave

It’s September 14th 2020. The second wave of coronavirus is now here in Britain. In the book ‘50‘ I wrote about what it was like as the pandemic hit with the first wave, and I continue from where I left off, here in this blog.

Schools have just gone back for the autumn term. But fear is in the air again. Anxiety is settling back into my head. The frustrating thing is that when the number of infections was rapidly declining back in June, my school refused to open. The children have been off for six months solid. Now that cases are rapidly escalating, the school is open. It doesn’t make sense to me. I was so frustrated, almost angry, in June. Keeping the school closed felt like the lazy option, it felt like they were letting the children down, especially since it felt comparatively safe outside. I wrote about this in ’50’. My kids were desperate to go back, and I was desperate for them to go back! Now it’s a different matter. Although schools are determined to keep open, the virus is running rampant in society once more and I’m worried that my kids will bring the virus back to me and I’ll get ill again. I’ve only just recovered from the first infection.