"Why can't the NHS take a more Holistic approach?"

About: Gosbury Hill Health Centre / Maternity care Hook Surgery / Maternity care Kingston PCT / Health visiting

(as the patient),

For years I have suffered with painful periods, confusion, PMS, mood-swings and, in recent years, heart flutters / palpitations. I had an overactive thyroid for a while when I was a teenager (there was a period of about a year during which I didn't sleep) but it seems to settle down again eventually although using different types of pill as contraception seemed to make my mood swings and water retention worse. I was given anti-depressants in my late teens early twenties but refused to take them for any longer than a month as I felt like a zombie. I have always eaten a good diet and exercised so maybe that has saved me over the years. However, it didn't save me after the birth of my first child. I gave birth in Kingston Hospital by emergency C-section. If anyone had done a scan during the last month of pregnancy (if we did this for all women couldn't more problems be avoided?) they may have realize that there was no way my lovely son’s large head was going pass my pelvis. As I went back and forth from the hospital twice and didn’t sleep for two day with pre-labour pains I really wish I had booked in for a caesarean. Once, the pains were so bad they gave me a shot of pethidine and then sent me home after a few hours.

Anyway, thankfully, after our son became so distressed that they decided it was time to open me up, we delivered a healthy beautiful boy. Then the nightmare began. I was on the maternity ward and I started to feel very unwell. I said that I felt I was developing a chest infection. A doctor came to see me and examined me then said there was nothing wrong with me. The next day I developed a high fever and it was confirmed that I had a chest infection. I was moved to a room on my own. The cleaner used to come into the room and stand in the bathroom talking on the phone and only empty the bin – nothing else. My husband had to complain to a couple of different people before anyone did anything.

Whilst I was so unwell and out of it, I don’t think I fed my son. I don’t remember. No one noticed until they weighed him and noticed he had lost too much weight. It makes me so sad to think we were just left to our own devices for three days and I felt so unwell I didn’t look after my baby. I tried to breastfeed him and my breasts become engorged. I remember calling in the middle of the night for a nurse as I was in so much pain and I didn’t know how to breastfeed. The nurse pinched my nipples hard as she tried to show me how to express. When I said that it hurt she shrugged and said ‘it will’. I learned the next day when I saw a lovely nursery nurse who taught me how to express properly that it really shouldn’t hurt!

After I went home I started to produce a green discharge from my private parts. I went back and forth from the doctor and consultant and the VD clinic (as they’re very good and thorough at the Wolverton Clinic) and everyone said there was nothing wrong with me but I felt unwell and the discharge persisted. I even took photos of the discharge but no one would help me. I was given antibiotics appropriate to treat urine infections etc. I was upset that I had to take all these chemicals as I had been very careful whilst I had been pregnant to try and create a relatively chemical-free environment for my baby inside my body.

My c-section scar also became infected as no one taught me how you should breast-feed a baby if you have had a c-section (our son used to kick and punch me where the cut was!). After I stopped breast-feeding my health became really bad. I felt ‘on-the-floor’ tired. I was so confused and washed out. I kept on going back and forth from the doctor’s but they said there was nothing wrong with me. I the end I changed doctors and I was told they suspected Hashimoto’s disease. The past year since then has been hell. At one point I was being Levothyroxine, beta-blockers (to stop my racing heart) and sleeping pills. In the end I had a kind of breakdown at work and had a month off during which I stopped taking the sleeping pills and beta blockers. I increased the dose of Levothyroxine and felt better for a while. Then I started getting headaches and abdominal pains and I always felt flu-y. I tried to speak to doctors both privately and on the NHS about alternative solutions but no one would speak to me about something called Armour Thyroid ( natural desiccated thyroid extract). In the end I bought it online and slowly made the transition on my own from the Levothyroxine to Armour. However I ended up taking too much. This was because whenever I called my doctor they asked me to come for a blood test in a week’s time which was really hard-going as I work and to run a house and work whilst you feel like you’re going out of your mind is really tough so I would up the dosage and then feel better. No, as I was not happy with self-medicating and I feel I need to really make some lifestyle changes, I go to a homeopath.

They put me on a strict diet and with that and the medicine in just 1 week I feel like I could maybe have a life again! Why don’t our doctors take a more holistic approach to our health? Why won’t they speak to us about the alternatives? I know the dosage in Armour pills is supposed to be unreliable but I would rather feel good 70% of the time and crap 30% of the time than rubbish 100% of the time. I agree that the NHS is great if you’re dying – but how much suffering could be averted if preventative action was taken? If someone’s not feeling right, check their bloods straight away to see what’s going on! Don’t just give them pills and send them away. Maybe the cause isn’t being dealt with – just the symptoms!

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