"I just hope my experience helps to improve the care of other people fighting pain"

About: Centre for Integrative Care (formerly Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital) Stobhill Hospital / Rheumatology

(as the patient),

During my last pregnancy I suffered from placenta accreta, when I went into hospital in the Southern General to have my baby I was left badly disabled following nine and half hours of surgery. Placenta accreta is not common and I know that the surgeons did their best to save my life during a complicated and traumatic surgery, resuscitating me from cardiac arrest. I do not have any issues with this part of my treatment, it is the treatment, or lack of it, that followed my recovery that is the issue.

After the surgery, even after all the internal wounds had healed, I was left in chronic, severe pain that made it extremely difficult for me to nurse my new daughter or play with my older children. Even the slightest touch was often unbearable. My consultant showed no empathy, he kept telling me I had been through trauma, there was nothing he could do for me. All the time, I was trying to accept what I was being told but a part of me knew that there was something wrong, that the pain I was experiencing was not entirely due to the trauma and surgery but something else. I would try to explain this to my GPs, who were at a loss to explain the cause of the constant pain, also to my consultant who would again repeat there was nothing he could do.

I was referred to a pain management clinic and even saw a psychologist as part of this referral. I still did not feel as if the professionals could understand what I was going through or what I was trying to explain to them – ie that the pain felt as if it was something separate from the placenta accreta trauma.

One day my father, desperate because he did not know how else to help me, took me to the Victoria hospital for a pain management appointment. He then took me to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in the entrance and asked them to just listen to my story. For the first time I felt that someone was really listening, actually hearing what I had tried to make clear when talking to doctors and psychologists. This was the turning point.

Within three months I had been referred to Stobb Hill Hospital where I was seen by my new pain management consultant. He referred me for numerous blood tests and scans to get to the root of the problem. I was seen by the Rheumatology and Neurology departments, all this resulted in a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, chronic nerve damage, ME & herniated disks in my spine. At last I felt as if the end of my battle with pain was in sight. I knew I would not be free of pain but I now knew what the problems were and I would be able to learn how to manage the conditions, I received help with equipment at home and modifications to the house to help me remain mobile for as long as possible.

I was also referred to the centre for integrative care at the Gartnaval Hospital. I was very wary and skeptical about this at my first in-patient stay but it did not take long to realise how beneficial their holistic treatment was. I have looked forward to subsequent visits knowing that my pain would be eased, I would be looked after and nurtured by people who listened, who had taken the trouble to get to know me and my family, understood what mattered to me. I go every six months for a full check-up and to recharge my batteries.

I cannot thank my consultant and the staff at both the Stobb Hill Hospital, particularly the Rheumatology department, and the integrative care centre enough for making my pain bearable, giving quality to my life and turning me into a different person to the one I was a year ago. I just hope my experience helps to improve the care of other people fighting pain. Without the centre for integrative care and Stobb Hill Hospital I would be totally unsupported. I feel that I am proof, if proof is needed, of the very important role they play in the care of chronic pain sufferers lives, where the general pain management teams cannot.

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Response from Lisa Ramsay, Patient Experience Public Involvement Team Support, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Dear Known130

Thank you for taking the time to post on Patient Opinion. I am sorry to read about what you went through prior to getting a diagnosis. That must have been a frustrating and difficult time for you. However, I am pleased to read that following your diagnosis, you have been able to access treatment that enables you to manage your conditions, this must be making a huge difference to you.

I will ensure your feedback is shared with staff in the Rheumatology department in Stobhill and the staff in the Centre for Integrative Care. They will be pleased to received your feedback.

Best wishes

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