So, Friday was spent mostly struggling to breathe – yay, asthma!! I can’t remember the last time I needed to use my inhaler… but four days in London last week seemed to be a time of much allergy (good old ever-present hayfever / allergic rhinitis led to swollen red eyes, sneezes, sniffles, plus hives (skin allergic reactions) too… I’m so fortunate… But it turns out my ventolin is 3 years out of date !!!

aaaanyway… back home in Exeter Friday (day off) and I wake up struggling to breathe… so I get up and walk (slowly) up the road to my doctor’s (half a mile’s walk) and I get there, panting and gasping, explain to the receptionist my issue and could I see a respiratory nurse please to get a new inhaler? But it turns out the first appointment I can get with the resp nurse isn’t for another TWO WEEKS, oh and the on-call doctor has a massive backlog (doesn’t he, she asks her colleague sat beside her, oh yes, she replies, you’ll be waiting ages)… so they advise me to go to the NHS Walk-In Centre on Sidwell Street (this is back in the same area as my flat, but further away, so nearly a mile)…

I don’t want to burst into tears there, so hold it together and trudge away… eventually I arrive at the walk-in centre, very much gasping for breath now, flustered, and anxious… I breathlessly explain to the reception what has just happened and start crying, and gasping… she takes my details and tells me to calm down… then advises me there is a wait of 1hr 40mins… I burst into tears again “but I can’t breathe” and she pats my hand and says, don’t worry, I’ll tell them you’re having trouble breathing , they should see you quicker… Off you go upstairs, she says, waiting room on the left – oh, there’s a lift if you want it (!) and here’s a tissue, you’d better take two…

Up I go, and yes I’m afraid I do take the lift… I walk into the busy waiting room, trying to compose myself and take a seat, gasping and wheezing… fortunately I’m seen quickly and the nurse soon gives me some Salbutamol and my breathing starts to calm down… she listens to my chest, looks concerned and goes to get the doctor to have a listen too… they decide to prescribe me some steroids (!!) because all my tubes are inflamed… and she makes me promise to keep the respiratory nurse appointment in a fortnight’s time – don’t worry, I say! I’ll be there…

So, overall, Yay! for the NHS for sorting me out and giving me medicine to help me breathe (free of charge, thank goodness), but also, Boo! for the stupid systems and procedures that forced me to walk for a mile whilst I was clearly struggling to breathe!!

Advertisements