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A long overdue update

Firstly an apology. I’m sorry I haven’t kept everyone in the loop and I don’t have an excuse for it. The bottom line is that I’m fine.

Let me elaborate. If you haven’t read my post from February, you should go back and read that. My appointment was around two weeks after I got the referral, which goes to show that private healthcare is very quick (the main delay was the fact that he was on holiday!)

The referral was probably the most complicated part of the process. I couldn’t get through to the GP on the phone to check if they had the letter for me to collect, and in the end I had to walk there before work in order to pick it up. In the snow. I get to the GP and they don’t have the letter. Apparently it was sent to the hospital, but Guys don’t have it and neither does London Bridge, so it’s pretty much a lost cause. A few minutes later and I have a print out of the letter template and I’m on the train to work.

Next job: check that my parents can actually make it in the weather conditions, and if not consider alternative people to come with me so I feel more calm. It wasn’t snowing in Brighton so the flurries in London were no barrier to their arrival. Once in work I called the hospital too – everything was working well and Mr Lucas was in the building (or a hospital building somewhere…)

Fast forward 6 or so hours, I’ve pretty much stopped doing work and have had to watch ‘Trans Kids: The Right Response’ twice to assess the complaints that had been made because I cannot concentrate. My parents are also already stood under an arch at the entrance to London Bridge station waiting for me so I leave work.

Private hospitals seem to me very much like the NHS, except for the concierge at the entrance. Nobody mentioned that the usual building for Mr Lucas’ clinic was being refurbished but after wandering round for several minutes we find the corridor and wait in a rather long queue for the receptionist to register me.

We didn’t reach the front of the queue: Mr Lucas saw us, recognised me and ushered us straight in. Private healthcare is good like that. We made small talk and I updated him on my life, and how great it is to be able to see him so quickly. By this point I was shaking a fair bit, but got through the physical examination and happily he said that the alignment looked perfect.

The lump I found? It’s the tip of one of my metal rods, made prominent because I’m so slim. Just to be safe he sent me for some X-rays and said he’d call with the results the following week. Here they actually registered me at the hospital and we waited a little while before the radiologist called me through. The only difference to an NHS X-ray seemed to be an additional dressing gown like thing that went over the back of the hospital gown to cover the gaps. Good, but perhaps not worth the money.

Once the three X-rays were complete we headed home via M&S Simply Food (some traditions never change) and had dinner before my parents headed back to Brighton. By the time they got home it really was snowing. Despite good news, I was very tired from the stress of the day, but what else is new!

The summary letter came through to my email very quickly, and I was told he would call me the following Friday to confirm the results of my X-rays. I booked the time out in my work calendar and enjoyed the snow in the meantime (by which I mean struggled into a rather empty office in multiple layers, then came home and put the heating on very high).

The Friday came and I eagerly awaited the call. He was a bit late, but his PA did at least call to warn me. Eventually the phone rang and I got the all important confirmation that I really am fine, which was great to hear. The small caveat is that he’d like to see me again before I’m 25, but hopefully that will continue to be good news!

Update over and thank you especially to everyone who got in touch with messages of support and love. I couldn’t go through anything without you all!

And keep your eyes peeled, because I have more to say (and hopefully much sooner than the update happened!)

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Here we go again

I didn’t quite expect to be writing those words, or indeed writing on this blog again. But it seems to have come to that. All will be explained, but first an update on where I am in life. Having graduated last July with a degree in history, I am enjoying life in London with my new job at Ofcom as part of their 2 year graduate scheme. I have a wonderful boyfriend of 6 and a half months and am settling into a new church and a lovely bible study group.

However, last May I ended up with back pain during exam time which led to me seeing my GP and getting a doctor’s note for my final two exams (which were three and two hours long respectively). I didn’t use the note not did I experience any further back pain.

Starting my new job alongside moving house and a new relationship was less than ideal and some back pain started again. I was getting pretty exhausted and eventually brought up the subject with my line manager, who suggested that a referral was the best way forward and that I should use the private medical insurance provided by work. Despite her advice to use my work annual health check for the referral I decided to wait it out on the NHS and therefore had three weeks to wait for a routine GP appointment, which took place yesterday.

Perhaps I expected too much of the doctor but there were no introductions or pleasantries, which I found unnerving for a first appointment. I explained my situation and the fact I have private medical insurance and she examined me. I had forward AND backward bend tests (the latter I have never done!) and she did a whole host of reflex tests and a load of checks to ensure my nerves were working on both sides. It had probably taken less than 5 minutes but I was feeling pretty stressed by the end. This probably wasn’t helped by the fact I hadn’t had breakfast yet and this was only my second spine based appointment I’d attended alone.

The upshot of my appointment is that she thinks I have a spinal curve above the surgery vertebrae, which means a definite referral. Obviously this is what I wanted, but not quite as calm as I’d intended. Plus I have to go to the GP again sometime in the next few days to pick up my referral letter.

After a cry in the toilet, a very empty train to London Bridge and a bacon roll from Pret, I was back into work and spent the day watching TV. Lunch break was a mixture of eating my lunch and ringing AXA and Mr Lucas’ secretary, who wasn’t available. When she finally did return my call, it turns out there are no longer private appointments at Guy’s Hospital so I was given the details for London Bridge Hospital, a more daunting and unfamiliar place. One minor breakdown and almost cry on the phone later, I am booked in for my referred appointment, which is after work (convenient but also inconvenient because of the pre-appointment stress). My parents are also accompanying me, some things never change and I’ve realised how lucky I was that they could take the days off work to support me.

In case the above read like a bit of a ramble, the basic point is that I’m back on the scoliosis journey. It might be a brief one or I might be in it for the long haul, but this time the updates will be live, not written months and years later!

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Cutting my hair off… (Part 2)

As you may be aware, I had a charity haircut scheduled almost two weeks ago to donate 7 inches of my hair to charity and raise money at the same time. Currently I have raised just under £275 for Evelina London and hope to reach my target once my friends get their student loans in! If you want to donate, my JustGiving page is here: https://www.justgiving.com/bethcarrhaircut. The hair has been donated to the Little Princess Trust and you can find out more about them here: http://www.littleprincesses.org.uk/.

My hair, 4th April 2016

My hair, 4th April 2016

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Mark Drama

Last night was my second time seeing the Mark Drama and it was just as powerful knowing what was to come that when I saw it this time last year. It’s one of the most unique pieces of drama I have seen and if it is being put on anywhere near you, as it is a worldwide phenomenon, I would truly recommend seeing it. Egham locals can catch the final performance tonight at 7:30, location tbc due to the weather. And you can read my review here: http://theorbital.co.uk/christian-union-present-mark-drama/

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Cuffs Review

Tonight sees the conclusion to the gripping BBC series Cuffs. I have been eagerly anticipating the series for some time and I have not been disappointed.

Following the CID department at fictional South Sussex Police, Cuffs features the acting talents of Amanda Abbington, of Sherlock fame, and rising star Jacob Ifan. Although I knew of very few of the cast before I started watching the show but eight weeks later I wish I could see more of them.

It is the Brighton setting that really enticed me into watching this show and I particularly enjoyed playing spot the location each week. The one thing that annoyed me was the fictional street names but considering they didn’t want to damage the reputation of any real streets, I can understand why they changed the names.

Focusing on family relationships, professional relationships and romantic relationships, Cuffs not only reflects modern policing but modern life in general. The storyline features twists and turns but it has been a thoroughly enjoyable watch and I would recommend it to any fan of police procedurals.

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Into Film Project: 12 – Under Milk Wood

The next film (albeit out of order) in my Into Film Project is Under Milk Wood for Dylan Thomas’ birthday on 27th October. As he died on 9th November 1953, it seems fitting to post this review now. I watched the recent BBC adaptation, originally aired on 26th October 2014 to celebrate the centenary of Thomas’ birth.

The format of the production was unexpected, although understandable considering its description as a ‘play for voices’. You probably need to pay much more attention to it than I did to really understand the plot, as I certainly did not have a clue what was going on. However, for anyone who is prepared to give the hour long programme their full attention, particularly those interested in literature, I would definitely recommend it.

The casting in the film was truly fantastic. A who’s who of Welsh stars, it showcased the talents of the likes of Tom Jones, Eve Myles and Michael Sheen, along with many many others. Each scene brought me many gasps at the new stars involved and the vocal talents of Katherine Jenkins were also much welcomed.

The other aspect of the adaptation I loved was the subtle modernisation of the play. Technology was abundant yet it did not overshadow the power of Thomas’ words and was mingled seemlessly into the story, with video calling taking a key role: not surprising when the film consists of separate shots of individuals cut together to form a coherent story.

A superb cast bring Dylan Thomas’ literary work to life in an up to date fashion, but concentration is needed to truly appreciate the production. Two stars.