The cost of care

February 27, 2009

Was listening to the radio yesterday as you do and one of the main local news stories was how my local PCT spend less than the rest of the county on mental health care. A grand total of £136 per person per year. This may explain a lot. According to the BNF my medication, Efexor XL, costs £39.03 a month, that’s £468.36 a year. This means that even before I start accessing therapy, I’m already using more than three times my annual quota of funding. And when you start considering the cost of people resident in psych hospitals… OK, it is an average and so the effect is dampened by people who take a 69p box of fluoxetine 20mg a month but still. It’s no wonder I can’t access any help. I despair I really do. Until mental health is properly understood and accepted  people won’t realise that the large initial cost for therapy is sill less than the long term cost of keeping people medicated and hours lost through an inability to work etc, never mind the personal cost to sufferers. I know therapy isn’t a perfect solution and won’t work for everyone, but for a lot of cases…

Oh, and before the rest of you start celebrating that you live somewhere with better funding, the average spend nationwide is still only £168 per person per year. Not a lot is it?


Woo, damn, woo, damn

February 25, 2009

So, I had my interview after a deadly dull three hour drive to get there. The A1 really is the most sleep inducing piece of road I’ve ever had the misfortune to experience. Interview was a joke to be honest – a completely informal 10 minute chat along the lines of “why do you want to be a nurse” and “where do you want to be in 5 years time”. Long and short of it is I got an offer. Woo! Don’t mean to sound arrogant but they seemed pretty desperate to have me, even wondering if I wanted to start in March rather than September.

The only issue is that the offer is conditional on enhanced CRB disclosure and occy health clearance. The CRB bit shouldn’t be a problem unless I murder someone in the intervening 6 months which is unlilely but the occy health bit is pretty much a no go. Doesn’t help that I was reading advice online, looking for info on the format of interviews and read something about someone concerned about an interview with occy health. Response was “don’t worry, you’ll be fine unless you have a personality disorder or something”. Great, just great. Still by then I’ll have a brand new shrink, maybe a new diagnosis (I do have a habit of accumulating them) and hopefully a piece of paper to say that I’m stable enough to survive the course that occy health will listen to.

In other news, my jewellery making course has been cancelled due to not enough people sgining up. TO be honest the way my life is, I should really have expected that. Something I’m looking forward to actually happening, don’t be daft.

I got a letter through from SJA occy health witch to confirm my fitness (or lack thereof). It’s ridiculous, the only thing she’s stopping me doing is the advanced training. So I’m still allowed to go out on duty, where the likelihood is I’ll be the person making ultimate clinical judgements on casualties. There’s a fair chance there will only be 1 or 2 other members present so think what chaos I could cause! But I’m not allowed to do a course that will give me some more advanced skills in order to better treat and assess people when on those duties. The decision seems to have been based on a complete lack of understanding of mental health, but again, what was I expecting.

And the worst part of it all is I just don’t care. My life is disintegrating around me and I can’t summon up the energy to give a damn. I know it’s the drugs. Without them I can’t function. I end up collapsed in a corner crying continuously, screaming at everyone, being desperately dependant on or passionately hating Nick (and switching between the two at 5 minute intervals) or better yet start hallucinating. But at least I feel. With them, there’s nothing. In a detatched way I know everything’s broken but it’s like it doesn’t matter (even though I know it does). And conversely when I got the offer I should have been delighted, but it was just another pointless event in another pointless existence. So there’s just nothing, no real emotion on the surface, although deep down it is there and I feel like crap. At least it makes it easy to act like everythings fine, put on a front so the world doesn’t know what it’s done to me.

Oh and today is the first day I officially have more debt on my credit card than money to pay it back in my current account. I am officially broke and still as close as you can get to unemployed. I do have a couple of first aid companies wanting to pay me to do freelance training which is good but it’s taking a long time to get everything set up, and even when it is, I don’t know if there will be enough work to pay the bills. Still, one of them wants to pay me £lots/hr so I suppose there wouldn’t need to be that much work in order to get by.

And back to normal…

February 23, 2009

I have my first interview for nursing tomorrow afternoon and it’s occurred to me that in all the recent stress and upset I haven’t even remotely prepared for it. On paper I massively exceed the entry requirements, but in practice it may turn out very different. I’m sure I’ll be able to answer all the standard “why do you want to be a nurse” type questions to some degree but other than that I don’t really know what to expect.

And even if I get an offer, I still have to clear the major hurdle of occy health. I’m starting to wonder if I should even bother. If St John won’t let me do advanced training, that’s only a couple of weekends and in a voluntary capacity, why are the NHS and unis going to let me lose on a 3 year degree with real people? And there’s a part of me thinks that if I’m going to be disappointed at the last hurdle, then why bother at all. At least that way I’d be letting myself down on my terms rather than having what I want snatched away again.

Of course by then I should have had some therapy but I’m really beginning to doubt myself. All the psychiatrists I’ve seen think there should be no barrier to me doing nursing, but all the occy health advisors seem to disagree. In a few weeks I have my assessment appointment with shiny, private therapy place which should lead on to talky therapy. I’m hoping from this I’ll come away with some definitive answers as well as a report that says I’m stable enough to do the course. But even with that, will occy health listen? I have to say I’m sceptical.

This is all in the future anyway. I need to get in first before starting to consider how to tackle the occy health devils.

And now for something completely different…

February 21, 2009

Because I felt it’s about time this blog had a vaguely positive, fluffy post on it, here’s what I spent yesterday afternoon playing with:


8 mini daschunds at just over 24 hours over. Squee, mini sausages! You can’t get much fluffier than puppies now can you? Here are some up close pics of the babies:

And just incase you’re suffering from cuteness overload, here’s one of dad in all his glory:


There, that’s better. Normal mad ranting will be resumed shortly!

Unfit to practice

February 20, 2009

So I had my response to the health declaration and it’s a no. I can still do duties and stuff, maybe if I’m a really good girl and promise not to do too much damage and as long as someone keeps an eye on me but apparently now is not the best time for me to do a “difficult and intense course”. I’d argue now was the very best time for me to do said course as it’ll be a great distraction and is what I want to do. Surely I’m the best judge of what I am and am not capable of, i have insight remember?

Read the rest of this entry »


February 17, 2009

I had to fill in a health declaration for St John last night. This scares me so much. St John is my escape, it makes me feel better, I genuinely enjoy the looking after people. Without the politics it would be my perfect pasttime. It’s what started me down the long road to nursing in the first place, it’s my passion. So anyway, I have a place to do PTA (patient transport attendant), the lower level of ambulance crew course within St John. I really want to do this, it will give me a few extra skills, and allow me to use some of the ones I already have without getting frowned at for acting above my station. I hoped I’d get away with never doing another health dec for them so they couldn’t see how much my mentl health has deteriorated since I joined, and have no reason to rescind my membership but no such luck.

I have a feeling this is not going to end well. I’ve been completely honest. Why yes, I have been turned down from a job becasue of a medical condition. Yes, I do have a mental problem. I can’t see them liking this, and I don’t think it would help if I told them not to worry because the psych said I’m only a danger to myself not to others. I gues there are two points this leads to. The first is the way the form was worded really angered me. One of the questions was

“do you suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, mental conditions?”

It’s that last phrase I have a problem with. I have a mental health condition, not a mental condition. I think it’s the negative connotations of the word mental on its own, without the fluffier health tacked on after it. Now I don’t know if this is just me being over sensitive?

Another question reads

“Do you have any mental and / or physical problems at the present time?”

As Nick pointed out I’ve no problem with them using physical without health after it, but then and again that doesn’t have the negative asssociations of mental. Any views? This is a standard SJA form and I don’t like it but I don’t want to just be horribly misinterpreting as per usual.

The second thing this raised is my complete black and white thinking. In this case, my desire to be honest on the form nearly made it read even worse than it already does. I wanted to be so honest. I felt I needed to tell them I’d been hospitalised following a suicide attempt in the last month, that I didn’t want to live anymore, that I’m crazy, that the job I’d been turned down for was directly relevant to St John. This information wasn’t asked for per se, but missing it out felt like lying, manipulating the truth for my own ends.

Anyway, it’s in the post now so just have to wait. I’ve said they can phone me if they need further details but giving my habit of babbling incoherently on the phone, it probably won’t help my case. To be fair, St John is full of the mad, the broken and the generally disturbed, in some cases it seems to be a condition of membership. I don’t feel my health stops me carrying out the role but NHS occy health felt I couldn’t work in a hospital, so why are SJA going to let me lose on the public in an even less protected setting?


February 16, 2009

Just to let you all know I’m still out here on the off chance that anyone cares. I’m avoiding posting as I feel I have to be positive in them which would just be a lie. I don’t want to be seen as a whinger with made up problems blogging about how much their life sucks when there’s people out there actually suffering. Now I’m sounding like my mum with the ‘what right do i have to be depressed’ line. As I said in the last post, it’s just me reading too much into what people who read this think and being too afraid of being judged. So why blog online at all? I don’t know. I enjoy it but now I’m too afraid to. WHat sort of person does that make me?