Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Stanmore 2014

On Monday 24th February I had my yearly catch up appointment with Dr Cohen.  It has been just over two years since my last rehab stay at Stanmore.  We've made a lot of progress in that time, I now have a powerchair which I hopefully soon will be allowed to use outdoors, I'm just waiting for an assessment to make sure I'm safe to use it outdoors. Things have been adapted in our flat so that makes things a bit easier around the flat.  We have power assisted doors into the building and into the flat, so I just have to press a key fob and the doors open, well when they work they do anyway! Last year we had an adapted kitchen put in, suited to my needs this makes using the kitchen in the wheelchair much easier.

Dr Cohen is really friendly and approachable, willing to listen and has a lot of helpful suggestions.  We had a chat and she is going to refer me to a bladder specialist at UCHL a urogynaecologist and I really need to get that looked at before I have any lower surgery (metoidioplasty).  She said seeing as I have a rectocele and a hiatus hernia that chances are that I probably have a cystocele/prolapsed bladder too.  I've had bladder problems for years, so it's good that it will finally be looked into.  My GP says it is probably stress incontinence but being someone in their late 20s it's kind of embarrassing having to wear pads and worry that you are going to wet yourself if you sneeze, cough, move too vigorously or can't get to the toilet in time.  

We also spoke about my swallowing troubles and she said that I need to get back to see someone from professor Aziz's team as they are the people who diagnosed the dysphagia.  It was only quite mild the last time that I saw them but this was a few years ago and it has got a lot worse since then.  Eating just really hurts and I often choke on food, drink sometimes even my own saliva.  

I spoke to Dr Cohen about my jaw problems, this is something that I've been having a lot of trouble with for at least the last 15-17 years.  Unfortunately Dr Cohen said that there really aren't any dentists in the UK that specialise in EDS.  There was one person that she could find that would be willing to work with patients with EDS and he is based in London, I don't remember the name but I will get it in my report from Dr Cohen.  The best placed service to help though is the community dental team as they are for people with needs above and beyond what a normal dentist would be able to cope with.  The problem is I've been trying to get referred to our local community dental team for a while now, Bristol Dental hospital tried to refer me but screwed up the paperwork and I was told that I didn't qualify for their service.  They said to get my regular dentist to refer me but they wouldn't do it unless I went in for another consultation, this wouldn't be a problem but they aren't wheelchair accessible.  They claimed to be wheelchair accessible but that would only be true if you were to have treatment in the waiting room.  The building was accessible but the treatment rooms aren't, the last appointment I was in my manual chair and I hoisted myself up the step and then my wife lifted the chair up, we could barely get in the treatment room though as it was so cramped.  So I'm hoping that we can sort something out soon as that was ridiculous.  

We talked about my second stay at Stanmore on the rehab ward.  This time it would be 2 weeks instead of 3.  I had been in contact with the lady who books it in as I had been given a date but it was only a few weeks after I am having surgery so it was a bit too soon as the course is so intense.  We are aiming for some time in mid June, that would give me 8 weeks to recover from surgery before going on the rehab course.  Just need to wait to hear back about that.  

All in all I felt that the appointment went well and although there is still a lot of stuff to work on we are making progress.  It isn't so much about curing as making life manageable with the right aids, appliances, pacing etc.  I'm next due to see her in another year, but I will probably run into her while I'm staying in June.