National Thrombosis Week – Patients Day

Well let’s just say I now realise that any chance of being a commuter again is a definite NO….! In the past I used to be up at 05:30, get the train at 06:30, in the office by 07:30 and be home by 21:00. Yesterday, I caught a train at 08:00 and was home by 18:00 and I’m blooming shattered…! So there you have it in a nutshell, suffering from a Massive Pulmonary Embolism really does take it out of you, those blooming consultants may have known what they were talking about after all…… Any ho …

Yesterday morning was the first ever National Thrombosis Week’s “patients day” and St Thomas’s Hospital (south of the river) was hosting the event. So with #charityoars in hand off I went. Now let me just explain, travelling on a commuter train with an oar was an interesting experience, all those suited chaps and ladies with coiffured hair all tapping away on their iPads not daring to look up or even speak to anyone were slightly flummoxed by an oar carrying chap, who not only wasn’t suited and booted, but was worse “HE WAS A NEW FACE ON THE TRAIN” and no doubt I sat in someone’s seat….! So the poor people didn’t know how to react, dare they speak to the stranger, was that allowed? I definitely heard a few headphones become louder, and the passion for reading their iPads became even stronger, but there were a couple of brave commuters (who sadly have probably by now been shunned by their fellow travellers and sent to the “carriage of shame” for breaking the golden rule of commuting “NEVER TALK TO ANYONE”…!)

Anyway as I was saying, I was able to speak to 2 or 3 fellow travellers and explain exactly why I was taking up room in their carriage with a bloody big oar. Now to me, if I was able to speak to 3 people about DVT’s, PE’s, Thrombosis and of course Lifeblood, then that’s 3 more people who now know. So we pulled into Kings Cross, a few nods of thanks for breaking the journey up with tales of Ill health (and not being contagious) and a few “good luck on the Piccadilly line” comments and off I went.

Having commuted for well over 15 years I realised that I really should have carried an oar with me before during peak commuter times. Now Harry Potter has his wooden stick (or “wand” as it’s also called), me, well I had a 6 foot “get out of my way I’m going that way” stick..!It was fantastic, no one pushed past me on the way to the escalators, no one tried to cross in front of me and god forbid anyone should try getting too close behind.

Well I made it safely to St Thomas’s hospital and found my way to the Lifeblood patients day meeting room. A warm welcome from Annya and Katherine, then to the coffee table……!

During the day there were some amazing stories from other patients. The overriding message was one of strength and the desire to raise awareness of a condition that takes more lives than Breast Cancer, Aids and Road Accidents combined each and every year. Awareness is key, not only for the patients, but for the medical community. It was staggering just how many cases had been misdiagnosed, I say “staggering” it was more like “atrocious” …!

It’s hard to explain, and even trickier to convey the emotional and psychological effects of the trauma that many of those that spoke had been through. Of course when the lovely person from Liverpool spoke about their journey, it not only rang so many home truths about dealing with the medical world and trying to make them understand the fact that we actually know our bodies, but it was delivered with a stereotypical scouse style of cheery banter and tales of drunken nights out…! As for the purple mini called Mary that was the source of strength for another fellow survivor, well lets just say I send them all a hearty salute of admiration for keeping going.

I managed to have a quick few words about the Charity Oars and my reasons behind how I ended up there and I bid my farewells as I had Fundraising work to carry out ……



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