Strong enough to hold on, brave enough to let go…?


Back in 2011 a colleague shown me this phrase she had tattooed, it immediately struck a chord.  The phrase takes many forms and many interpretations within any relationship…  I’ll come back to this later.

Today is Janice’s birthday, as with all milestone events I felt the anxiety build up over the last couple of weeks, it starts subtly and builds up to reduced sleep, irrational thoughts, panic & fear coupled with bouts of lucid thinking, smiles and what can only be described as the new normality.


The last few days has been particularly stressful, whilst tidying up I stumbled across (What the widowed community call) a grief bomb 💣.  A bottle of Janice’s perfume was secreted in a drawer that I’d carefully put away during a particularly bad spell last year.  On finding it of course I had to have a sniff.  I knew I shouldn’t, I was unable to stop myself.  (If Janice was here now she’d say “Weirdo!” in her comical tone)…

💣Booom… Flashback to happy memories, happier times, travelling on a tram in Budapest.

💣Booom… Walking hand in hand around Rome.

💣Booom… Celebrating her significant birthday in Portugal.

💣Boooommm… Morning cuddles just after waking up.  Janice insisted on her cuddle, she said I’d regret it if anything happened to either of us that day.

I was reduced to a wreck again…

JaniceB - 139.jpg

The next day I was tidying up a hard drive and found an unnamed movie file (looks like it was in the to be processed folder) and out of curiosity loaded the movie up.

💣💣💣Boooom….. Booooom…. Boooommmm… It was footage from our wedding day.  Janice looking gorgeous in her wedding dress, her voice… hearing her voice again, the memories, the day, her voice, the large bottle of Vintage Moet she carried around after the wedding breakfast… her voice so calm and reassuring… So overwhelming it was game over… I curled up into a ball and just let time go by, several hours later I felt able to cope with the basics again.

DSCF0093.jpgI look back at what’s happened over the last year, stories and news missed out on, new friends made on this journey, significant events and just being able to tell you and listen to how each other’s days have been.  Here lies the problem, I realise more and more how much you did for me, how much support you gave me, it’s the little things that we take for granted that I miss the most, your smile, your humour, your ability to make me smile even on bad days.  Just so much you did.

Last year I destroyed your garden by the way… Didn’t know what I was doing, and it needs your green fingered skills and patience.

randomImage-6.jpgI miss you every day, in the early days I used to think of you as being in another room of the house, which then became you’re out shopping, to back from work later that day, to away on a business trip, each justification becoming further apart.

The thing is, I don’t want to accept I’ll never see you again, your smile, always looking out for other people and fixing broken things.  For the first time since you left this world, for just one fleeting moment the thought entered my head that you are gone forever (which is true, I know) that I don’t want to accept, it scared me, the thought of gone forever, maybe that’s why our home is filled with your picture on the walls so I “See you every day”, maybe that’s my coping mechanism, maybe I’m just plain weird…


Have you ever found yourself thinking where you are in the world, and like a google map zoom up and out to the home, street, town, city, country, map of the world and go further to the moon, beyond to the planets and see how infinitesimally insignificant you are in relation to the universe, a spec of dust on a spec of dust on a….  you get my drift…

Janice Being Naughty.jpgI don’t want to let go, maybe I’m hanging on too tightly, every scrap of memory, every photograph, music you enjoyed, fulfilling your wishes, I miss you so much, the pain is great, the hole in my heart remains, and here lies the problem, I realise that with everything we went through, the pain, the trauma, how quickly cancer takes over.  It’s not like the Movies or TV with soft emotional music playing in the background, it’s brutal, it awful, it’s cruel, and no one prepares you for the end, I’m not brave, quite the opposite, I have no real choice, I love you, I always will, I’m just not yet brave enough to let go…



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Good Night Jade, You Are One of Life’s Angels.


I was shocked and sad to learn late Saturday evening my friend and fellow widow passed away on Friday whilst out for a walk.  My thoughts are with her Mum (Debbie), Dad(Bill), Sister(Naomi) and Nephew(Mason) at what will be an extremely difficult time for all.

Jade was an awesome person, she’d gone through such a traumatic experience of losing her fiancé to an aggressive cancer whilst caring for him throughout his illness where lesser people may have just buried their heads in the sand.  Jade was a fighter, caring compassionate and great sense of humour. Jade was heartbroken and masked her grieving among the non-widow community.  She was also one of life’s beautiful souls, both inside and out with a great future ahead of her.

I will miss our conversations, meet ups and banter, though I’ve known you for a relatively short period of time and under awful circumstances.  I know you made a difference to everyone you met and had the ability to make people smile through their grey days.  Always looking out for others, caring, compassionate and genuine.

People always underestimate dealing 24×7 when the person you love the most are suffering from cancer.  It’s not like Hollywood or the TV programs, it’s an extremely cruel disease and yet Jade had strength to push through this. Jade started to blog her experience here but found writing a difficult experience.

Another Angel taken far too soon, Good Night Jade, I hope you find your peace with Colin.  RIP xxx

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Grief Never Forgets…

JaniceBrooks-410.pngI didn’t expect to be caught of by today’s anniversary, but I have, the build up has been bad and the day has knocked me for six…

I still love you, miss you, need you, the pain of losing you grows intensely, our future plans gone, stolen from me, we were meant to spend our lives together, instead you spent yours with me, the absurdity of life is so cruel and unfair.  Others won’t understand this kind of loss, and nor would I want them too, knowing the pain and anguish that awaits everyones future in a happy relationship.

I’ve had various comments from now ex-friends to every day people, who think grief has a time limit, grief can not be solved with some pills, it’s not a disease, but it is very real.  I was told I should be over it at 9 months, the reality is any one suffering will know we don’t get over it, we just try and absorb it, but the grief and loss will follow us until we meet again.

This time two years ago is when our lives would change forever. A week earlier I’d accompanied Janice to the hospital for an appointment to investigate a lump. This appointment was different to the others we’d previously attended over the years. Normally she would be at the breast clinic for an hour or so, and then sent on her way, eventually a letter would be received saying there’s nothing to worry about (Fibroids again)… But this was different… After the mammogram, she was sent for a needle biopsy, blood and other tests were thrown at her that day, waiting on professionals to look, and request other tests.

The needle biopsy clearly hurt her, it wasn’t often she complained of pain and discomfort. Poor girl was in tears. After several hours we were told that results would be available in about a week’s time and an appointment would be made, but don’t worry….

Janice received a phone call the next day, and a follow up date for a clinic appointment was made for a week later. I was worried, but Janice brushed it off and said there’s nothing to worry about it, the outcome will be no different than the times before. That week I was working in Slovakia (Bratislava) and wasn’t able to change the meeting dates with the client, (work wasn’t too happy about that).

I asked Janice to contact her sister or friend to accompany her to the hospital for the test results, but she was adamant she will be fine and nothing to worry about etc. etc. I knew when to stop pushing Janice a long time ago…

JaniceBrooks-412.pngWe’d facetime during the week I was away, but Thursday was different… No facetime, just an audio call… I wasn’t surprised as WiFi was pretty rubbish at the hotel I was staying in. She asked about my day, and carried on as usual, as though nothing happened, she let me prattle on (I assumed everythings ok because she didn’t say anything about her appointment), and … then she said those words that changed our worlds forever…

“I have Cancer” …

Possibly one of the most power statements anyone can make, and hearing those words, shocked me to the very core, my legs buckled beneath me, I fell to the bedroom floor unable to stand, dizzy, numb, shocked, disbelief. I felt cold, my eyes filled with tears, shaking and just wanted to be at home with her, to wrap my arms around her and just be there for her, but I was 1,000 miles away.

Janice was calm, I stuttered my words, my throat felt like it was being squeezed tightly, I was the opposite of calm asked how she felt and what did they say?

She explained, that entering the consultants room, there was a Macmillan nurse and other people present who explained their findings. Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Very Rare and quite large at 6.5cm and that they will be acting quickly on a treatment plan.

Janice talked about the experience, I was still on the floor sobbing, shaking and trying to take it in and shouting No, No, No…. Why Janice? Why her? She said “Why not me?”, My gorgeous wife was calm, I was a wreck, we spoke for another hour and when I calmed down enough I was looking for earlier flights home.

I asked her if she had anyone with her that evening, usually it was quiz night at the local pub, she said no. She’d gone to the appointment on her own.

I can’t imagine what went through her mind when she was given the news. I still feel guilty I wasn’t with her at that appointment, something hindsight will haunt me to the end of days. I felt guilty I wasn’t with her to receive such awful news, that’s what husbands do isn’t it?

I said call your sister, she said no, she had to tell her mum first but she was away on holiday. I said call your friend Theresa (Theresa was coming up to 5 years clear of her Breast Cancer), Janice said, she’s probably busy. I said explain I’m sure she will find time for you but take a taxi and I’ll pay.

Janice went over to Theresa’s that night so thankfully she wasn’t alone, the rest of the evening I remained in shock, tears, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, wanted to scream and tell the whole world, but Janice was a private person. It was a bad night as I was worried, scared, feeling helpless, a thousand miles away and no earlier flight than my BA flight the next day at lunchtime.

In the morning, I showered, already packed, couldn’t face breakfast (not good for a diabetic), my driver picked me up from the hotel and talked as he had done all week, I tried holding back the tears since I didn’t want news to travel within the office. I arrive at Vienna airport, still shocked, spoke to Janice when WiFi was working, boarded my flight and was picked up by my driver at Heathrow and headed home.

JaniceBrooks-315.pngJanice always GPS tracked me on my phone and knew when I was arriving home, she was waiting at the doorstep as the car pulled up. She had a nervous sile on her face. I gathered my cases and walked up to the front door, waited until we were inside, dropped everything and gave a big long hug, whilst we were both in tears.

I made drinks, we sat on the sofa as she explained what happened in the last 24 hours. Janice is one of the bravest people I know, she’d gone through a lot, and processed a lot of information in that 24hours. I couldn’t say the ‘C’ word, but Janice made me, she insisted I called the illness by its name. I didn’t want to acknowledge it, I couldn’t believe this would happen to her, one of the kindest and considerate people I’ve known.

Janice said, you must promise me you won’t research this, google it or give me statistics or treatment information. She knew me well enough that I couldn’t keep such a promise, it’s my nature to research…. I’d already looked up breast cancer. For her age, statistically treatments were 92% effective and you’d have to be pretty unlucky to be in the 8%. So I was feeling optimistic for her future, knowing it was going to be tough (understatement) but they will treat her and she will be well.

I felt as optimistic as Janice was, and various appointments started that Monday morning to attend. I attended every appointment bar 3 with her, the first I missed being in Slovakia, the other two at her request.

We had to wait until the Sunday before travelling up north to her parents to break the news. Janice was so scared, she didn’t know how they would take the news, how they would react. I’ve never seen Janice scared of anything until this, the act of telling her family.

To be continued…


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Next of Kin Conundrum…

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 20.14.12Can I catch a frickin’ break?

TL;DR: I’m a walking nightmare, the NHS don’t understand the concept of No Next Of Kin…

The story…

Today I was off to the hospital to see the consultant about my busted ankle…

Thankfully?!? It was playing up today and I’m in excruciating pain.  If you could see it now you can see and feel the two Tendons across the ankle bone thing, which look like two veins have popped out. 😖

He confirmed that the Tendons are clearly dislocated and probably cause is my knee surgery, without the MRI he can’t determine the best route for repair until he opens me up.  In the meantime he will request the scans from the private clinic.  He’s confirmed that surgery is the only option, having signed the consent form I’m on the emergency cancellation list for which he is hoping to get a date with Mr Slicey in the next couple of weeks.

There are some high risks given the diabetes, of blood clots, infection and the usual disclaimers including the % chance I will experience significant life pain post surgery due to nerves and stuff…

I’m sent with my medical file to the Pre-Op Assessment Clinic on the other side of the hospital, where I hobble along with crutch in toe…

First up… The HCA, who recognised me from last October and we had a bit of a giggle, especially when using the “Peak Flow” meter, as I’m about to let rip, she says with that thing in my mouth looks like I’m giving a really bad BJ… Well it was game over as I hadn’t laughed so much in a long time… 😂

The pharmacist recognised me from the ward I was on, we complete the relevant review  and finally the Nurse…

Nurse: “Next of Kin is blank!”
Me: Yes I know, I have no one.

Nurse: What about Relative, Friend, Brother/Sister/Child etc.
Me: I’ve explained it’s blank because I have no one.

Nurse: Well have you considered putting a friend down?
Me: I’m fairly intelligent and considered a lot of options, and frankly there isn’t anyone, besides should I join the choir invisible I wouldn’t be too concerned?

Nurse: Well have you considered Power of Attorney…

Geez she’s like a dog with a bone because a field is blank on her computer that appears to be non-mandatory, doh! Of course, how silly of me not to consider the many options. However discussing with friends although I’ve communicated in advance just switch me off, they’re very uncomfortable to agree that.

Me: Why are we admiring the problem? I’ve communicated there is no one, it will have to be blank until I have a better option!
Nurse: If something happened it would be a police matter…

Me: Again, I’ll be with the Choir Invisible so I don’t think I’d be overly concerned, can we just move on or do I really need to complain?

The conversation ensued for another 10 minutes, when she glances through my medical file and spots the Red DNACPR form I completed and signed just before my last surgery…

Nurse: What’s this?

Me: It’s a DNACPR, I have on registered with my GP too J
Nurse: Is it still current?

Me: Yes, I don’t wish to be burden on society.
Nurse: Have you sought counselling?

Me: …Adventures in NHS Counselling… Day 2

Why is it so difficult? I’m reasonably intelligent, I hope I can articulate and communicate decisions clearly and concisely, what am I doing so fundamentally wrong?

There we have it, I will be back on the same ward I was on before, being sliced and diced at the ankle now.  I will be in a plaster cast (quite possible a full leg cast).  Out of action for several weeks with even more limited mobility… I really wish the healthcare provider hadn’t collected my OT aids yesterday…

The positives?

Hopefully my ankle will be repaired and I can get back to recovery!
Had a good old laugh with the HCA.

The downside…

More time off work

Reduced Mobility

Got to sort out OT aids again…

Doing it on your own…

I miss Janice, my soul mate 💔

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Adventures in NHS Counselling… Day 2

I arrive for my appointment a little stressed since roadworks closed the only access to the building and I had to find alternate parking…

I hobble the distance on my crutch to the address with seconds to spare, and with a smile I announce myself at reception.

The receptionist in her very early 20’s covered in tattoos confuses my name with the name of the counsellor saying they don’t have an appointment for … I patiently explain, no I am here to see that person, my name is Jason…

Receptionist: “Do you know which department they are from?”

Me: “No”

Receptionist: “There are 42 departments operating in this building…”

Me: “Mmmm ok, wasn’t an issue two weeks ago…”

Receptionist: “Can you give me your Name, Date of Birth and Address please”

Me: “Yes, I can if I had privacy, however there are other people arriving of which they are stood invading my personal space, and from a data protection point of view it’s not information I want to be sharing with the general public” …

They really don’t understand Data Protection or the upcoming GDPR, or care quite frankly…

The couple whom flanked me, looked a little embarrassed and took a step back.  I ended up showing my driving licence with all the information available.

I’m asked to take a seat whilst they sort this out…

Ten minutes into my appointment time pass when the receptionist informs me I was discharged last year and shouldn’t be here and to go home and make an appointment with the GP for a future referral.

I explained that her records management is clearly poor and not correctly maintained…

At this point the counsellor calls me on the phone to find out where I am…

I explain that reception won’t let me in as I was discharged last year and that I’m instructed to go home.

The counsellor arrives in reception, and explains that her appointments are on a different IT system, yawn yawn blah blah blah…

20-minutes of my 50-minute slot has been wasted by an inept receptionist and broken controls/systems that don’t provide an accurate inventory of visitors for the day…

I’m thinking compliance, controls and governance are out of the window as I take a leaflet for their complaints procedure…

Once again, I find myself sat in the same skanky room, complete with bodily fluid stained chairs, wiring on the floor to trip over and I’m proffered the same questionnaire for anxiety and depression and instructed to fill that in.

I try to make conversation, but rules are rules, nothing to discuss until the form has been completed…

The completed form has its scores totted up and I’m told that my anxiety has increased since the last visit.  Why is that?

Well… Reception didn’t help… Plus I have the builders in and the place is in a mess…

Counsellor: “Have I discussed the different therapy options with you?”

For the remaining 10 minutes I’m informed of the different techniques she is trained in, and then asked if I had a preference? CBT or EMDR.  I didn’t have a strong opinion either way, and then I’m asked about my childhood (ah Classic Freud, to paraphrase If it wasn’t your father it was your mothers fault…) I stated (as I had in my previous session) that my childhood is out of bounds, I only want to focus on and discuss the grief and trauma of losing my wife through such a cruel disease and what she went through.

I’m informed that EMDR is not relevant to me then and CBT is the only option…

At this point we’re out of time (well there’s 10 minutes to go but I’m informed that it’s not worth using that time now), and the next appointment is when she returns in a month from taking a holiday!

Two sessions, paperwork and not really discussed what my issues and problems are…  There is too much inefficiency in the system that I don’t see or feel any benefit.

I may go back to private counselling at least they jump straight in and flip the old noodle open and take a look under the hood…

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Confessions of a Physiotherapy Session

Following on from my recent total knee replacement surgery, I undertake Physiotherapy sessions to help with my recovery.  Today’s blog entry describes my recent experience of one such session.

My taxi drops me off outside the Physiotherapists reception, where I struggle to get out of the car using the door frame for balance, lifting my leg using my clothing to get it out of the car whilst trying to ensure my crutches don’t damage his paintwork.  The taxi driver enjoys a WhatsApp conversation with someone…

The bright white automatic doors of reception slide back making a satisfying “ahhhhh” sound as though they had achieved it’s greatest thing today, with each slide just as satisfying as the last, these doors don’t get bored of their only function in life…

I arrive to a well-lit and clean reception with just a couple of people sat in smart chairs waiting to be called.  I announce myself at the desk and greeted by a friendly lady who’s already pulled up my details and confirms I’m “All checked in”.  I seat myself slowly on the raised chair, with crutches in hand and hospital air boot protecting my damaged foot and ankle.

A few moments later I’m called by the physiotherapist, she’s young, slim and full of youthful energy and enthusiasm that I only reminisce about, as I’m instructed to ascend two flights of stairs to her treatment room…  I’m surprised a lift wasn’t available… It takes me 10 minutes to painfully make my way up the winding staircase, one excruciating step at a time clinging on to the bannister rail and hoping I don’t slip, and more importantly I don’t break wind as the Physio who is following behind watching my every move…

Finally, I reach the top and enter an old poorly lit room, tired décor with massage table bolted firmly in its centre, a bunch of Victorian looking torture instruments, the skeleton of the last non-compliant patient and a desk with an Apple MacBook Air with two chairs. (ahh Apple, there’s hope!)

The therapist takes no time in telling me to disrobe (from the waist down), I remove my socks, Sweat-Pants (since my leg is so swollen I can’t get into a pair of jeans) and stand vulnerable and part naked with just my Polo-Shirt, under crackers and a pre-emptive nervous smile…

Then… I’m taken completely by surprise as she pushes me up against the wall, drops to her knees, puts one hand around my bad leg and then starts tugging… gently at first and then longer, harder, deeper with each stroke…  At this point the only thing going through my mind is ….

“I hope she doesn’t let go!”

What were you thinking?  Take your mind out of the gutter! This isn’t Fifty Shades of Phsyio 😀 The therapist was using an oversized elastic band wrapped around the back of my knee and applying a force that the bad knee had to resist… I noticed that the band wasn’t securely wrapped around her hand, all that was going through my mind was if she let go, that’s

  1. Gonna hurt!
  2. I may be singing Soprano for a week or two.
  3. I’m going to look odd carrying my gonads around in a wheel barrow!

I’m invited over to the massage table and asked to lay down with both knees elevated towards the ceiling and asked to clench my bum, using my core to lift myself off the bed in a short thrusting motion, about 10 reps into this exercise, again I’m thinking “Please don’t fart, please don’t fart”… and then it happens….

Just as she grabs my bum and gives it a warm but firm squeeze…. Paarrrrrrp…..

We both went bright red as she apologised profusely explaining she was checking I was working the muscles and should have warned me/asked permission before doing so.  I laughed as I was then told to get off the table and stand up using the table for balance whilst trying to stand on Tip Toes…

“what happened next caught me by surprise.”

My experience of Physiotherapy so far is that each week they find new and creative ways of punishing muscles you never knew you had with different exercises.

Given the issues I’ve had since my knee replacement and ankle pain, I’ve been increasingly concerned that this is now me, someone who struggles with stairs, trouble with sitting and standing up from low sofas/chairs with reliance on sticks and aids to get about.

I ask “Given the length of time since surgery, is this who I am now?”

In my mind I feel that my mobility issues are a punishment for not finding a solution/cure for my late wife’s cancer, the guilt of not being able to save her still plays on my mind every minute of the day.  If so, I can accept this, its nothing compared to the pain that Janice suffered and endured, as she smiled daily facing her inevitable fate.

But what happened next caught me by surprise.

She asked…

“Do I think the world see/treat fat/overweight people differently?”


I responded by saying that people will always pre-form an opinion/judgement on someone based on their appearance.

Whatever my size doesn’t mean I’m a different person or any less capable of doing my job.

The conversation that followed was interesting since there’s clear prejudice in the health system to people who are overweight.  These prejudices seem to be irrespective of each individual’s circumstances, contribution to the welfare of their country, or type of role they perform etc.

I could take this conversation in many directions but not today.  You could take a look at

She expresses concern about whether I’m eating healthily, and of course cooking for one isn’t fun, especially when the only things I can cook (loosely described) is to reheat ready-made meals for one from the supermarket, or cereal/toast!

I was asked if I would re-marry (a common question Widow(ers) are asked). My response surprised me.

I explained what is the point of finding love again, especially as I am still so very clearly in love with my late wife.

With that aside, I explained there’s no point opening your heart to anyone again only to see them die, or for them to see you die.  Statistically half the population will have some form of cancer if reports and findings are to be believed

I don’t think I’m capable of loving again… My heart couldn’t take it.  Why should I be happy when Janice isn’t here to share in these new experiences?  I explained to her my theory of the absurdity of life (one for another blog) but why care that much again for someone knowing its futility, that ultimately it leads to heartache and grief?

No, I have to protect my heart, my soul, build the barriers, build the walls so I don’t have to experience this again, and to protect others from experiencing this too…

At 14 months, 7 days 2 hours and 17 minutes into this journey, I cannot shake the feeling that I’m lost, dead on the inside and just waiting… Waiting for what I don’t know… but it’s like I need to be ready for something and just wait…

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Bereavement Counselling in the modern day NHS


After 13 months since losing Janice to such an awful disease I’m finally granted bereavement counselling courtesy of the NHS.  Its proven very difficult to access any services for bereavement when you actually need them!

Since Janice didn’t pass at the hospital she was under their care I wasn’t permitted to use their bereavement service.  Cruse were not taking on any case loads due to funding and lack of resources, GP was tearing their hair out as bereavement support is so badly lacking.  If it was not for the charity WAY (Widowed and Young) who knows what might have happened.

A counsellor called me to arrange an appointment, and I turn up to the address given to me.

The facilities were run down, dirty and frankly quite depressing, a stark contrast to private counselling hosted in modern inviting facilities (or maybe I’m missing the point).

I “Sign in” to a book that simply asks for initials, date and person to see.  The book is available to anyone and not protected by reception, it doesn’t add any real value to the “Fire Safety Requirement” for visitors signing into the premises.

I wend my way up one floor to the waiting area, littered with used tissues, wrappers, heavily stained office carpet installed in the 80’s (probably) and sit in the least soiled chair available.

A friendly looking lady pops her head around a door and asks if I’m Jason? I say yes… “Follow me she says…”

I hobble the short distance to her office/room which didn’t look any better than the rest of the building.  Two heavily soiled chairs, desk, litter on the floor, an EMDR light therapy unit which was used in the last session with cables scattered everywhere as a tripping hazard (And not the Hey Man good trip? Kinda way!), all squeezed in what is a 6 x 4-foot room with two doors!

The other door had a piece of tape covering the eye hole and you could clearly hear someone typing and talking in the room behind that door.

The lady introduces herself, her role in the NHS, emphasises that all conversations are confidential to her and her supervisor, unless of course I’m at risk to myself or others in which case a ballet of people will get involved…

On the question of privacy, I politely ask how can a session be private if the person beyond the door can listen to all conversations.  I’m informed the situation isn’t ideal for a Mental Health Unit (Really?!?) but my choice is to go back on the waiting list for a counsellor at a different facility to be available!  Given I’ve waited more than a year, Hobson’s choice really…

I suspect a course on the Data Protection Act, General Data Protection Regulation and UK Privacy Laws are in order for whomever is responsible for provisioning that facility, but I’ll save that for another day…

I’m asked if I know why I’m here? WTF, seriously?  I then start to explain, but cut short as I’m instructed to complete a standard form which assess my anxiety and depression levels, and scored appropriately…

No talking about my issues until forms are complete (Achtung Achtung… Patients Vill Be Compliant Yah!)

There’s more blurb on what the counsellor is trained in (apparently not bereavement), and then a whole spiel on how she’s constantly assessing herself for quality and assurance purposes, could I work with her and vice-versa and a whole load of other arse covering legal-ease about the services they offer.  She says, I will be offered approx. 10-15 sessions if required.

Now facilities aside, I would expect the skill of the individual dealing with bereavement be key rather than the environment they operate in, but a bit of tidy up wouldn’t go amiss…

A number of the forms that needed to be filled were meant to be sent to me before the session to save time.  This didn’t happen, and then I’m offered an explanation about how crap the IT systems are, and how there are different IT systems within the NHS that don’t talk to each other so any data from my assessment last year wouldn’t be accessible by this counsellor as she is on a different IT system to the other counsellor!

I’m so glad our tax is being spent wisely at the large consultancy delivering consolidated IT platforms (or milking the NHS with high contract rates and junior earn-as-you-learn-coders).

After all that, there were about 10 minutes left in the session to actually talk about why I am here.  During which it was close to 4pm and all she was interested in was going getting away on time…

Overall, the first session was of no benefit to me, merely an opportunity for a disillusions NHS worker to complain about the levels of admin/paperwork/and moan how bad IT and facilities were in the NHS…

Next session not for a while since the counsellor’s  on holiday and family matters to deal with…

Posted in Bereavement, NHS, Personal | Tagged , , | 2 Comments