Back to the beginning, a beginning. 

“It just doesn’t feel right.”



A story.  A story with much more tragic consequences that mine.  Our elder daughter went into labour with her fourth baby.  The pregnancy had been fine, the first stage of labour went well, and the beginning of the second stage was proceeding as normal, then Lucy began to feel that things were not right.  She told the midwife that she had pain at the top of the bulge and that the pain was not normal labour contractions.  “To be sure, Lucy, you’re grand, the baby’s fine, you’re fine, just keep pushing.”  This was Ireland, hence the Irish syntax.  Lucy is far too tough for her own good, she always has been and this was another one of those occasions when it did her no favours.  She struggled on, and said again that things were not as they should be. There were more reassurances from the midwives. And then after an interminable length of time she simply ran out of steam, she felt paralysed and began to lose consciousness.  It was only then that they realised that things were not well.  By the time they opened her up the baby had been dead for some time, the uterus had ruptured so badly that the baby was outside the womb, awash in a reservoir of blood, and Lucy’s life was in danger too. 


“It just doesn’t feel right.” 


If anything this is plea for doctors, nurses, medical practitioners of all kinds to listen to patients, and to trust patients.  A friend the other day used exactly the same words to me; this was what she had repeatedly said to GPs in various parts of the country, it took eight years for her non-functioning thyroid gland to be diagnosed.  In the end it was just one, experienced GP who took one look at her, immediately suspected a thyroid deficiency and ran the blood test that diagnosed the problem.


This is what I have repeatedly said to my long-suffering husband throughout the last two and a half, verging on three years:  “This just doesn’t feel right: this discomfort, this sense of pressure and tightness is not normal.  This is not asthma, and it cannot be COPD or emphysema because no one gets those things overnight.  Something is not right. This degree of breathlessness is not normal, it is not normal ageing.  And the next person who smugly says ‘You must remember, Kate, none of us is getting any younger,’ is going to get thumped.  Very hard.”



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