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17 May 2017


let me tell you a story. it starts a hundred years ago, when i got my ears pierced aged 21 and then suddenly became allergic to everything on the planet. hyperbole, but close enough to truth; i had a scratch test and found out i had a skin allergy to copper and a bunch of chemicals that are in everything, and a bunch of food intolerances. it sucked, but was easy enough to manage: don't wear cheap jewellery, don't eat onion, use chemical-free body wash et al. job done, ish, for some time. until fast forward a few years and i was living in new zealand, and i was getting head colds, sinus infections, and rashes on my body all the freaken time. the doctor then, after serious inspection, determined i also had a physical allergy, this time though, to something in the air. sadly, he wasn't able to be more specific than that, and i was prescribed nasal spray for daily relief, and the suggestion to "maybe move out of the city" in case it was pollution. eventually, i did.

that was then, this is now. and now, it's worse. my daily sniffles and sneezes are the worst they've ever been. my sinuses ache with every breath i take in, which causes impossible headaches. my mood is affected. my energy levels are affected. everything is affected. so i did what anyone would do, and booked yet another appointment with my gp. i say "my gp" but, it's just "my local practise" where there are a tonne of doctors, all overworked and underpaid. it's an nhs clinic after all. so i booked, and i waited, and then i went. i went armed with a list of things i wanted to talk about, to get off my chest, to discuss solutions for. when i told my doctor that, i was told to choose the most important thing because i only had 10 minutes with her.

ten minutes? to talk about my ongoing health problems and overall wellbeing? i started with my prescription repeats, because they're the most important *technically*, and she went on to waste my ten minutes asking questions that are already in my notes, and checking my blood pressure three times - rendering me unable to speak - because "it was a little low". then, my time was up. when i questioned this, and literally begged for another five minutes of her time, i was told i'd have to book another appointment. the next one, was three weeks away. this is outrageous! i was so furious with her lack of care for me, that i stormed out and told the receptionist i didn't want my next appointment with her. i also lodged a formal complaint, though i know it'll do no good. i was so angry i could cry. so angry at the system. so angry, at my body for failing me again.

floral shoes c/o ego | jeans : e5p | top : primark | bag c/o coach

so angry that i took to social media, and soon, the recommendations come flooding in. suggestions of private doctors and apps for doctors on demand, and friends who had experienced the same, and found a solution. i decided that it was time i spent some money to look after myself, and i downloaded one of the apps; doctapp. for same-day appointments in london, with qualified, professional, and caring doctors, for a minimal fee. £24 pounds later, and i had half an hour of a dedicated doctor's time, three prescriptions, two referrals, and a pathway to recovery. and relief like i have never felt before. finally, someone had some advice, had something to say, had the time to listen, and i couldn't have been less pissed off about having to spend my own money to get there.

it's not a solution - private health care, and it's not for everyone. mainly because not everyone can afford it. and while i don't begrudge £24 for the relief of talking to someone who cares, i certainly can't afford that every time i need to see a doctor. i also can't afford the referrals to the specialists, so thank god for health insurance. i'm lucky enough to work somewhere that has enough decency to offer health insurance to its employees, and thanks to that, i'll get seen without a wait time. that makes me one of the lucky few. and right now, i do really feel that way.