Many who have been reading my blogs for a few years, or are connected on social media with me, will know I have a friend in the UK who was a clinical neurologist, and who is now also an eminent academic and author. Like me, he can be a tad short tempered, and does not tolerate fools easily; we have even ranted at each other a couple of times too, and it can be ugly (!!), but we get over it. The reality is we love each other unconditionally as true friends, with all of our faults and with our individual differences and gifts as human beings.
Everyone has a dark side or things from their past they would prefer to forget, and it is just not something everyone admits it, at least not publicly. Those who can appear honest and sweet, are often the ones stabbing you in the back, as I clearly found out late last year…
Shibley, apart from being an academic and author, is also a full time carer for his beautiful mum, who I feel so close to it feels like she is my adopted mother, and I love her that much too. In a strange kind of way, the three of us are all similar to each other, and total opposites in other ways. His intellect, in spite of him having almost died and now living with significant disAbilities, even though he recently had his disAbility allowance cut, can only be called ‘genius’. The person assessing him for disAbilities must have been 100% sight impaired, as it is very obvious he is living with significant disAbilities.
He is also a recovering alcoholic, and wrote this blog in the last few days, which I hope everyone in the health care sector might read and really listen to. His own peers watched him slip beyond being healthy and into addiction, and did nothing to support him. Medicos and nurses seem to have the most prejudice and discrimination against their own in regards to mental illness and issues such as addiction, as I have so often seen or heard stories of. Please do read his blog… I have added some excerpts here;
Being a doctor, with other people’s lives in your hands, is a massive privilege.
Much like a person who receives a diagnosis of dementia, I experienced enormous relief at receiving a formal diagnosis of alcohol dependence syndrome.
For the psychiatrists, it was obvious. I was unable to stop at one drink. I would have to drink more to get the same hedonic effect. I used to drink to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.
This June was in fact the tenth year anniversary of my six week coma spent in the Royal Free ITU in a coma. It was after that I became disabled. I had been resuscitated in fact by a colleague of mine who had been at Northwick Park. I sustained both a cardiac and respiratory arrest on the same afternoon in June 2007, as well as an epileptic seizure.
He goes on to say;
I remember, however, being very ill at the time of my job in a certain London trust. It was later remarked to the GMC years later that I had ‘bloodshot eyes’ and smelt of alcohol. Curiously, that Trust never made steps to help my health at the time.
A consultant and his registrar never discussed these health issues at the time, either.
In this experience, and throughout his recovery, the most important thing any doctor can learn happened;
I tried to rebuild my life again. I remember the GMC Fitness to Practise panel asking me in 2014 what I had learnt most from my time off the GMC Register.
I explained that I finally felt I knew it what it was like to be a patient.
Some time soon, I will write another post referring to Shibley, which will be a book review of his third dementia book Enhancing Health and Wellbeing in Dementia, which I am very slowly reading as it takes me much longer these days. But, like his first two dementia books, it is brilliant. You can read about his first dementia book here, his second dementia book here and you will find some of his other publications and books here. All of his books are available on Amazon, including the medical text books.