The week before last we received some very sad news, our beloved feline companion Sasha has cancer. We’ve been told by the V.E.T. that we should just go home and spoil her, the cancer has spread from her saliva gland to the lymph gland and she’ll only be with us for another 4 months. I noticed about 3 weeks ago that she was dribbling and her breath was a bit smellier than usual so off she went to the local V.E.T. to get examined, he had a good look inside her mouth and found the tumour and felt her neck and found another lump. As she’s what could be described as an “older” cat, she’s 12 ½ he explained that usually when cats get lumps or tumours they’re usually cancerous and that she could have a biopsy and that it would cost around £300 to £400 which for an unemployed person like me is big money. He said that he could refer her to the PDSA pdsa.org.uk/ and sent her home with antibiotics (cats clean themselves with their tongue so a lot of bacteria enters their mouth). So last week she went off to see a V.E.T. at the PDSA who explained that a biopsy would be pointless as all it would do is tell us what type of cancer it is and it would be very stressful for her so the best plan of action would be just to make her as comfortable as possible by trying to keep the swelling down with steroids and antibiotics and spoil her. So at the moment her Royal Greyness is lounging in front of the fire, she’s sadly beginning to slow down a bit, she’s still eating although she’s got a bit of gravy on her chin and is still showing us who’s boss, but it’s going to be heartbreaking when she slips away or we have to make that decision for her to take her last visit to the V.E.T. (I’m crying now). We’ll miss the ole gal. I hope there will be ping-pong balls and small birds in heaven for her.
When animals get sick it does make you appreciate the health service provided to us humans, it would be an awful scenario having to make decisions about your own or a family member’s life based on financial reasons. We are so lucky to have our NHS, my cousin has just got herself a new cat, from Swansea Cat Protection League (I think) a young, lively tabby that she’s named Aneurin, in honour of the NHS founder Aneurin Bevan. I very much doubt it if anybody would name a cat after NHS dismantler Andrew Lansley? Last week I attended a meeting arranged by the Neurological Alliance for their members who included much discussion and talks from people involved with the NHS and have analysed the plans. Personally I still remain to be convinced but as a campaigning group as a whole they’ve accepted that these reforms will go ahead and we can still have an input if we shout loud enough. During one discussion about campaigning on a local level, that means lobbying local MPs, and people who are heads of local PCT (Primary care trusts) and local hospital trusts to get our opinions and what we expect from the NHS. During this discussion the group facilitator came up with what I thought was an extraordinary phrase, “we can give you access to service users” (service user is a new euphemism for patient) I questioned this phrase “ that’s a bit patronising, it makes it sound as though us service users are locked away somewhere and are a lower life form!” another woman behind me answered, “I was a meeting once and from a group of 4 service users 3 of us used to be social workers – us service users are the best people to ask about what we want and need”. With regards to treating TS I’ve read some real horror stories, luckily the treatment I receive is excellent and should be seen as a model that ideally should be replicated in other major cities. Currently care for TS across the country is patchy, I imagine the care that I’m receiving currently isn’t exactly cheap, but in the long run, helping me to be a functional person contributing to society it does do that. At The Barberry in Birmingham where I go there are 2 TS consultants and one Neuropsychiatry Liaison nurse who delivers Habit Reversal Training, they also have access to a physiotherapist, an aroma therapist and a sleep specialist; also as Birmingham University is near by they also do lots of research into TS and train doctors. What I do fear from these reforms is that the GPs will be in charge of the funding for treatment, would they choose The Barberry or a local psychiatrist or neurologist who would only to be able to prescribe anti-psychotics?
I haven’t yet formulated a plan in my head yet, but sooner or later I’m going to need your help, I’ll need you to be able to share your experiences of TS treatment and tell me what the ideal would be.
By the way when told to “go and wake Daddy up” Sasha does the above. I found it quite amusing that the cat in the film is called Hugh.