Hello! How are you? I hope you’ve had a good 2017 amidst the craziness and uncertainty of the world around us. I hope that you’ve had more than a few moments of joy and happiness and laughter.
This year has been a tough one for me, especially my health. From March through June I was signed off work suffering from pneumonia. I was burned out and came down with a handful of infections that my body was unable to fight on its own. After a late phased-return in August/September I went off again at the end of September when it became clear that I still had pneumonia. (That would explain the breathlessness, exhaustion and near-constant headaches then!)
I’m back to work now, and feeling much, much better. I just need to get fit again and lose a lot of weight. One positive thing that came out of this year was my learning to sleep properly again. My sleep has been disturbed for a decade or more. I’m learning just how important sleep is, and how much more I now get done because I’m rested and feeling fresher. Who knew?!
I was chatting with a friend the other night about art, and about visiting art galleries. It got me thinking about this painting, The Vale of Rest, by Sir John Everett Millais that used to hang in the Tate gallery on the north bank of the Thames back in the mid-1990s.
Recently, while reviewing various online accounts, I discovered that my Oyster card—the travel card used on London transport—was out of date: a first generation Oyster card. I was advised to apply for a second generation Oyster card.
As I was completing the form I wasn’t able to select ‘Rev’ from the options available, so I selected ‘Other’.
This is the letter I received today, with my replacement card.
Although I attend clinics at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee on a regular basis, on account of my having inherited autosomal dominant polycystic kidney (ADPKD) disease from my dad, the last time I visited Ninewells Hospital in Dundee was when I accompanied a really close friend to her clinic appointment.
While I was waiting for her to finish, I got chatting to a woman in the waiting room who turned out to be a coordinator for SHARE. She told me about the scheme and I signed up straight away.
What is SHARE?
SHARE, the Scottish Health Research Register, is a new NHS Research Scotland initiative created to establish a register of people interested in participating in health research.
When you sign up for SHARE you agree to allowing them to use coded data in their various NHS computer records to check whether you might be suitable for health research studies.
One example is in allowing SHARE to use any leftover blood following routine clinical testing.
This can be incredibly useful when it comes to developing new tests, treatments and cures for a wide variety of health conditions.
Why I joined
Every time I visit the renal clinic—currently every six to nine months—I have blood taken to check my kidney function. They can’t possibly use it all when they do their tests, so I thought it sensible to give permission for my leftover blood to be used for research purposes.
As I write, there are currently 177,848 people registered.