chapter  11
7 Pages

Winter of discontent

ByCathy Wield, Keith Matthews, Chris Thompson

I think it was the mention of brain surgery that fuelled the fire of my determination. I was not going to let this beat me. I was going to make myself better. So I did not stick to the agreement with Prof Thompson not to pursue the return to work. Instead I made plans, which were accepted, to become an observer in Southampton A&E department. I was to attend for two half days a week. On the first day that I arrived, I was introduced and shown around. I felt very uncomfortable, like a fish out of water, and no one else was aware of the courage it had taken for me to do this. I was told to go to the medical staffing department to sign my honorary contract and to obtain a name badge. Again this was another huge step for me. To my horror, I was told by the medical staffing officer that I could not sign any contract or go near a clinical area until I had clearance from the Occupational Health department. With my heart pounding, I went over to Occupational Health. I knew that disaster awaited me, and my worst fears were realised. They needed a letter from the consultant psychiatrist to say that I was well enough to be present as an observer. I could not even bring myself to go over to A&E and tell them what had happened. I left the hospital grounds, weeping, despondent and utterly miserable. I had failed. It was a terrible setback.