Category Archives: My Family


I have signed up to the GLAD Study – the largest of its kind in mental health to try to understand associations between genes and depression/anxiety.

I am someone who professionally has been on the “other side of the fence” for decades – trying to recruit people, and the right type of people, to studies in attempts to help patients and further scientific knowledge. Thus I understand the need to sign up to studies, if one is eligible and I do so whenever appropriate.

I also have a very personal interest in the study – my mental health problems in recent years relating to anxiety and depression are no secret. I could probably write a patient’s guide on most antidepressants and types of talk therapy! I am in a relatively good place at the moment…..but I was only able to navigate the tortuous process of trying a multitude of treatments over a necessarily long period because I am self-employed and was always able to schedule my work in a manner that ensured I provided 100% in my work…..even though it often led to difficulties in the non-work arena.

Many people are not as fortunate – they have no flexibility in their life to undergo such tortuous “suck it and see” approaches to treatment. The GLAD study may ultimately make life easier for all of us – if we begin to understand what medications and other interventions are more or less likely to work in what patients, based on their genetic makeup, then much human misery may be avoided.

I have a purely personal desire, too, that some older treatments are rediscovered, along with the facts their side effect profiles are not half as bad as many young doctors have been taught!

beards and whatnot

Random stuff today.

Various people liked it when I grew a beard in Sweden. Sorry people, it has gone for good.

Turns out, if you have extremely strong, wiry, (we are talking wire wool strength) hair in places like your beard, then ingrowing hairs are HORRIBLE. This week I am getting help from my former-beauty-therapist sister to puncture (probably pus-filled) lumps under the skin and try to root out four or so ingrown hairs. Never again am I attempting a beard.

TF Choices Ltd is registered, and I think I have my first contract (details confidential). Yay. Company bank account up and running, accountant sorted, etc.

Otherwise, lots of re-integration to British life to do (DVLA, you are a pain) , as well as family stuff….

Also, the English FA, what on earth were you thinking with that tweet? I’m no football fan but sheesh……this is the 21st Century and you seem to be in the 1950s.

I am not dead

Someone was worried I have been so quiet (awww).

Don’t worry I’m not dead or anything. Just jumping through various hoops to extricate myself from Swedish bureaucracy and re-establish myself here in the UK. (Which can be surprisingly frustrating even for a British citizen.)

I am hoping some degree of normal service will be returned to next week. For your information, in the short-term at least I will be providing some advice on DCEs etc to the best of my ability and providing some part-time support to my father in the family business. He is 65 and is getting too old for a lot of the physical stuff, not to mention the additional admin he has had to shoulder with other family members being ill recently. So I will help out – and so also learn something about accounting. That should probably read “relearn” since I did a professional exam in it when I was an actuary but (1) That was in 1995 and (2) I hated actuarial work so probably didn’t pay much attention, much less retain any information.

NHS fail

I am in Nottingham, UK. Supposedly to get some support from family for my rapidly escalating health problems.

However, I have ended up being the carer and the “person kicking up an almighty stink” to get appropriate care for my sister. (I note that this has NOT, thankfully, caused my own health to worsen – being in a loving environment has been hugely helpful, even it means trying to explain to two 6-year olds why the f%ck I had no idea how the X-Box game Minecraft worked, and why “patience” – in order to get coins for my angry birds game – was a virtue and not a reason to go apeshit LOL).

Anyway, Elle has had a series of symptoms very similar to mine over the past year. However, she has also experienced a number of symptopms suggestive of hyperthyroidism recently which have not been taken seriously by her primary care doctor over a 6 week period.

Well the sh%t hit the fan a couple of nights ago when I decided enough was enough and she had been fobbed off enough, by a primary care physician, and a service contracted out (by the hospital?) to triage less severe cases.

I sent a rude tweet accusing Nottingham hospitals trust of risking a thyroid storm in a patient – which was no exaggeration, her symptoms were looking increasingly like that, yet no appropriate tests had been done, just the bare minimum blood count levels. There was, in short, no patient-centred care and certainly no attempt to look at the whole picture plus the trends in her thyroid and other levels.

So here is Elle’s story in her own words.

As she said, it is a sad state of affairs when someone who, although not a medic, knows the system, has to resort to social media to ensure the basic, the BASIC tests that would have identified a condition that can become life-threatening.

The Nottingham Hospitals came good in the end, showed support, ringing at a late hour to get things moving, but personally I think she has a shit primary care physician.

shaming useless medics via social media

My sister was yesterday diagnosed with thyrotoxicosis. In addition to the traditional symptoms of hyperthyroidism she has had intolerable pain in her thyroid amongst other things.

Things came to a head today. She went to the GP today who palmed her off on NEMS services (despite her letter warning of the severity of her diagnosis and that she had had to immediately start treatment – which was yesterday). She went to NEMS and had blood tests…..they came back and gave her basic blood count results, ignored the rest and more-or-less told her to bugger off. WTF?!

She was discharged, despite suspiciously high pulse (even by the standards of our family). Continued to feel awful at home.

So I tweeted the hospital (Nottm NHS Trust) and the NEMS used to palm off patients they deem less needing of treatment.

Ooooh, results within half an hour. Telephone number to real person for Elle to ring. Re-analysis of bloods tomorrow and will be contacted by endocrinologist to discuss the crucial thyroid enzyme ratios. And if her deteriorates tonight she is to ring 999 and tell them she is suffering a thyroid storm so she is rushed to A&E.

Social media. Shame shitty GPs and primary care providers who can’t or won’t spare the 20 seconds it takes to read a critical letter from a consultant alerting him or her to a condition that could be extremely serious. Yes I know the system is strained, but we shouldn’t have to resort to these methods.

with the family

Had a nice 4 days in Singapore and the flight on to LHR was par for the course – except for me not getting exit row like I usually do 🙁

Now settled into the family home. Two months of R&R and seeing friends. All very relaxing.

A plug for the family business

Am off work ill today feeling like crap.

So here’s a plug for the family business (UK only), which started out making bog-standard window blinds (memories of my school holidays helping out) but now primarily makes very attractive Japanese panel blinds. Dad is on his latest media blitz….apparently getting attention from that Sarah Beeny wasn’t enough 😉

My Sister Elle

elleMy sister is 2 years younger than me, although she looks 10 years younger. She is a fab sis and is incredibly funny and intelligent. Not many people see that because she’s always devoting her life to helping creatures less fortunate than us… Cats.







We all know cats are cool. Look at this little cutie!! 1383628_10151616727132693_1547241553_nThere’s nothing quite as adorable as a kitten pretending it’s dead.

If only they looked like that all of the time hey?

In case you hadn’t guessed already, Elle wrote this page when she set up the site for me. Thanks Elle….. I think 😉