This week Group 4 visited our friends at the City of Glasgow College.

We were shown around the student facilities, and met the President of the Students Association, who encouraged everyone to feel that they would be a welcome part of the student body, if they decide to study there.

Members of the Finance and Learning Support teams fielded questions, such as

  • Can I study and still receive my disability benefits?
  • What support is there for me to cope with studying?
  • Are any courses less suitable for me because of my epilepsy?
  • Am I too old to come to college?

The staff also provided some light refreshments (the cakes were particularly well received)

On Thursday, my college Gill Wilson (Fieldworker for the Forth Valley) led a very useful discussion on how to get the most out or your visits to your health care professionals.

  • Gills session

The group shared their own personal barriers, fears and anxieties about their healthcare, including

  • The length of time it takes to build up a good working relationship with your medical staff. Some professionals have better “people skills” than others and what  happens when a well trusted professional retires?
  • How can I make the most of the few minutes I have at an appointment, when there isn’t even any time to settle and relax?
  • Feeling like a “hopeless case” – tried so many options and nothing seems to work
  • The balancing act between benefits and side effects of medications
  • Dealing with bureaucracy and the irritations in length of time for referrals
  • My health care notes come from more than one Health board area, and there is no mutual sharing of them
  • The gap between appointments
  • My own internal wall that I have built – keeping it all inside and “just getting on with it”

The group felt that programmes such as Epilepsy Futures was really important in helping people come to terms with their epilepsy and learning how to live with a sense of acceptance.

Meanwhile Gill encouraged participants to

  • prepare in advance for their appointments, thinking about your current most important concerns
  • ask questions – if you don’t understand ASK or take along a friend to help as a second listener
  • repeat what you think the health care professional has said – to make sure you are better able to remember and sort out any misunderstandings before you leave
  • take action – ask the professional to write down any specific changes to medication dosages etc. Be clear you know what you’ve do to next, for example how to get any test results
  • remember it is all about YOU and your health care/well being.

Next week we are off to Free Wheel North on Tuesday to have some fun on bicycles!

Peter Dale
Epilepsy Futures Coordinator