After Hospital Stay I'm Flake Free
HI Ed: Sorry it's been so long since I last wrote to you, but I've just had such a hectic few months this is the first time I've been able to sit down in front of the computer and actually compose an e-mail! I've also bought my own computer rather than use the office one.
The main thing that's changed in my life is that for the first time in six years of flakedom my skin seems to be almost completely clear, a miracle transformation that has occurred thanks to the ladies of Ward 20, Dryburn Hospital, Durham (thanks, girls!). A mixture of UVB therapy, Oil of Cade on the scalp, Hydrocortisone cream around the hairline and behind the ears and Dithranol in Lassars Paste on everywhere else.
I entered hospital on the 3rd of August and left on the 27th. (It would have been longer, but I begged the doctor to let me home after 24 days.) So it's been well over a month since I left and apart from a little patch behind one ear, my skin is free of lesions, smooth, flexible ... in short I'm back to my old self. I still have to moisturize and I still use Polytar shampoo on my scalp, but I can live with that. The only trouble was the amount of waiting I had to do to get my hospital bed.
The ward I was on had eight beds for dermatology patients, largely P cases, and those eight beds were the only derm beds in the North-East of England, an area with about two million residents. I first went to see my GP in May, and I had an eleven week wait to see a derm at Shotley Bridge hospital, then it was about another four week wait for my bed. However the wait was well worth it. I'm back in clinic in November for a checkup, and so far (fingers crossed) I can keep out of hospital again. My only regret about going to hospital is that I didn't do it sooner.
Thanks for the wonderful site. -Simon W.
Ed's Response: Glad to hear from you again, Simon ... and particularly appreciative of your report. Being so much improved myself from the Methotrexate regimen, I empathize completely with your joy.
Your recounting of the process that got you into the hospital, and what therapies they administered while you were there are particularly interesting. In the United States, when the opponents of Nationalized Medicine want to point fingers at drawbacks, they constantly bring up the interminable wait for hospital admissions in the UK. While your story seems to illustrate this argument, it does so with no little irony. Inpatient (in hospital) treatment for psoriasis in the U.S. is rarely mentioned in our laymen's literature and then, it seems, only for the severely disabling cases. What our so-called "healthcare reform" in this country has brought about is an extremely controversial initiative to cut way back on hospitalization, and to shorten the duration of hospitalization when it is unavoidable. To the extent that P may be triggered or exacerbated by stress, and some therapies may be intensely time-consuming, it is understandable how hospitalization (or prolonged stays at Dead Sea spas) may work so well: One, while hospitalized, patients are physically and emotionally removed from an environment that may have been stressful; and two, with little else to command one's time during a hospital stay, intensely time-consuming therapies can be rigorously applied. The treatments you received during your hospital stay sound like what one might expect from an outpatient regimen at a P treatment center in the U.S. (if one is lucky enough to live near a P treatment center). But it might not be so effective because (one) routine visits and their cost may ADD to the patient's stress, (two) no outpatient regimen could be as time consuming as a potential inpatient regimen, and (three) anything can happen to break the routine or compromise the rigor of an outpatient therapeutic regimen.
Anyway, Simon, you have made me yearn for the caring hands and no doubt soothing presences of the ladies of Ward 20. Should they ever wish a U.S. holiday, please let them know they would be warmly welcomed in Central Kentucky! -Ed