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Posts Tagged ‘Migraine’

ReturnedSo it’s been almost 2 months since my last blog post….

I seem to start a lot of my posts with a comment on how long it has been since I last wrote, but apparently, when you’re writing up a thesis (or doing any kind of intensive project) it is expected that the odd MIA will occur, and I have been reassured that apologies are not necessary….  Still, I have to admit that I have felt rather frustrated at myself for lack of blogging – having had rather a lot to blog about!

That’s where Twitter is such a great tool, those 140 characters have helped me feel in sight of the loop, if not entirely in it over the course of the summer.

Well, what have I been up to?

The Summer List

Resorting to a list seems to be the only sensible course of action here, for everyone:Thesis

  • Working on the thesis – a given, but happily progress has been rapid (give or take a few moments of horror) and I am well on course to submit by Christmas.

 

  • I’ve been accepted to present my work on Study 3 at IPS 2013, the annual conference of the Infection Prevention Society.  I’m really excited about this, as the work on Inherent and Elective hand hygiene has proven really interesting to discuss with those from the field of infection prevention. The study represents the first (as I am aware) work of its kind within the NHS, so will be great to get some feedback now that the results are in. Just waiting on funding news before I can make final plans…

 

  • WHO 5 Moments Spent a great day with the wonderfully bubbly team over at UHCW who hosted hand hygiene heroes Julie Storr and Claire Kilpatrick for a day focussing on the WHO 5 Moments, looking at system and behavioural change.  Absolutely fascinating topics covered, and great to see the involvement of lots of healthcare professionals from a range of clinical settings, engaging in discussions and scenarios designed to help translate the 5 Moments into real-life Patient care. I certainly left the day with a greater level of clarity regarding the concept, and I am sure I wasn’t the only one.

 

  • Outside hand hygiene I’ve also been spending time with the lovely Women in Science committee as we prepare for our symposium on the 26th September.  The event is entitled “WIS A Day With” and follows on from the successful event earlier this year, “WIS An Evening With”, which saw two highly regarded speakers share their experiences of a career in the field of science.  WIS A Day With features 4 speakers who will also share their career stories, along with sessions run by complimentary organisations looking to support career development. And, of course, there will be the popular wine and cheese event to finish.

Migraine

  • And as it’s Migraine Awareness Week it’s fair to say I’ve been doing a bit of that (right) too. I’ve posted about this once before, but I thought I’d mention it again briefly in this post after reading and discussing the condition a lot this week. Key words I noticed featuring heavily in discussions were ‘debilitating’, ‘underestimated’, ‘impact’ and, naturally, ‘pain’.  I’d also throw ‘unpredicatable’ and ‘exhausting’ into the mix, not to mention the effect on those around you.

 

  • But on a brighter note, and what could be better – the Bake Off is back…!  That should take me nicely through until submission. Great timing from The Berry.

 

To celebrate the work with Women In Science, and just because it is rather special in itself, I shall finish this update with this rather glorious picture from Lego:

First female scientist figure by Lego

First female scientist figure by Lego

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The past few weeks since finishing data collection have been spent going back over my thesis outline, working out what can be “written up without delay”, what “needs more work”, and what I would ideally like to put in a big box called “never look at again”….

Image from dreamstime.com

Safety deposit box for Dissertation Issues….(Image from dreamstime.com)

Naturally it is that third category that contains rather a lot of the “meat” of the dissertation at the moment, and it takes a lot of self-discipline to ensure that each of the “issues” are logged, so that I can plan to tackle them as I write-up, even if it is not something I can do all at once.  Fortunately I have been able to call on some great sources of assistance so far to help me with each “issue” I have plucked from the box, and therefore I am hoping that over the next few months the balance of what can be “written up without delay and what I’d like to “never look at again” will swing…but one thing is for sure, the whole thesis “needs a lot more work”.

What I have found really useful though, is the use of copious “pictures” to help me translate both my ideas and actions into formats that are easier to communicate – I am now forever drawing process flow diagrams of some kind, showing how my thoughts are flowing, what actions I carried out, and why certain processes were carried out in particular orders.  Whilst these started out as being tools to help me avoid “head-pop“, I have now found that they may well be jolly useful to include in the finished written dissertation, to help the examiner avoid the same fate, and to save the legendary 1,000 words

Learning - Risky Times (Image from ninapaley.com)

Learning – Risky Times (Image from ninapaley.com)

The “head-pop” issue has actually been a serious one this past week, as I’ve succumbed to 2 migraines – which as previously noted are not the best news.  Having to cancel hard to arrange meetings is never a good thing, nor is the time lost to feeling like you’ve just run a marathon. And that’s an analogy I can just about work with these days – except with a migraine you miss out on the shiny medal and cake rewards.  Still, fingers crossed it has just been a blip, and happily I managed to proceed with a re-arranged meeting, during which I learnt some fascinating new information which will help underpin a major theme in my discussion section, and plans for future Post-Doc work.  Well worth the snowy walk up to Warwick Medical School!

I also had a fantastic discussion re: my plans for Post-Doc work, which has really helped clarify the direction I want my research to go in, as well as help motivate me to keep up the pressure to get a thesis draft produced sooner rather than later.  More details on this further down the line, suffice to say Hand Hygiene remains close to my heart!

Icing on the Cake - going literal...

Icing on the Cake – going literal…

Outside the thesis write-up the past few weeks have seen me once again having some great help and advice from Claire Kilpatrick who gave some really useful feedback and encouragement on my ICPIC abstract draft.  ICPIC promises to be an amazing event, with some of the leading experts in the Infection Prevention field coming together, and I am keeping everything crossed that I will be able to attend; being able to take contribute my research in some capacity would only be the icing on the cake.

 

 

And finally, exciting times tomorrow on the Hand Hygiene and Technology front….will post soon…..

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A rather “off topic” post now, but one which has links to my work by the very nature that it is about a theme which is so linked in with my progress as to be impossible to disregard.  Last week it was Migraine Awareness Week, and as those who follow my Twitter account will now know, I suffer from Migraines.

I use the word “suffer” quite deliberately, as whilst I may also “get” headaches,  to me a Migraine is quite different, and is both debilitating and an event to be endured – quite often rendering me immobile and somewhat useless to the world around.  Hence I do tend to get rather annoyed at images such as the two below, used to illustrate articles on “Migraine”, where the model looks to me mildly irritated at best….

 

I think I am much more of the “may-not-now-move-for-an-indefinite-time” pose (below),

usually with my hand trying to push my brain back into my skull via an eye socket.

Yes, it is fun times indeed…  I have only been experiencing Migraines for about 6 years, having developed a Classical type (with aura) in 2006, quite suddenly and dramatically with a Hemiplegic Migraine phase, and now have quite a complex case history which features peaks and troughs of recovery/relapse, and rather a lot of treatment regimes.

Thus I wanted to add a post today to raise the awareness of the fact that Migraine is “not just a headache” – until this is clear in the minds of all then both treatment and understanding will be patchy at best, poor at worst.  I spoke with someone earlier this week at HPA2012 about this very topic, and we agreed it was worth trying to highlight this distinction as often as possible…so here we go….

I have been very lucky, being surrounded by very supportive family, co-workers, peers and two very good doctors who have worked hard to try to develop new treatment plans.  I know this is not always the case, and thus acknowledge that I am fortunate.  

The Migraine Trust explain the phases of a Migraine “event” well here – especially good to note that there is a Recovery “phase”; this is often one of the hardest things for me to deal with, because once the acute pain is gone I feel infinitely better, yet still like I have been hit by a truck, and this can last for a number of days. I find this hugely frustrating, because it is only time that can help restore full fitness, and when deadlines and other pressures are looming, this is the one resource we all could do with more of….

As I continue with my research into Hand Hygiene I will also be working, then, in the background on looking into ways to deal with sudden, unexpected, unexplained and unwelcome interruptions – and I am always interested in looking at new potential solutions. But most importantly, we need to make sure people understand that a Migraine is not just a headache – not even a “bad” headache…!

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