I love that the NHS exists. I think, most of the time, it does a great job. And it’s fantastic that I don’t have to worry about whether I can afford to get the treatment that I need.
I just wish that more of the staff had some kind of autism awareness training.
To be fair, today’s appointment was a vast improvement over the last time I had to attend a hospital. At least I got to go to a fully-built hospital this time. And at least my autism diagnosis had made it onto the referral letter and the consultant had noticed the diagnosis.
No-one had a clue how to deal with someone with autism, but at least they were aware.
It didn’t start off well. The hospital doesn’t have clear direction signs and I had to ask about four people where I could find the relevant department as I kept getting myself confused.
There weren’t many people in the waiting area, so noise wasn’t an issue. However, there were a lot of visual distractions (I noticed on the way out that there was a feedback notice thing saying that people had complained that the waiting area was too bland, so they put up pictures. I felt like completing a feedback form saying that there were too many pictures so can they please remove them.).
Then, I had to be examined. I’m usually absolutely fine with physical contact, as long as it’s a relatively firm touch. Unfortunately, the nurse was trying to be gentle and I kept flinching away. This was misconstrued as being in pain, and I couldn’t get anyone to understand that no, I wasn’t in pain, I just couldn’t stand that kind of touch – but if it was needed, they should just get on with it and ignore my reaction.
I also had to keep explaining that I was listening, even though I wasn’t making eye contact, and I wasn’t as anxious as my physical movements might make me seem.
I am sure everyone meant well, and they all seemed very nice people. Just… no clue about how to deal with someone with this condition.
It’s exhausting having to explain things all the time, almost wherever I go.
When actually, I’m nervous and scared when it comes to medical appointments and I just need to concentrate on getting myself through it. When I need someone there with me to support me, but there isn’t anyone so I have to do it by myself.
I hope that will change over time.
I am not looking forward to my next appointment.