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Happy birthday King's

Image: Guardian.co.uk
Today marks 100 years of King's College Hospital in Camberwell, South London.

It might seem an odd thing to do to wish a hospital a happy birthday, and I guess it probably is. Still, I wanted to take a moment to note my appreciation for the work they do.

Suffering from a chronic illness (POTS) means that every couple of months I make the visit to King's - either for an appointment or test.

People might see hospitals as aiding physical, medical problems, which of course is what they aim to do, but it's also so much more than that.

When health is a constant battle, the care, communication and respect you receive from a hospital makes a huge difference in your day to day life.

When I first became ill I was under the care of doctors who, in retrospect, really didn't understand my condition. I was passing out everyday, incredibly weak and had lost my independence because of it.

It seemed they didn't quite know what to do with me, and with each appointment I became more and more disheartened as it was clear there wasn't anything more they could do. I would just have to learn to live with this condition, even if it meant not working or having much of a social life.

After graduation I moved back to Kent, at which point we suggested that I be referred to King's College Hospital. We'd done some research and realised there were specialists who did research on, and treated patients with, my condition.

So I was referred, and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Within my first telephone consultation I was reassured with just how much knowledge they had on my condition. I was asked questions which resonated with my experiences, and I knew I was on the right track.

The biggest thing I appreciate about King's is that they listen and understand - which goes such a long way. I can call and email them with questions in between visits, or if I just need to talk.

Rather than feeling like I'm just a problem to be dealt with or rather dismissed, I know that they genuinely want to help.

Now, I leave appointments with hope. I walk back to Denmark Hill station to board my train, often tired from some form of medical test, but happy in the knowledge that the team there are fighting to make my condition as manageable as possible.

Through their continuing efforts to work on a treatment plan, I'm getting to a place where I'm no longer too symptomatic. I'm working full time which is something which didn't seem too plausible just a year ago.

I also haven't passed out in over a month - which is a massive deal for me.

Living with a chronic illness is tough, and it's hard to stay positive - but when you have a medical team that fight for and care about you, it's a little easier. You feel supported and like you will progress, which I have.

Really, King's have turned my life around. They have my utmost gratitude but also respect for all that they do, not just in the departments I visit but across the whole hospital. Really, anyone working for the NHS is a hero - but my experience with King's has just been something else.

So happy birthday King's, and thank you.

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