I have suffered from eczema all my life. I have been in and out of hospital a lot because of it.
Recently, I suffered a serious bout of eczema and got infections on my legs and arms. The treatment I was using had stopped working and my doctor suggested the UV light treatment at the hospital for the first time because my condition was very serious.
On my first appointment, I was nervous because I don’t like tight spaces and I imagined lying down in a sunbed. The head nurse was very helpful and friendly. I told her I had a learning disability and she talked to me in a professional and respectful manner.
The information I had received on the leaflet was quite difficult to understand but the nurse went through it with me, step-by-step. She took her time, she made the information accessible and she asked me if I had understood everything at the end of our conversation. I thought that was really good.
She then took me to the sunbed but it was a standing up one and it was very spacious. Not as bad as what I had imagined! I went inside it and she asked me ‘How do you feel?’ I told her I felt comfortable and not uptight. She told me that I would have to get undressed during the following appointment to assess the condition of my skin and for my first UV light treatment. At first, I felt uncomfortable and self-conscious about showing my body to other people, because of my eczema and because I am a private person. She reassured me and said ‘It’s nothing to worry about’. She made a joke which made me laugh and I felt better.
My nurse told me that before my first appointment, I shouldn’t put any cream or body spray on. She reminded me and asked me if I had remembered this on my first appointment. She also warned me about possible side-effects of itching a lot after the first session.
I was able to book my appointments around my working schedule at CHANGE and am able to reschedule my work with advance notice.
I can tell that my nurse really is concerned about my wellbeing because she noticed that the skin on my back was bad. She was concerned that I wasn’t being prescribed enough cream. She advised me to ask for a 1000 grms instead of 500 and told me she would support me in getting this if the doctor refused.
When you suffer from eczema and you have a learning disability, you can find it difficult to look after yourself. It can really get you down because you are itching 24/7. It’s an isolating condition because people can see it and you feel unconfident. It’s like having ants on your skin and you are always scared you will get infected. I also suffer from diabetes which can make me more prone to infections.
I feel so pleased that I am being looked after at the hospital. I feel listened to, that someone is on my side and that my condition is taken seriously. I am so happy about that.
Shaun Webster – Project Worker