"Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Course"
About: Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases NHS Foundation Trust Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases NHS Foundation Trust Bath BA1 1RL
I had previously spent 10 years going to various GPs, physios and specialists and while all of them did help you only have a short window of time when dealing with them and often you only think about a problem you really wanted to address a day or 2 later. That is why the length of this course is vital to its success. The fact that you have a 2 week detailed course schedule of when your talks, exercises and appointments will be allows you the time to address all those questions and doubts you have about your condition. As all the specialized staff holding the talks have such a great level of experience dealing with AS patients the talks often lead to answers to questions you never even thought you had. The physios always made me feel safe and comfortable especially when stretching my body to the limits of its range during exercises and hydro , something that I was previously unsure and fearful of when doing it unsupervised at home, especially during a flare up.
The extensive talks, covering a broad discipline of topics related to AS, have laid down a strong foundation of knowledge and understanding about my condition on which I can build a plan on how best to manage in often difficult and sometimes different circumstances. The talks allow time to address individual issues and the staff go out of their way to explain things ,often complex biological mechanisms, in layman terms. This has already helped me to better explain myself to my GP or NHS specialists thereby making better use of my allotted appointment time.
The accommodation, just around the corner but not in the hospital itself, is a great idea. As it allows you the freedom to relax or discuss the days learning with your fellow course members ,at ease in your own private space, without the stress of feeling confined to a hospital ward. The facilities staff are especially friendly and always ready to help with advice or extra blankets and lunch at the canteen was always served with a smile and the occasional extra tub of ice cream. They all deserve to be commended.
I found the leaving pack a very handy reference tool and use it daily. I do wish that I had access to it in some capacity online as well as video recordings of all the talks and hydro stretches.
The awareness one needs when dealing with a lifelong condition such as AS is not often available in the beginning and if I had heard of the Bath AS course back then I would have probably not wasted so much precious time lying around in pain and misery. I have already made changes to my work, home and social life that will create a more productive environment for years to come. Thanks to everyone and everything there - Your all great!