This is a Guest Post by my partner Chrissie Fuller based on her observations from when my 95 year old mother was admitted to hospital. Three months later we finally managed to get her home! (Do you have any experience or comments on the use of hemp seed oil balm? Please comment here!).

We’ve all heard the rhetoric that the NHS is in meltdown and many would agree that the Conservative party has failed to protect this great institution that we all depend on for emergency care, but I have recently had first-hand experience of the problems that some non-emergency wards are having in simply managing to keep functioning.

I want to share what I have seen over the three months whilst visiting an elderly friend who was admitted to hospital overnight with nothing more than a mild case of dehydration. Eleven and a half weeks later she was still there!

Sylvia is 95 and a cancer patient. She has myosarcoma, a rare muscle cancer, on her arm that is being treated palliatively due to her age and fragility. Six months ago it was suggested by senior staff at the hospital that there was no hope of a cure and that the only effective solution would be amputation.

Considering her age and fragility is was discussed at length and decided that any operation to remove the arm would be potentially life-threatening and emotionally devastating for someone of her age and so it was simply decided to offer palliative care and keep the arm dressed on a regular basis, for what will be the rest of her life, however long that may be.

For the last six months her son, James, aged 70, had been taking his mother to his local health centre for the arm to be dressed, three times a week. However, not every week because frequently there were no available time slots at the health centre and it was not possible to book these appointments in advance. So, on the numerous occasions when Sylvia could not have an appointment at the surgery, James had taken on the responsibility of dressing her arm himself. He had all the correct sterile equipment at home – dressings packs, gloves, saline solution, bandages which had been supplied, on prescription, by his GP.

Sylvia is amazing for her age – she has never smoked and hardly ever drinks and she has kept herself physically fit by taking a regular daily walk around the block where she lives. It takes no more than 20 minutes and she doesn’t have to cross the road so it is quite safe for her to do on her own.

In the meantime, James, not ready to give up on his mum’s arm and feeling that anything was better than nothing, went online looking for potential treatments for his mum’s arm and came up with an alternative therapy known as hemp seed oil balm. According to the website it is a perfectly legal cannabis derived product (actually a cousin of the cannabis plant) that contains no hallucinagenics but does contain canabinoids (CBD) which have been shown to have some good outcomes in reducing the symptoms of certain types of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, schizophrenia, PTSD, MS,epilepsy and chronic pain. It is an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and anti-nausea treatment.

As the only other treatment was amputation or simply waiting to die, James felt there was nothing to lose and, with his mum’s blessing, he purchased some of this balm and used it on her arm. It worked! The swelling on the arm was gradually reducing. He was so happy with the results that he told the family GP and everyone he came across! His GP said he couldn’t recommend it but “just keep doing what you feel is best”.

Three months ago, James received a visit from a “Safeguarding” representative of the Social Services who explained that they were concerned to hear that he was dressing his mum’s arm himself instead of using the local surgery. James explained that he couldn’t always get appointments at the surgery and proceeded to show the visitor what he was using and how he was using it.

It was then divulged that the real reason for the visit was because he was using hemp with the dressings. James explained all about the benefits of the balm and explained the therapeutical effects on his mum of using it. He also explained that it was actually helping to reduce the swelling. It was agreed that the visitor would speak to the local health centre and try to arrange for James to show them what he was doing in order to gain their approval for him to continue doing the dressings himself.

Eleven and a half weeks ago, during a routine surgery appointment for Sylvia’s dressing, one of the nurses just happened to notice that one of Sylvia’s pupils was enlarged. (It had in fact been enlarged for some time due to previous eye surgery). The nurse insisted on referring it to the GP who in turn decided that it could be the sign of a mini-stroke and he recommended that Sylvia be taken immediately to hospital for assessment.

And so begins the story….! Read Part Two here on OldGitJimbo’s Blog


Written as a guest post by Chrissie Fuller. You can read more blogs by Chrissie at The Chrissie Fuller Daily