13 February 2017

Marvellous Mondays - The Big NHS Twitter Wrap Party

Hello! and welcome to my regular series, Marvellous Mondays. Here I will be publishing positive stories from other people, including my fellow Bloggers. These posts will be positive posts to remind us all on those hard and tiring days that it CAN be better. To give a little insight into other families and what they've achieved, any milestones they have reached with their children or anything that has made them happy that day. 
Marvellous Mondays was born when i had a really, really bad weekend with my daughter. It was a Monday morning and I started to write a new blog post about how i was feeling and what had happened. I found that I was making myself feel even worse and so i stopped and turned it into a positive post. It made me feel so much better writing about the The Many Things I Love About My Child
Anyone can join in with Marvellous Mondays, If you have a post that you wish to send me then please Email me at lotsofloveandaffection@outlook.com with a subject title of Marvellous Monday's and include a small description of who you are and a blog link if you have one. 
I'm really looking forward to sharing everyone's stories with you, and I hope you like them too.

So last week, I introduced you all to the most wonderful lady, who also has her own blog - but doesn't actively promote it - Yvonne Newbold. So i thought i would hehe. Sorry Yvonne, but you don't get to fly on by that easily without me pointing people in your direction. She makes You Tube videos, she writes books, and she has her own page where she shares the best of the best SEND information that there is available. She works tirelessly promoting everyone, helping everyone, creating tools - EBooks for subscribers, she looks after her lovely family and asks for NOTHING in return. Like i said last week she is one of the most selfless people i know. I want to take this opportunity to thank you Yvonne, because you've been a great friend, and a great supporter of my writing from the very beginning and for that i feel such gratitude. 

Here are some of Yvonne's best videos that she's shared this week:

  • In this next video Yvonne is promoting the brand new blogging awards for SEND Bloggers, of which she is a judge for. The nominations are re - opening again tomorrow for the next round. This is what its all about.

If you missed my Marvellous Monday's post last week and have no idea what the hell i am     gibbering on about then you can read that here: The Big NHS Takeover 

Yvonne was asked to be curator for the @NHS and she spent a whole week, tied up in so many notifications she didn't know what to do, she liked, replied and tweeted, and retweeted, hell she even quote retweeted. I have no idea how she kept up like she did (I gave up on day three) but like a true Tweeter, she took the helm graciously and professionally and winged her way through until the very end, with every feather intact. (See what i did there?) 

Last week we read about Yvonne's life with a disabled child and her own cancer diagnosis. This week, she is going to wrap up her week and tell us exactly how she felt and how she got through it with such grace. I suspect there may be a lot of cups of teas in there somewhere. So once again thank you for taking the time to write a little something for us, as i know how unbelievably busy you are and were very grateful that you've taken the time to do so.

It all started off a bit James Bondish. 

I had a random tweet out of the blue asking that I follow them back, followed by a direct message suggesting we spoke on the phone, and by the time the phone call happened, all of about 8 minutes after that first random tweet, my wind-up radar was fully switched on and I thought it must be someone playing a rather elaborate good-humoured hoax on me.

After all, how often do you get the NHS going to such lengths to get hold of you urgently, and then inviting you to take over their Twitter Account – yes the one with the twitter handle that simply says @NHS – for a whole week? Oh, and I wasn’t to tell a soul until late on the Friday night before I took it over. All very secret squirrel but lots of fun, and bit by bit I realised that: 

Yes, this was one of those real “wow” moments in life when the unexpectedly lovely actually happened, and yes, it was all for real!

Originally, we were looking at a week some way off in the middle of March, safely far ahead enough in the distance not to panic me too much. However, a few days later I had another phone call and I was asked if I could start on the following Monday instead! Of course, I said, without really thinking, then put the phone down and thought “oh heck”!

What completely astounded me was that they really were going to let me loose on the NHS England account with a very hands-off, light-touch management style. Yes. there were a few “do’s” and “don’ts” but they were all regarding my own internet safety and well-being. There was no interference whatsoever, they just let me tweet about what I wanted to tweet about, although I knew they were watching and waiting to jump in if things had turned tricky in any way whatsoever for me. I also knew they were on the end of the phone if I wanted to talk anything through.

I was concerned that I might not have enough good content to share to get conversations going.

So over the weekend I reached out to online friends in various communities to help me out.

 They were fantastic, they answered my SOS shout-out so well that I ended up having far too much, so I’ll be continuing to share this incredibly rich material online in the coming days and weeks.

I also thought it would be good to create some new content, so I ended up creating eight brand new videos from scratch during the week too. Looking back that was both daft and over-ambitious, although I’ve got some brilliant new material from it about learning disability and autism, doing it at the same time as tweeting was far too much.

I wanted to champion the communities that mean the world to me...

 .... special needs families, anyone with a learning disability or autism, and families coping with cancer.

I also wanted to open discussions about healthcare generally and how we need to do it better, putting kindness, heart and soul right back where they belong throughout the NHS. I feel that we will be stronger if we return to values where we prioritise people – both patients and staff – way ahead of the suffocating bureaucracy that currently seems to rule the roost.

And so it began at 8am last Monday morning, when, with exhilaration and blind panic in equal measures, I sent my first tweet for the @NHS Account – “Good Morning Twitter”.
The response I got was overwhelming! It felt as if everyone I’d ever spoken to online since the internet was first invented was there beside me cheering me on, holding my hand and making it both easy and a whole load of fun.

The rest of the week passed in a blur of speed tweeting replies as we talked about everything but particularly vulnerable families, cancer, healthcare relationships, NHS staff burnout, cups of tea and the overwhelming factor that joined all those topics together – the power of kindness.

There were several real highlights though. 

On Wednesday I had a VIP visit to The Royal Marsden where I get my cancer treatment. We met with Kelly from their Comms team and over coffee we decided on a theme for the day – to celebrate the unsung heroes of the NHS.

So, camera in hand, we approached the people who really make the difference to patient care and well-being with their ready smiles of reassurance and kind words. It was very emotional as I explained to each of them how they had helped me cope with particularly difficult
hospital moments – not one of them knew the difference they make and it was very sad that they obviously don’t get thanked nearly enough. Twitter that afternoon was lit up by these lovely people – receptionists, tea ladies, volunteers and of course some of the kindest nurses that work for the NHS too.

It was the people on twitter who carried me through the week, wonderfully open hearted individuals who just welcomed and accepted me as the face of the NHS for the week. By Friday afternoon I was quite sad to be handing back the password and to be leaving all my new-found friends.

I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

It was an amazing experience and if anyone ever asked me to do it again I’d jump at the chance. It was exhausting too – and trying to hold conversations with several people about a myriad of topics while hundreds more notifications are coming through every few minutes is like juggling treacle while skiing down a mountain. Friday night when it was over I was completely exhausted and barely able to speak in joined up words, and it took me until this morning, Sunday, to feel half like me again.

I learnt so much too – about twitter, about people, about the NHS but most of all it was a confirmation that we are all connected, that deep down inside each of us there is a need to be heard, to be valued and to know that we matter, and that kindness really can make the world go around.

Yvonne Newbold
February 2017

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