Digital Health Skills
For Rachel, one of the main benefits of her new digital skills has been digital health – finding information and using online health services. She was born with Fibrous Dysplasia, a disease that causes growths or lesions in her bones – particularly her hip. The condition only became apparent in her late 20s, and she’s struggled to understand the diagnosis and manage her symptoms.
“Being told you’ve got something big and scary with a big, scary name, is something of a shock,” explains Rachel. “While it was nice to know there was a reason I’d been experiencing pain and limited movement, it was terrifying to be told I had something potentially so serious and so permanent. I worried about what would happen if I needed surgery, who would look after Lily, and how I’d cope living with the pain day-to-day. All of that stuff.
“After I got the diagnosis I wasn’t really in the right place to ask the right questions. But I could go away and look things up online. I found out lots more information and lots of stories from people living with the same condition. That really helped me.
“I had no idea there was so much information out there, and now I feel more informed, more in control and less frightened. I’ve found out about tactics I can use if I’m having a really bad day, drug options to manage the pain, and exercises which can help too.
“Now when I go back to the hospital I can prepare all the questions and ask, ‘What about this?’ ‘What about that?’ ‘Can we try the other?’ I’m a lot more involved. I’m still at the GP every few weeks trying to get my medication right, but now I can book appointments online it’s a lot easier to fit things in around my volunteering and around Lily’s school hours. I can order my repeat prescriptions online, too.
“It’s more important than ever for me to look after myself and keep myself as fit and mobile as possible. Lily and I like to look up healthy recipes. She used to be terrible at eating her vegetables but she’s much better now she can pick the meals and help to cook them and arrange them in funny faces on the plates!
“Getting online really is helping us stay healthy, and helping us in so many other ways too. I’m really excited to be a Get Online Week model because I think it’s so important for people to be able to take advantage of all the benefits being online can bring. And Get Online Week is a great excuse to give it a go! I’d say to anybody to get along to an Online Centre like Edlington Hilltop and get a helping hand to get online.”