Campaign update – Success

As I wrote last week’s blog Success, I was aware of another success that I had obtained which was keeping the General Medicine and Autonomic Clinic at Derriford Hospital Plymouth open for at least another year and managing to keep Dr Fulton on n his position to run it. Obviously the success is not mine alone, many people were necessary to get us to this place, the members of the campaign group who were willing for their stories to be shared in print and on the television. Members writing to their MP’s ( members of Parliament ) to force action, plus a widespread email campaign to many people involved in all aspects of healthcare.

As part of the campaign one member managed to get Baroness Blackwood to raise a question in The House of Lords ( Parliaments upper chamber ). The Baroness also suffer’s from EDS and PoTS so knows how important it is for sufferers to have access to proper healthcare and the provision of clinics in the UK is woefully inadequate especially in the devolved nations, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This was an incredible achievement in itself to raise the campaign profile and get it mentioned for prosperity in Hansard ( the document that records all questions and answers in both houses).

We had some excellent coverage in Plymouths newspaper and their online presence. We had two journalists join the group, whilst the BBC’s coverage was poor with incorrect figures being presented as fact, they claimed a mere 200 patients would be without care when the actual figure for those in Derrifords catchment area was 1000-1500 and that was without all those who were dropped from Dr Fulton’s list in June 2020 who were not in the hospitals catchment area and have been left without a consultant. You can read  first article here. The second article when we knew the clinic had been saved for at least 12 months and Dr Fulton is taking a much needed break of two months, can be read here. The journalist Molly has been incredibly supportive of our campaign and has produced two excellent pieces that have held Derriford Hospital to account. Thank you to Rebecca for sharing her story and explaining why Dr Fulton is so important.

I am amazed that we have achieved all we have in the short space of time since the 26th March when I asked the question at the hospital trusts board meeting, to starting the group and producing a letter to be sent out to various different groups and people to publicise our campaign. Thanks to Carol who managed to wrangle my 6 page goodness knows how many words into a succinct 3 page punchy letter that was hard to ignore. It is a real shame despite contacting my own MP by post, by recorded delivery and by multiple emails he failed to respond or provide any help at all to our campaign. Yet there were Plymouth and surrounding area MP’s who were more than happy to roll up their sleeves and fight for their constituents and this wasn’t just based on political parties, we got cross party support. Which shows how effective a campaign can be if you can get people in power interested in it.

Sadly I am aware that as Dr Fulton is on a fixed term contract and this next year marks one commissioning cycle we may still very well be in the same position next year especially if long Covid sufferers have been forgotten. People with Long Covid seem to develop Dysautonomia more specifically PoTS. Having that to use as part of the campaign made it very relevant to the media and it also gave us the advantage with Derriford as closing the clinic would in effect mean they were withdrawing care from an emerging patient group.

The group will be staying on Facebook as long as it is needed, plus now it has turned into quite an effective local group for PoTS patients, which is another thing to be proud of.

At the moment I am still left without a hospital consultant, there is no one based at the largest hospital near me and Dr Fulton was my consultant until June 2020. He is hopeful that he will be able to treat patients who are out of area at some point in the future and I am keeping everything crossed for that. The main aim of the campaign has been achieved for the moment.

I can’t lie it has been pretty exhausting organising a campaign in the midst of a significant bereavement for my husband and his family. There have been days when it has felt like my world was imploding, where I was so exhausted that I couldn’t continue and then I would get a message out of the blue from a member of the campaign group thanking me for everything I had done and that gave me the strength to continue. I am happy we have got as far as we have in the space of a few months and that I now don’t have to be continually thinking about our next move as a campaign.


Sometimes it is the little things in life that make you smile the most. This morning (Tuesday 15th June 2021) I replaced my Chromebooks battery….myself! I am not an engineer, I have no technical training at all. I have never removed any covers off a computer / laptop / Chromebook previously. Until today I had never seen inside my Chromebook. The first thing I noticed when I got the cover off was that Dembe’s hair ( my dog ) had managed to get inside it😂😂😂

Around a month ago I noticed that my Chromebook charging light was failing to turn green and the battery wasn’t charging past 80%. Having had a look on Google I realised my battery was knackered ( or f**ked as we say in technical circles) . I looked at the price of batteries and saw that they were retailing for around £70 which being tight I didn’t want to spend. I could only use my laptop for about 10 minutes without having to put the charger on. Then on Sunday I couldn’t switch it on at all. The screen and keyboard would light out and then go black. I knew that this was more than likely the battery – having nursed it for the last month. Having saved a video on YouTube I had another look at it to convince myself I could do this and then started looking for a replacement battery.

For some reason this time I looked on Amazon, I don’t know why I didn’t before. I found a battery for £39.99. Considerably cheaper than the sites I had looked at previously and with the added bonus of being here the next day. Once ordered I allowed my Chromebook to run out of charge ready for replacing the battery hopefully on Monday but possibly Tuesday depending on the time of it’s arrival. Sadly it arrived late on Monday ( late for me is after 4pm and I wont have the mental capacity to be able to deal with something technical ). So the battery replacement would have to wait until Tuesday.

I have a small screwdriver gizmo that has multiple ( around 50 ) different heads that you can attach. So I had the right head to undo the tiny screws on the back of the Chromebook. Having watched the YouTube video I also knew that there would be two screws under the foot rests at the back of the Chromebook base. With everything out the back of the Chromebook came off easily. For safety I pressed the power button on the Chromebook down for over a minute to discharge any electricity static or otherwise from the Chromebook so I didn’t get a shock when messing about with the battery. I got a shock from the mains here a few years ago when I accidentally touched the metal pin as I was taking a plug out of the socket and got blown clean across my lounge so I really didn’t want to repeat that experience!

Knowing that everything was now safe I took the 2 screws out that hold the battery inside the Chromebook cavity. Then gently I took the clip that attaches the battery to the mother board off. Helpfully it does say battery above it. The only thing that could go wrong is forcing something and breaking it. So I moved slowly and carefully. The battery clip took a bit of gentle persuasion to remove but it came off in the end.

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The first attempt when I thought I had clipped the battery in, was proved incorrect when I plugged the Chromebook Charger in and the orange light on the side of the Chromebook kept flashing. When I ran Crosh it told me no battery could be detected however despite letting me know I had incorrectly installed the battery it also told me I was correct in my assumption that the issue was battery related as if my machine was working just on the charger there was no other issue with it than the power source. 

The back was taken off again, following the same routine to ensure there was no static electricity left in it before handling the battery again. The clip does have a knack to it and once it is clipped in properly ( the clip is circled )

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Once I got the clip in correctly it was quite obvious as it didn’t fall off when putting the battery in place and was nice and secure. 

Before putting the housing back on I gave the whole inside of the Chromebook a quick brush ( a clean brush ) to get rid of the Dembe hair and any dust that may have settled inside as I was working on it. I was VERY GENTLE!

A few people have said I was brave / clever doing this, my main motivation was I wasn’t prepared to pay someone else £100-£150 for a battery change when it was clear I had the tools here to do it and it wasn’t a huge thing to do. The hardest thing was handling the tiny screws that hold the case together as my manual dexterity isn’t the best. With the advent of  YouTube, many jobs that were shrouded in mystery previously are now available for us to see on video and learn from. The number of times I use YouTube during the week is crazy, especially for sewing tips or looking how to fix something. Obviously some things are very technical or require specialist tools or need qualifications for those jobs to be safe. The little jobs though and the ones I feel ok about I will give them a go.

The moral of the story is don’t abuse your Chromebook battery. My Chromebook will be three years old in November and I have trashed the battery already. I did a stupid thing which was never shut it down properly when I finished using it. I would just close the lid. I killed the battery and at £40 a pop it isn’t something I am going to repeat in a hurry. I will be turning this off religiously now.

Another bonus of replacing the battery is that the  touch pad ( which is what you use instead of a mouse) is now working a lot better. I had lost the left hand side of it. I think now that after dropping it ( I have lost count how many times I have dropped this ) the back screws have become loose which has meant the pressure behind the touch pad hasn’t been there stopping it working correctly. My keyboard is also working better as well. So even if you don’t want to take your Chromebook apart do regularly check the screws on the back are secure. I have lost one, when I don’t know ( people have always said I have a screw loose), taking the back off and putting it back on has definitely corrected some issues I was having. That £40 battery has saved me at least £200 if I had to buy a new Chromebook.

I am so proud of myself for changing the battery and solving the issue myself. My Chromebook is my lifeline. Having to rely on my phone the last 48 hours has been a nightmare.

A little tongue in cheek humour as my husband has been singing this ever since I replaced the battery