Living with

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Living with Haemophilia

Real Lives

Dan Jolley

Junior doctor, Dan Jolley, thinks medicine might take him to far-off places.

"I think my experiences of being a long-time patient with haemophilia allows me to appreciate what my patients are going through, especially children with worried parents," says Dan, a 25-year-old junior doctor at Salisbury District Hospital.

Living with severe haemophilia, it is perhaps no surprise that Dan chose to pursue a career in medicine even though he admits his own journey with haemophilia has been and continues to be "long, multi-faceted and occasionally arduous."

He qualified from Southampton University Medical School in 2009 and says his job can be tough with long, tiring and sometimes stressful days. "Day-to-day life in the hospital is very tiring on my joints. Junior doctors work hard and my first year was the hardest. It sometimes felt like I never left the hospital but it's all worth it because of the difference we make to people's lives it's an amazing feeling!"

Growing up with severe haemophilia meant that Dan and his family were regularly in and out of hospital, coping with bleeds, injections, pain and having to endure the frustration of missing out on sports as well as time off school.

"My mum gave up being a radiographer and became a playgroup leader in order to be around to care for me," he explains. "The family dynamic changed, I got more attention and my brother got less. Although my parents tried to even things out it's only natural that they spent more time doing activities around me. Despite this my brother and I have a fantastic relationship now as adults, he even knows how to do my injections when we travel together!"

However Dan's parents always said that they would never wrap him in cotton wool and encouraged him to do as much as he could whilst still acknowledging some limitations. This included playing tennis to county standard and being part of his school football team as well as managing to do most of the things his friends did.

He continues to enjoy sport in adulthood and his love of football has led to him helping out as a team doctor at Salisbury Football Club.

Today, Dan credits having haemophilia as the obstacle that helped instil in him an "overcoming" attitude, spurring him on to do the same if not more than his friends.

"Having 'Dr' in front of your name is cool but also quite scary. I remember being on a plane after I had graduated and I was on the passenger manifest as Doctor Jolley. Although the flight was uneventful I spent most of it in a mild state of terror, expecting the call to go out, 'is there a doctor onboard?' Thankfully I didn't have to 'spring' into medical action!"

Dan is already thinking about his future and where medicine might take him. He's considering paediatrics and perhaps working in the developing world.

Travel has always been a part of his life that he's not allowed haemophilia to restrict. These days his only frustration is "not being able to take more than a week off at a time".

He's even thinking of mixing his passion for far-off places with career development. "I may well decide to take a year out of work to study tropical medicine and get a bit more travelling under my belt before the hard graft towards being a senior doctor."