Tim Brierley had experienced varicose vein symptoms for years, until one day, the discomfort became too much and he couldn’t walk down the stairs. Through his Benenden Health membership, Tim received Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) at our hospital with Consultant Vascular Surgeon Mr Eddie Chaloner. Read on to discover Tim’s patient journey.
How were your varicose veins affecting your daily life?
“I had what appeared to be a varicose vein for years, unsightly but not overly obtrusive or painful. About four years ago, after a particularly arduous house-move, I began to get extreme stiffness behind one knee, with pins and needles running down that leg. Then my ankles began to swell, and I would get intermittent pain in the lower leg when it wasn’t actually numb. At that stage, any discomfort could be walked off - and, with two very energetic dogs, I walk a good deal, usually four to five miles a day.
“I made a number of rather quaint self-diagnoses ranging from sciatica, cartilage degeneration and the after-effects of a hernia operation, to trapped nerves and referred lower back pain. Then the same symptoms appeared to a lesser extent in the other leg and walking no longer relieved the discomfort in either. The suspected varicose vein began bulging ominously, and one morning I couldn’t walk downstairs, much less five miles. I decided that, after years of this problem, something should be done.”
Why did you choose to book an appointment at Benenden Hospital?
“I booked an out-of-hours GP appointment last year and asked for a referral to Benenden Hospital as I’m a Benenden Health member and have been for decades – ever since my brother, at the time a civil servant, first enrolled us. What a blessing that has turned out to be: referral in early July 2022, a diagnostic consultation in early August and an offer of Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) at the start of September last year – delayed only by a pre-booked holiday that had not bargained for such speed!”
Which Consultant did you see and what were they like?
“I was under the care of Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Mr Eddie Chaloner, a star in his field and pioneer of EVLT, that has clearly changed venous surgery since the days when my poor mother had to have her veins stripped. ‘Brisk but courteous no-nonsense’ would be the best way to describe Mr. Chaloner’s patient manner.
“In a matter of minutes, he had identified the problem, explained why and how it was happening, suggested treatment sooner rather than later and offered time to think about it - but by then, I had enough trust in the process not to need that time and to agree to go ahead.”
What was your experience of the staff at Benenden Hospital?
“From reception onwards, whilst always highly professional, every member of staff makes you feel welcome, a little better about your day, that you matter, and that they are glad you came.
“On the day of my surgery, I felt relaxed, to the point of complacency. The calm and comfort of the building, its light, airy space as soon as you walk through the door, the kind and cheerful attention at reception, all serve to put you absolutely at ease.”
Did our hospital’s location and design help to improve your patient experience?
"Despite travelling on the motorway for the first part of my journey, I found the pretty country lanes in the picturesque villages surrounding Benenden Hospital to be quite therapeutic!
“The hospital building, as I have said, seems to have acres of light and space that creates a sense wellbeing, with time to give full attention to all your needs.”
What was your timeline of recovery like?
“I was called into the Ambulatory Care Unit for my EVLT procedure at 4pm and, after very welcome tea and biscuits, was on my way home, duly bandaged up, by 6.30pm. The operation was a bigger deal than I had expected. In the days immediately following, I remember very little pain. The bruising and discomfort only became apparent after unbandaging the leg later – but this healed very quickly.”
“Small marks are still visible, but varicose vein itself has dissolved and my leg feels like new. My dogs are now used to even longer walks!”
Would you recommend Benenden Hospital to others considering varicose vein treatment?
“That I would recommend Benenden Hospital is clearly evident from all the above. In the post-op recovery area, Mr Chaloner passed by on his way home and waved a cheery – if rather ominous – ‘See you again!’ If that is to be, I hope and trust it will be with him, his team and at Benenden Hospital.”
“If you’re struggling with symptoms of varicose veins, don't imagine those symptoms are going to go away on their own. Don't imagine that they are too trivial to take action. Don't feel that neither they nor you matter enough. The longer you leave it, the worse it will get. Set aside your worries and reservations and just get them treated at Benenden Hospital.”
Treatments for varicose veins at Benenden Hospital
Benenden Hospital offers minimally invasive Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) for varicose veins and spider veins and is one of the largest centres in the UK for laser varicose vein treatment. If you’ve tried using compression stockings, been exercising regularly and elevated your legs while you rest but your veins are still causing you pain or discomfort, our experienced consultants can help.
For more information on our varicose vein treatments, complete our online enquiry form, contact us using Livechat or call our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.
Published on 10 October 2023