I’ve got a bit of a tumultuous past with the NHS. When I was 6 I contracted meningococcal septicaemia, my Mum rushed me to our local hospital who sent me home with a diagnosis of a chest infection. It wasn’t until I started to become worryingly ill and Mum took me to a different A&E that it was finally recognised and I got much needed treatment, but it was touch and go for a while and I still have lasting effects of the disease now.
If you look at my medical history, there’s a long line of medical cock-ups followed by relief and resolution and if I’m honest, I’m rather jaded when it comes to my health. I find it hard to sit back and accept diagnoses of ‘we just don’t know’ as I’ve been fobbed off on so many occasions and the less said about the birth of Sausage the better as it’s a veritable catalogue of errors.
But let’s look at this from the flipside.
What about the doctor who DID diagnose my meningitis, before it was too late? What about the nurse who laid on me to keep me still while I had my lumbar puncture? What about the surgeon who made my caesarean incision at 9.16pm and birthed Sausage at 9.17pm? What about the doctors who have helped my various friends and family, brought them back to health or made their last days comfortable?
The reason I’m thinking about all of this is that I was in hospital yesterday. Sausage and I went to the supermarket in the morning and I started to feel extremely nauseous on the way there so we rushed into the loos when we got there and I proceeded to vomit up what seemed like quite a lot of blood. Being the dickhead I am, I finished my shopping and came home to put a stew on to cook before very calmly telling Husband that I needed to go to the hospital.
I took myself off to A&E and spent five hours there all in all. I could moan about how long it took and I
DID could moan about how uncomfortable the seats were but I sat there thinking about a documentary that Sausage, Husband and I watched recently about childbirth which, as a sub-plot, followed a couple who lived in an African country. The lady was heavily pregnant and had to walk for 5 hours to get to the nearest clinic once she went into labour. Once she got to the clinic, there was still no guarantee that her birth would go smoothly as both infant and maternal mortality rates were astonishingly high. She made the journey without complaint and gave birth to a beautiful baby.
All I’m saying is, five hours seems like a long time to wait but I got to do it in a clean, warm room with chairs, have free medical attention including x-rays, blood tests with clean needles and results within the hour. Yes, the NHS is an administrative cluster-fuck at the best of times, but can you imagine life without it? Could you afford comprehensive private healthcare in your family budget?
The fact that our public services are being dismantled before our eyes for the private gain of many a politician is genuinely scary and I dread to think of what will happen to the level of health amongst normal people in the UK. We’re ALL guilty from time to time of moaning about the National Health Service, but I really hate to think of the standard that it’s going to slip to before we all realise just how lucky we were to have it. I wouldn’t mind betting that the number of medical negligence cases will sky-rocket, too.
Except, by then it may just be too late…