Friday 5 July 2013

Happy Birthday NHS

The NHS is 65 today.

What the NHS has done for me :
1) Employed my mum through pregnancy/my first few years (she was a ward sister, midway through labour they had to bring the new dialysis machine down to the delivery ward so she could show them how to work it)
2) Helped me/my mum through a difficult delivery and scanned my massively large head to make sure it wasn't hydrocephalus
3) Treatment for my nasty childhood asthma including some pretty scary attacks
4) Specialist physio for my eye muscles (anyone else? eye patches and trying to fit the sentry in the sentry box and the apple in the tree?)
5) Took me in a nee-naw to get a Cspine xray after I fell head fist off a trapeze
6) Hearing tests leading to tonsil/adenoidectomy + grommets (or tympanostomy tubes as we're now supposed to call them)
7) Years of treatment for depressive episodes
8) Putting me back together after suicide attempts
9) 6 weeks of crisis support
10) A year of weekly psychotherapy
11) A diagnosis, 10 weeks of rheumatology specialist physio and 10 weeks of hydrotherapy
12) Occupational therapy and hundreds of pounds worth of equipment allowing me to maintain independence, safely, at home
13) Orthotics to hold my wobbly joints together
14) 1 Tilt table test, 1 echo, 1 24 hour ECG and lots of regular ECGs
15) 2 Endoscopies, 1 Gastric Emptying Scan and 1 Abdominal Ultrasound
16) An ABG to check for Carbon Monoxide poisoning

There have been mistakes and there are problems, but I'll save those for another day.

I have been a patient at 16 hospitals, treated by countless doctors in 13 specialities, as well as specialist nurses, specialist physios, occupational therapists, orthoticists, dentists and opticians. I have received free or subsidised prescriptions every month for 23 years - including at least 30 different medications.

When I've had an infection or an accident or a flare, I've had the ambulances, Xrays, medications and admissions I've needed without worrying about my ability to pay.

Not to forget the other folk who've been involved in keeping me healthy - GP receptionists and ward cleaners, lab techinicians and epidemiologists, researchers, campaigners, paramedics. All the people that help keep the NHS ticking over.

If it weren't for the NHS I don't know if I'd have made it to 25 and there are people very dear to me who definitely wouldn't be around today without free, expert healthcare.

And now they've given me a job. There is no organisation in the world I could be prouder to work for.

Happy birthday NHS, and thank you.