The National Health Service is 65 years old today. If pressed I would have said it was older. It’s just always been around helping everyone out in my experience.
I was born with a heart murmur and jaundice so my introduction to the NHS was fairly rapid. I’m told the overture to my life was blues and twos and the screech of ambulance tyres. Me? Dramatic? I believe I spent a while in a cosy incubator while my Mum was in a different hospital as the NHS took care of her asthma as they continued to do for the next 9 years.
When I was eight I had a “lazy eye” which the NHS fixed with the minimum of fuss. I remember the nurse bringing in her teddy to meet mine and reading my get well cards to me – I can remember her smile, her soft voice and kindness but not her name.
Then there’s a bit of a gap where the NHS just sort of hummed away in the background, helping others produce several children who I’m really rather fond of, mending various broken limbs (none of mine) and generally being taken for granted.
Which brings me to 2011 of course. One thing about our NHS which astounded me was what happened to me immediately after the word “Oncology” is spoken. All of a sudden I breezed through the long queue for a Blood Test, holding up my “URGENT ONCOLOGY PATIENT” card like Garth and Wayne’s back stage pass, sometimes waits were still quite long but I still felt cared for the entire time; my specialist Nurse got to know me so well because she took the time to, that she knew how I was really doing behind the smiles and bravado. All I had to do was rock up every day and have treatment that costs the NHS thousands and me nothing and not a day goes by when I’m not grateful. Today, especially, I’ll pause to just put that gratitude out there.
I was extremely saddened to see that woman who along with her sisters inspired my purchase and wearing of boob tubes and tight satin jeans way before Olivia Newton John, the gorgeous Bernie Nolan had died yesterday of breast cancer. She didn’t “lose her fight” no matter what the tabloids say. It’s one of my absolute bug bears. So if she had fought harder she would have survived? Why don’t the papers just go the whole hog and splash the headline “The huge wimp Bernie Nolan was too cowardly to carry on yesterday …” – it’s nonsense and I do so wish they wouldn’t use the expression.
RIP lovely girl, let’s hope there’s heated rollers and lots of Elnett up there and the disco ball is forever twirling, covering your beautiful face in flickers of light.