I’m sitting here with my foot raised and a bag of peas wrapped around my rather bruised and fat ankle having slipped off the last step on the stairs in the house. Although it felt painful at the time I didn’t think anything of it until the shooting pains started later and I was unable to stand on it. So I ended-up being driven to A&E by a friend who drove like a rally driver and to whom I had to keep gently reminding that it was only a swollen ankle and not life and death. I hobbled into minor injuries where I was placed in a wheel chair and left in the waiting room. Within a few minutes I had been checked over and returned to the waiting room to then be wheeled off for an X-ray, then to be seen by a nurse for the results. Luckily it was nothing more than a bad sprain, however I was in and out just in an hour. The NHS had come to my rescue again. Each time I have had to go to A&E I am always amazed at how quickly we have been attended to and have nothing but praise for these units. Having lived abroad for some years I know exactly how lucky we are to have these facilities on our door steps.
Our youngest was a ‘head banger’ having once stopped himself from sliding along a floor using a marble pillar – that gave him a wonderful egg to the front of his head. About a month later, he managed to fall off a railing and crack his head on a concrete floor which gave him another egg, this time on the back of his head, and then managing to break his arm a few weeks later by falling from the monkey bars. I was certain that particular questions would be asked on that occasion at the hospital because he was becoming a ‘regular’ customer.
Whereas our daughter tended to stick to the lower half of her torso tearing many a ligament or a damaged knee, having played football since she was eight. On each occasion, we are seen within minutes of entering the hospital and are treated with great care and by friendly staff never being made to feel that we are wasting their time. We are so lucky in this country, automatically expecting to be seen by a doctor in a clean hospital and to be given the correct treatment and medicines. We wouldn’t dream of having to walk miles to get to a decent hospital or to sit and wait for days in a corridor to be seen by a doctor as some people have to in certain countries.
It’s only when you are abroad needing medical care that you really understand how lucky we are here. Like the time we were still living abroad and our eldest was about five: she fell off a swing and used her chin to break her fall which resulted in needing stitches. There wasn’t a decent hospital for at least 4 hours drive away so we ended up going to a local health clinic with no air conditioning. The heat was unbearable and the doctor’s hands kept slipping on the huge half-moon needle that she was using to stitch our daughter back together with. Each time she got anywhere near her chin, our daughter would scream at the huge needle and so began hours of me calming her down whilst the doctor got her going again whenever she got near with that needle. After four long, hot hours the wee lass resembled Tutankhamen with a huge bandage on her chin which she sported for the rest of the holiday. That awful night is relived in every picture of our wee ‘mummy’.
Or the time when we all went to a water park: the most dangerous place I have ever taken my kids. I honestly do not know how we all walked out of there intact. It was basically run by a bunch of teenagers without a lifeguard or first aider in sight. As we climbed up and up the wrought iron steps with two wee kiddies, I kept thinking that it was a bit high for ones so young, and even when we were all sitting on a 10 foot rubber ring going into the black hole I still hadn’t twigged that it could be in any way dangerous. We were all perched on the edge of this giant ring with nothing to hold on to and it wasn’t until we were teetering on the edge of the ‘black hole’ did I then realise that the kids would be thrown out into the giant black pipe and into deep water. I linked my hands through the ropes and grabbed the kids. It was terrifying! We decided to stick to the smaller pools after that, and went off to play in the wave machine area. All went well until the wee fellar decided to do a roly-poly in the shallow end and ended up taking the skin off his face on the rough concrete floor. He came out of the water like a monster from the deep. He had skinned his face and was pouring blood all down his front. The only person who was there to attend was a spotty wee lad who was on the chips and burger stand who proceeded to stop the flow with cheap paper napkins that then stuck to his face! The park closed down a few weeks later to our delight.
It makes really mad when people complain about our health service and I know that mistakes are made. However the press very rarely mention the fantastic service that is given in so many units in so many hospitals. I always spare a thought for those who are less fortunate to have such an amazing service that the NHS provides.