Saturday, 30 June 2018

The Saturday List #178 - NHS Birthday Special - 10 reasons why the NHS has my undying gratitude

Image result for nhs birthday
NHS is 70 today
Every day I thank the Good Lord for giving me the privilege of being born British. I am a patriot, I love my country, I love our democracy, I love London and I love the NHS. My patriotism is not the sort that spits in the face of anyone for difference. I celebrate the fact that everyone is welcome here. Today is the 70th Birthday of the NHS. In some ways I am lucky, my Mum was born in 1925 in Oldham and she remembers life before the NHS. She told me horror stories of families pushed to insolvency by illness. Her mother had all her teeth removed as a 21st birthday present, as it was seen as a way of saving money on dental bills. In 1938 aged 13, she had Diptheria during the mass outbreak. She was in hospital for six months and the experienced the sad sight of other children coming in, weakening and dying. She said that her family experienced massive hardship and suffering as a result. 

That is something our generation have no clue of. The NHS has done so much for us, I thought I'd list the top ten things I can think of that I have to be grateful to them for.

1. I was born six weeks premature, in August 1962 and immediately had to have three blood transfusions, due to the "rhesus factor", I was what is known as a 'Blue Baby', which may explain my allegiance to Manchester City FC. I nearly died and was in hospital for the first three months of my life. So the NHS saved my life, before it had really started.

2. In 1970, my Mum was diagnosed with Stomach Cancer. She had a total gastrectomy, a procedure which at the time had a zero survival rate after five years. She lived another 38 years. That is the greatest gift of all.

3. All of my children were born under the NHS. We had excellent care and weren't lumbered with a bill at the end. 

4. In the late 1970's my nephew Chris contracted meningitis. He ended up in Great Ormond St. He nearly died. Happily due to the amazing treatment, he survived. He is now a BAFTA winning animation director, his biggest claim to fame being the Clangers reboot. 

5. A couple of years later, another of my nephew's, Damian had a collapsed lung, and also had a long stay in Great Ormond Street. He is also still around and runs marathons and does websites for bands. 

6. In 1983, my sister and her husband were on a cycling holiday in Scotland. She had a terrible accident, which resulted in eight hours of emergency brain surgery. Thankfully she pulled through. She recently retired as a hospice nurse, having done her best to give back what she could.

7.  I'm a musician. I need my ears. Back in the mid 1980's I was having terrible hearing problems, following a serious ear infection. It ended up with two bouts of surgery. Thankfully, I still have a degree of hearing, although I am partially deaf.

8. In 1984, I suffered a Mallory Weiss stomach bleed. In truth I wasn't really taking the best care of myself. It resulted in six weeks in hospital (and six months off the booze). My weight went down to nine stone and I had to be taught how to walk again, when I could finally get out of bed. It was pretty scary.

9. In 2000, my mum had a major stroke. She had treatment and rehabilitation, to the point where she lived the last eight years of her life in her own home, independently, albiet with family support.

10. In 2011, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. In 2015, I had Ultrasound treatment as the cancer had become aggressive. Thus far, fingers crossed, all is well. I have been keeping a running total. All of the blood tests, biopsies, MRI scans and other treatments would have cost me approx £45,000 had I been born in the USA. I am lucky, whatever worries the cancer has given me, the cost is not one of them. 

I have no idea how much all of the other treatments may have cost. Probably a million quid at todays prices. So as far as I am concerned, the NHS treats us all like millionaires, remember that the next time a politician talks crap about the NHS.

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