Today I realised that it was the end of the month and my two blog post a month, self imposed quota was going to fail.
I had a few posts planned, but I'd found myself in hospital, and I realised it was a good opportunity to a) kill some time, b) write about how amazing I think the National Health Service is.
I write to you today from level 4 of The Royal Sussex Hospital, with an Intravenous (IV) drip in my arm and the knowledge that I'm being cared for.
Yesterday morning at 8:45am, Julie, my partner, called the General Practitioner for me to book an appointment and I was seen at 3:50pm and fully admitted to hospital at around 10am the next morning.
My condition, I wouldn't have called critical, but the GP deemed it sensible that I see a specialist at the hospital, whom then admitted me for full treatment.
About a month ago, I had my first bout of tonsillitis. The NHS website was easy to use, easy to read and comprehensively described the symptoms, and if it was virus-based, the tonsillitis would clear itself up in around 3-4 days.
The website recommend sleep and fluids. And that's what I did. Eventually I got better (though the fever it came with was no fun).
Luckily I was better for our family holiday (which was lovely!), but upon returning home, my second wave of tonsillitis took hold.
I visited the GP, and they prescribed me a 10 day course of antibiotics. 80 pills in total.
As someone in employment (I run my own business) I pay for my prescriptions. A single flat fee of £8.80.
I followed the treatment, but frustratingly, 48 hours after ending, my tonsillitis came back angry as hell! Inside of a day, I went from a sore throat to fully swollen left tonsil that made it sore to swallow, unable to eat and I had difficulty drinking fluids.
My return to the GP referred me to the Ear Nose & Throat specialist here at the hospital.
Of all the people I've seen, they've all been kind, patient and helpful.
I had blood taken, to which I have a tendency to faint or get extremely light-headed. The nurse didn't rush me along, and waited carefully with me until my blood pressure was normal and I was able to walk myself back to my seat.
Since being here, I've had steroids (to help reduce the swelling), antibiotics, adrenaline, anesthetics, fluids and more. The doctor has punctured the tonsil causing me grief (6 times - it hurt even with the anesthetic!) and I've had a ECG (the steroids did something weird to me that they wanted to check out).
I'm now due to stay in overnight. I've been offered morphine to help me sleep, and food and drink has been offered.
I've paid, and all I'll have paid, for this series of treatment, is £8.80.
Long before this, in 2010, Julie and I lost Tia at birth, and the staff were incredible with us during this extremely bleak and dark period of grief.
The midwives looked after us, gave us all the time we need, and helped us navigate through the worst day of our lives.
Again, the NHS, no money paid, and utmost professionalism.
This service is available to all, regardless of age, gender, race or religion. This is a free service for everyone.
When the NHS was founded, three core principles were at its heart:
- that it meet the needs of everyone
- that it be free at the point of delivery
- that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay
I think the NHS is an inspiring organisation, from what I understand, is the largest employer in the UK. The people that I've met today, on the ground so to speak, have been nothing but kind, patient, attentive and professional.
I know no organisation is perfect, but I pray that this service survives to serve my children and their children.
Thank you NHS. Thank you to the nurses, the support staff and the doctors that have seen me.
A service for everyone is a service worth thanking, and fighting for.