Tag Archives: NHS

Rash words, Jeremy

2 Feb

Two hands, I believe

On Friday I took the car to the garage. It had a slow puncture, or so I believed, which needed to be addressed, and potentially a new tyre fitted. I told the nice mechanics at our usual garage what the problem was, and they took it to the bowels of the building for their diagnostic treatment. In the meantime L2 and I played Poisonous Creatures Top Trumps, which I would recommend heartily.

The mechanics came back to me with startling news. My diagnosis was wrong! The tyre was intact; it was a thinning of the beading around the wheel hub leading to minuscule quantities of air making a bid for freedom whenever we drove on it. Careful application of fresh sealant, no new tyre needed, job done.

Honestly, who would have thought that I, with no car mechanic qualifications or experience to my name, could have got that wrong? Well, probably most people would have assumed it was highly probable that I could be incorrect. Tyre’s deflating; it’s got to be a small hole in the tyre, right? Well, actually, not right. But then I am not and have never claimed to be a car expert. Insane idea. My diagnosis of the car’s issue was based on assumption of what as a layperson I believed to be likely. Doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the case. And that’s why I took the Zafira to the expert.

In 2014 I applied the same principles to my small son’s not-well-ness. His symptoms, to me, appeared remarkably similar to those expected for glandular fever. I Googled it, and voila! Glandular fever fitted the bill. Good old Google, giving us the answers we want since 1998. Crikes, I thought, poor kid, glandular fever’s nasty.

However, because as evidenced by my taking the car to a mechanic, and entrusting electrics to an electrician, and so on, I am a fan of the concept of the expert, and because the small boy had a spectacular temperature that wasn’t shifting, I popped to the out of hours GP at the hospital to have my glandular fever diagnosis confirmed.

But! Who would have thought that the symptoms of pneumonia are the same as glandular fever (to the unpracticed Google reliant amateur diagnostician, at least)? Thank goodness for the professionals, who got it right, treated my son quickly, kindly and correctly, and stopped something nasty becoming something very nasty indeed.

Jeremy Hunt, shame on you. As Health Secretary your duty of care extends to the nation (God help us) – we are meant to look to your advice to know what to do. Advising the population to turn to the Internet for knowledge that takes our doctors decades to learn, practise and perfect, is madness, and dangerous. You have pronounced some idiocy in your term of office, but this is simply demented.


Spooked by Christmas present, but it’s not the end of the world

22 Dec

I 100% believe thisSince the world hasn’t yet ended, another blog. It may surprise you to hear that Christmas is coming. It had at least partially escaped my notice, since a wedding anniversary (mine) put paid to the Christmas party, and it is unseasonably mild (although Southeastern Rail have still managed their standard December ‘go slow’, I was relieved to note). Tuesday’s sudden realisation that the turkey would be in the oven in precisely one week’s time led to a mental gear shift to a different mind state altogether. Blind panic is too strong, but suffice to say, no longer denial.

I went into omni-wrap mode instantaneously (days off! The new ‘overcommit’!) and succeeded in wrapping everything bar a pyramid-shaped chocolate collection (they were a bugger to cover; I had already wrapped four; it was time for someone else to suffer, namely M); and two jumpers (one which I was subliminally coveting, so actually couldn’t bring myself to encase and therefore commit to some other). I then realised that there were three presents unpurchased, so spent a fruitless 30 minutes chasing phantom parking spaces in Nugent Place before conceding and parking just up the road, where there had been the same space clearly available when I drove past it thirty minutes prior.

The Ls and I then went to donate some festive blood before it became too diluted with clear intoxicating liquid (by which I don’t mean attar of roses). The Ls love a good blood donation: it’s the quality of the post-letting snacks, you see, and the fact that with my brain partially deprived of oxygen due to lessened red blood cell numbers I am not as quick to refuse them copious quantities of them.

Yet my guilt in depriving NHS Blood & Transplant of more than my fair share of its snacks when they only take a very meagre amount of my oxygen dissemination system prevents me from having any myself, the net result inevitably being the Ls stagger out sated and I stagger out because I’m about to pass out from blood sugar deprivation. Must try harder; but I figured people would need blood tranfusions in the post apocalypse fall-out, at least while the hospitals still functioned (I’m hazy as to how long that would be).

And to be fair, to date, that’s about as festive as it’s got. New job resolution – try to prevent humiliating myself for as long as possible – has prevented the wearing of L2’s antlers nor indeed my own flashing festive earrings in the office environment; celebratory fizz has mainly been around the aforementioned wedding anniversary not welcoming the birth date of the infant Lord. For me, it just hasn’t begun to feel a lot like Christmas.

No doubt subliminally it has been the spectre of the potential end of the world hanging over us today that has prevented me from letting myself get fully caught up in the festive spirit. Or maybe not, but it’s a good hook. 11.30am today (UK time – the Mayans never specified the end of the world timezone, and as a small sharp and smart boy of my acquaintance pointed out to me today, it could also be 11.30pm) I was in Asda, trying to find pre-peeled chestnuts. Even though the world hadn’t ended, I still felt life was too short to have to peel chestnuts, and the Asda store staff were right behind me.

Best post this now in case that little lad was right; and even if he isn’t, because it’s definitely time for a Christmas drinkie. Chin chin.

Slowly does it

1 Dec

Friday - just a little bit like thisThere is irony in the fact that this is the first time I have touched my blog in an age, when this is also the first week I have worked three days.

I have a new job, in a brand new company, and yes, it is part-time.  I feel the stars have come into alignment: part-time working in a medium that genuinely fascinates me. Obviously early days, and following my five month baptism of NHS fire, I refuse to jinx the opportunity, but as M always says (no idea why): “Safari so goodie”.

So, what did I do with my first break from the norm, my first venture into a world where two days stretch ahead of me, ready to be crammed with kid time, writing, and a pinch of fun?

The first day was perfectly fit for purpose.  Dropping kids at school; walking the dog while putting the world to rights; deli lunch with a great friend just gone on mat leave; wrapping 19 individual presents for the school Secrets Room; picking up both kids with the dog (confused she was); homework; and tea together.  Frankly, tick.  It was looking like three days of genuine job-related brainwork and two days of frivolity and capturing valuable kid time from that start.

Then yesterday.

I already knew a chunk would be spent on routine hospital tests; by routine I do not mean ongoing routine of days off, but in the sense of ‘routine check-up’.  But what was not factored into the whole shebang was, initially, L2’s 8.20 trip to the GP. While he was passed fit for school, I was unwashed, unprepared and generally un-.  The second unfactored deviation was the New Rule which prevents accompanying parties from actually accompanying the patient. So up to Dartford we drove, me equipped with ‘reading round the subject’ matter for work, only to find that rather than mopping M’s fevered brow (or more likely sniggering at his sedated ramblings, I’m a great support to the hospitalised, me), my options were ‘waiting room’ (uncomfortable chairs), ‘coffee shop’ (too easy access to too much caffeine) and ‘home’ (drive there, drive back, drive there, tree branch stuck in car workings feel driving on borrowed time).

I aimed for the latter, based on the theory that if the car branch disrupted the witchery workings of the car’s inside (no mechanical awareness lies at this door) it would not help were I completely wired nor feeling a bit ‘spinal’.

The driving marathon was topped off by collecting L2 from a party and L1 from a choir rehearsal. By this point I had never been happier to see a pre-prepped Asda pizza in my life.

But the ironic upshot of this unplanned Grand Prix was that I finished my first three-day week feeling more knackered than had I stared at a screen for the extra 18 hours.

So next week time to try harder – let’s see how I do.