So, last night found us back in A&E with Beth, who is fast turning out to be my most accident prone child. Quite a feat, when you consider her brother once managed to put his teeth through his lower lip… by falling over his own feet.
Last night’s trip was as a result of a rather too up close and personal encounter with one of our bedroom doors, which by their nature as fire doors are extremely heavy and unforgiving if you happen to forget to remove your fingers from the door frame as you seek to leave the room when you are supposed to be in bed. I’d like to say it was a valuable lesson learned, but knowing Beth, I doubt it.
Once I’d got over the immediate “ohmygaaaaaaahd” response which naturally follows the sight of your daughter arriving in the kitchen with blood literally dripping (regrettably not an exaggeration) from both palms, and had realised the extent of her injuries, I had a quick decision to make.
“We need to go to A&E.”
And you know the incredible thing? I was able to make that decision based SOLELY on the extent of Beth’s injuries. I didn’t have to think about how far away my nearest A&E provision was (we in fact have two A&E departments within about 10 minutes of our house), or, worse still, how much her treatment would cost and whether I could afford to take her to A&E. I could just go.
We were in A&E less than 20 minutes after the accident had happened. She was triaged within 5 minutes. Thereafter followed a bit of a wait – quite right too, given the severity of the injuries to some of the other children who were also there.
However, within four hours she had been seen by a nurse, given painkillers by another nurse, seen by the duty doctor, X rayed by the team there, reviewed by the duty doctor, booked into the plastic surgery clinic this morning to decide whether her fracture would need surgery, cleaned up and the wound dressed by a third nurse, provided with antibiotics and sent home.
This morning, at 8.30am, she was seen first thing at the outpatient plastic surgery clinic. Not one but two different specialists reviewed her injury before confirming that she, thankfully, would not need surgery. A nurse dressed her wound and provided us with additional dressings to take home in order to be able to change them over the next few days.
And all of this… all of this, at the point of treatment, was absolutely, completely, and 100%… FREE. Free healthcare, provided to all, regardless of their circumstances. I sometimes think we don’t take enough time to stand back and look at just how marvellous our NHS really is.
And so, today, on general election day, I would ask you all, please, to go out and vote. It is not too late. You have almost four hours until polling closes. You have a vote. Please, please, please, go out and use it.
It’s not for me to tell you how to vote. We all have our own priorities, the things which are most important to us, which we most value and want our Government to support. For me, as this post has no doubt demonstrated, our healthcare system is right up there. And I’ve made my vote today based on the party I believe is most likely to allow it to thrive and prosper.
But, please, whatever your political views, make sure you go out today and allow your voice to be heard. The issues our country are facing are, quite frankly, too important for you not to do so. Spoil your ballot paper if you must, but, please, above all else, avoid apathy. Because it is apathy which will tear this country apart faster than anything else.
To every single person who works in my beloved NHS: thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I started to lose count of the number of NHS professionals we encountered over the course of last night. Without exception, every last one of them was polite, courteous, caring and ensured the best possible standards of care for my daughter. I understand only the smallest amount about the horrendous pressures and cost cutting measures that you work under. For you to maintain such standards of execution in the face of such challenges is beyond impressive. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
So, in summary:
# Vote. Do it now. Please.
# Our access to free healthcare is outstanding, and in sharp contrast to the healthcare provision in so many other countries in the world. We should never allow ourselves to take it for granted.
# Don’t stick your fingers in bedroom doors. It will hurt. A lot 😊