Yesterday the personal and the political crashed into each other for me, with, it must be written, a surprisingly unexpected outcome. Admittedly the day had stated well, in fact the day hadn’t started for me until mid-day, when I’d reluctantly got out of bed and wished I hadn’t. But I don’t want to write about that. Neither do I want to write about the incredibly bad news the Conservative election campaign got when it was revealed that a slew of performance indicators for the N.H.S – waiting times in A&E, waiting times for operations, waiting times for some cancer treatments, waiting times for, well you get the gist – had completely banjaxed any notion of the N.H.S being safe with them. Besides it was all over news.
No, what I want to write about is my visit to my consultant neurologist. In the way of these things, it was his registrar I saw – and it was jolly lucky for me that I did! The initial signs did not augur well. After getting to the waiting room, I was informed by my glamourous assistant that it was too hot. I ruminated on the fact that just supposing that the Garden of Eden was more than arrant nonsense, and just supposing she was in there, she would’ve made suggestions – not complaints – about improvements may have been made, leading God to wonder ‘What might I have got for two ribs? Although being God, and being how the world was only a few days old, he could simply have stated again. But I digress.
A notice board informed us that the wait would be 70 minutes. It has always baffled me, how that when you have an appointment at 9.30a.m, there can be a long delay. What could they be possibly be doing, I wonder? But I was due to seen at 4pm, and upon enquiring, came the news that I was next.
The registrar, a very pleasant woman, young enough not have had all the humanity drudged out of her, but old enough to inspire confidence, whom I’d never seen before, started asking me about the medical issue that had bought me to her door, but which had been so long ago, I had no recollection of. Helpfully, she gave no clues as to what it might be, but fortunately – in this instance anyway – I have a rather ‘unique’ medical history, so I picked one and hoped for the best.
Then I explained about a forthcoming review by anti-social services into my funding. I explained why I needed imy funding not be drastically reduced, and that a letter in support of continued levels of funding by her would be most helpful. I added that they were usually overly bureaucratic and obsessed with cost cutting. To which she said, “Well, you know why that is, don’t you?” Thinking there was going to be some earnestly liberal denunciation, I was taken aback by her answer, which was as succinct as it was borne out of her experience.
“Because they’re bastards”, she said, not with anger or frustration but in the resigned tone of someone imparting a self-evident truth. She explained it cogently, how everything was connected to everything else, an increasing workload, lots of patients with complex needs, some more social than medical, with unrealistic expectations and a social care system unable to cope with them, only exacerbating the problems.
She then asked me lots of detailed questions about my condition, so as to better understand my needs and therefore what her letter should say. Ah, the letter! And it was all going so well! Too well, in fact. Yes, granted she had to dictate the letter, I expected that, but what I didn’t expect was that in this new market driven N.H.S, it would then be sent to India, typed up, sent back to the hospital before being sent to me.
See, that’s what happens if you take the Lords name in vain truly, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away!