Before I start, I MUST emphasise that I am in no way criticising the people who work in our health service, I am just relating my own personal experience for humorous and strictly non-critical purposes only.
As a matter of fact, my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were all nurses, and I can remember my mother having to go to work in her uniform in the seventies, when I was a little girl, through the picket lines of striking miners. Generally this was discouraged as an unhygienic practice, but during this time the nurses were allowed to wear their uniforms so the miners would let them through.
Basically I broke the family tradition….too squeamish and phobic….but that doesn’t mean to say I haven’t acquired a little bit of working knowledge along the way. I went to my doctor a few weeks ago, at the start of this virus (I am now a lot better, thank you to everyone who enquired.) and although he wasn’t my usual doctor, I have seen him before and he’s pleasant enough.
“Hello, what can I do for you today?”
“I’m ill…(just thought I’d pop in and ask after the kids…) temperature, productive cough, sore throat, chest pains when I breathe in…”
“Oh, there’s a lot of this virus about.”
“But I feel awful…(please at least listen to my chest…) I definitely don’t have a chest infection?”
I wasn’t doubting him or his skills at all, I suppose I just wanted a little doctorly reassurance.
“No, no, no infection, but did you know the painkillers you take have been linked to dementia?”
We looked at each other, across his desk. He straightened his pen so it was in line with the computer keyboard.
“Oh…(actually I wish I’d stayed at home…) these drug companies..they’re always wise after the event…like Thalidomide…” I offered as my conversational contribution.
“Yes! Yes,” he exclaimed eagerly, leaning forwards, “so, really, all these drugs have bad long term side effects.”
I considered this.
“So…you can’t give me anything really, I know antibiotics don’t help…(or is this just another governmental conspiracy to depopulate the country…)”
“No. How did your self-referral to physiotherapy go?”
“We had a nice chat, but I didn’t really want to be pulled around.”
(I have a horror of physical contact when I am in pain, making me, as I am sure you will agree, an ideal patient…)
The doctor considered this.
“Shall I give you another form so you can self-refer to -”
“No. No. Thank you…thyme oil is a very good natural anti-inflammatory and sage and thyme tea helps to shift these viruses…”
He looked interested, but I left, thanking him for his time and feeling vaguely frustrated and saddened by how our small doctor practices are having to cut costs, become more of a business, than the traditional family doctor of years ago.
It’s becoming more difficult to get an appointment for a GP and this has a knock-on effect to our hospitals who are already facing unbearable pressure. This is expected to increase during the winter months and to be honest, it’s frightening.
In this particular instance, I knew that I was essentially all right, but what about the pensioner with the persistent cough who “doesn’t want to bother the doctor”, or the desperate mother of a three week old baby with breathing difficulties? The future looks bleak as regards our NHS – there simply isn’t enough money to fund what we need, let alone make improvements.
People give me funny looks when I mention my herbal remedies… but they have been proven to have more than just a palliative effect. Spread the word…thyme and sage really do help reduce the effects of these coughs and colds that circulate with such malicious glee at this time of year. Ginger is good too.
Have some in the cupboard, just in case, and make a tea from them… trust me, I might not be a doctor, but there are some wonderful blogs about herbal healing, returning to the old ways to fight 21st century ill health…or ask Google.
In the meantime… excuse me while I check on my mouldy bread…!