The NHS Turns 70 – My note of gratitude to the NHS
Being a woman of 41 means I have used the NHS many times, and I mean hundreds of times. Life as a mum bring up boys I have been to the Lister every two weeks for the past three months with A&E, broken fingers and badly bruised leg ligaments. There are some huge stand out moments that I wanted to share.
The Birth of Jack
Jack was my third child and the doctors knew a big baby was coming (Josh was just under 11 lbs when born, Dylan 8 1/2lbs at 38 weeks) and with my ITP, low platelets, much higher risk of bleeding, I was a risky pregnancy. It was consultant care, scan and blood tests every 4 weeks from 3 months. I was under the joint care of the haematologist consultant and the gynaecological team who worked brilliantly together.
As expected my platelets crashed after 36 weeks when baby started taking everything from me. The two consultants talked in the same room, with me sat there, and we decided to try a haemoglobin transfusion for three days. This would boost mine and baby’s platelets. I was booked in during my 37th week. Three days as a day case, spending 4 hours having this infusion normally reserved for people who have lost a limb on the front line with excessive bleeding. At a cost of £16k per day! WOW.
The infusion worked, and my platelets went up to above the magic level of 80 (normal platelet count is 200-300). I went in afterwards for a check-up and the platelets were 81 so I was booked in for c-section 12 hours later. All was fine with the c-section, my platelets at 81 meant I could have a spinal rather than general anaesthetic. It was literally below 80, knocked out, above 80 I was fine to be awake. The angels were looking down that day.
Jack was born safely, both our platelet counts were fine, and we went home 48 hours after the c-section. The NHS saved our lives over that period of one week.
Josh putting his teeth through his lip and chin
When Josh was two he fell off the bunkbed and put his teeth straight through his gum and chin/lip area. He made an actual hole that bled a lot. Off we tottered to Lister hospital in Stevenage who very quickly realised it was too much for them to cope with and we were sent over to Luton hospital with a special plastic surgery department. The plastic surgeon deemed surgery was needed immediately to repair the hole. He was only two so had to go under.
Late at night Josh went under and had 17 stitches inside his mouth and outside just under his lower lip to repair said hole. We could come home once he was safe and recovered at about 4am.
Josh is very proud of his 17 stitches and scar on his chin/lip area.
My Brother Had a Stroke
I don’t talk much about my siblings. I have slightly different family set-up with two siblings, a sister 21 years older than me and a brother, 18 years older than me. They both live in Penzance, 300 miles away, and it’s an interesting relationship dynamic. My sister was always there when growing up and her children are a similar age to me, so they are more like brothers and sisters to me, when my sister and brother are more like aunt and uncle? Maybe.
Anyway, I am not close to my brother, he spent my childhood travelling the world. When my mum died we couldn’t find him and had to ask Interpol to help find him, he was working on a boat somewhere in the med. He wasn’t around from ages 0-18 and with the age gap too I don’t really know him.
In 2013 he had a major stroke and came very close to dying. Half his brain was wiped out. I had the call and had to jump in the car and drive from Hertfordshire to Plymouth, 200 miles away. I was asked that question about switching off life support. Oh my gosh don’t ask me, I reverted the doctor to my sister for that decision.
He spent weeks in intensive care, and then on the ward, and then in a more local hospital (as he was blue-lighted from Penzance to Plymouth. He then had so much physio and GP care and counselling and drugs.
This care would have costs hundreds of thousands of pounds. He is alive.
The NHS is a wonderful thing, we are so fortunate to have this health service to look after us in times of need. So, stop the moaning and appreciate what we have that has saved mine and my children’s and my brothers lives.