Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter


Day 251

The National Health Service is magnificent. I got up early to go for my CT scan. M gave me a lift down to the hospital, and held my hand when she didn’t need two hands on the wheel because I was so nervous, and, frankly, afraid. I made my way, on shaky legs,  into the hospital, found where I was meant to be (with some help), sat down, got up, went to the loo, sat down again, and was called in exactly on time. I had been relieved, on receiving my letter about the scan, to find the device was the shape of a doughnut, not a claustrophobia-inducing tube, so that was a plus. I answered some questions, was introduced to the two people (J and H) who would be doing the scan and injecting me with contrast agent. H retired to behind the glass, J talked to me whilst trying to find a vein (left arm no chance, right arm success), and when I told her I thought I was being silly for being so nervous, she told me it wasn’t silly, and not surprising, and normal, and squeezed my shoulder with reassurance through her surgical gloves. And said ‘The most important person in this room is the patient, and right now that’s you.’

She explained I’d get a hot flush and feel like I was going to the toilet (‘but you won’t be’) when the contrast agent was injected, then joined Helen behind the glass as they remotely injected a test amount of agent and ran the machine briefly. And then came back into the room to see how I was, and let me know they’d be putting the full dose into me in a moment. Although the test injection had been more noticeable when it slid into my body (I felt it all long the vein into my side), this was really weird, and I did feel very hot, and the feeling of going to the loo was more of a tingle than feeling that I’d actually lost control of all my nether faculties (thank God). I held my breath when she told me to (through the loudspeaker), and then it was over just as I was starting to struggle for air.

Back in the room, J told me she’d seen on my notes that I was due to have an x-ray on my troublesome right foot, and that she’d been next door and persuaded the x-ray department to very quickly fit me in so I didn’t have to wait for the appointment and come back. So she ushered me out, accepted my blubbing thanks, and I was slipped into the x-ray room where N asked me questions, got me to pose on the table like a life model (but only one naked foot visible; well, and my legs because I was wearing shorts), and three minutes later I was done, and out into the corridor after another bout of effusive thanks that they’d looked after me so well when the are so hard-pushed, so underpaid, and so abused by government during these pandemics (because there is still a pandemic of C19, and there’s a pandemic of chronic defunding).

This is our National Health Service, and it needs to be saved, and it needs our taxes to go to it, not to energy companies making massive profits and being rewarded by Liz Truss’s government with even more money (which will be our taxes).

This is joined-up healthcare. This is professionals caring intensely about their patients. This is people going above and beyond, where people matter more than numbers, where care is emotional as well as physical.

I love our NHS.




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