January 16th 2017
Today I woke up deaf in one ear. I’ve had a cold for the past few days, so I assumed it was something to do with that – I figured I just to wait for my sinuses to clear, but after about an hour of not being able to hear from my left ear, I decided it was probably worth seeing a doctor over. And therein lies one of the simple, under-appreciated beauties of our country – The National Health Service.
I woke up deaf in one ear, phoned my doctor’s surgery, got an appointment for eleven o’clock, went to my appointment, got diagnosed, got prescribed antibiotics, picked up my antibiotics and was home by 11:30. And all of that cost me a total of £8.40 for five days worth of amoxicillin.
The doctor said that my ear was inflamed and ‘angry’ and if I still couldn’t hear anything on Thursday then I should go back and see him.
Other than that, it was symptom to solution in four hours, for less than the price of an Extra Large Bacon Double Cheeseburger Supersize Meal from Burger King (that’s assuming you’re buying the meal from an airport or motorway service station, because why else would you go to a Burger King?)
I’m sure there are problems with the NHS. In fact, I’m definitely sure that there are problems with the NHS. But for the most part, for the average citizen, it works.
I live in a country with free health care, and that is incredibly important, and makes me so, so lucky. I think people often forget that. It gets lost in the anger of having to wait in line at the walk-in because the understaffed, poorly scheduled, badly funded clinics can’t cope with the amount of people who got colds this winter and walk in demanding treatment.
I was happy to wait my turn because I’m lucky that I get a turn at all. I woke up, phoned an hour later, went to my appointment an hour later, and came home with a solution (hopefully).
When I get my payslip at the end of every month and see that the taxman has siphoned 20% of it (ish) it’s frustrating. Put it makes it easier for me to deal with that if I just imagine that the 20% of my payslip pays for my healthcare. Paying that means that if I ever get sick, or need a doctor, then I don’t have to worry about finding the money for it.
And, I got thirteen free years of education out of the government, my tax just pays that back, and it pays for my health care. And I’m okay with that.
My sister is a doctor, and I’m sure she knows more about the flaws and failures of the NHS from an internal point of view. But for me, it works, and I’m thankful for it.
Until tomorrow, I still can’t hear anything, though.