A love letter to the NHS

Day 25 and I’ve finally been discharged from the hospital. I almost can’t believe I’d spent the last 25 days confined to a room without losing my mind. It also felt weird stepping out into the ward and then even further out, into the outside world. The place where germs are born.

I’ve left the hospital with a vague-ish plan of action. The 2 items to tick off pre-chemo are the PET-CT scan and the freezing of the sperms, but thanks to my constant positive Covid testing, this may be somewhat delayed. I’ll hopefully have a phone call next week with an update, so watch this space!!

I think I’ll use this post to publicly, to all 4 of you viewers, share my appreciation for the NHS, and more specifically the people that make it up. I’ve genuinely met some lovely people over the past 25 days. I’ve had chats with porters, cleaners, healthcare assistants, radiographers, nutritionists, physios, food-bringing ladies (not their official job title I’m sure), nursing students, nurses, doctors, consultants and others that have momentarily slipped my mind.

I spoke to one nurse about her upcoming marriage plans, and the struggles of telling her dad about how she met her partner, and to another about the awkwardness of not getting along with her new sister in-law. One of the cleaners showed me her Disney-OBSESSED kitchen and various tattoos. A healthcare assistant spoke to me about how she’s still playing Pokémon Go and remains the gym leader in her area after all this time. One of the physios told me about his own chemo experience as a child and reassured me that my hair would grow back nice and soft, whilst another nurse regaled me of her travels from Ethiopia to Rome to Texas and finally to the UK. The ward manager waited with me for a couple hours whilst I had my biopsy done and even the doctor kept me talking about my job to distract me from the needle entering my spleen.

I’m grateful for each and every person who took the time out of their busy day to just stand around and chat. They may have been pressed for time with other tasks, but they rarely let that show and I appreciate that.

I was fortunate to have my own room for the duration of my stay, as well as an upgrade partway through, but it was the niceness of the staff that contributed the most to a surprisingly pleasant visit. So pleasant in fact that the news that I’d be going home was almost bitter-sweet, and I’m writing this now with a touch of the post-holiday blues. I’m not sure how many people can say that they miss their stay in hospital, but I’m one of them. Either I miss the hospital or I just really miss having a bed that reclines. Who knows.

Look at that recliner bed. #Takemeback

Having said that (just in case my family read this), it is great to be back home. I certainly won’t miss the daily tummy injections (to prevent blood clots) nor the routine observations at 7 in the morning. It’s also quite nice not having any line going through my vein. By the end of my stay I had such an itch at the site of my cannula that I didn’t even mind pulling the sticker, and a tiny bit of hair, off my arm. It was, dare I say it, actually quite satisfying. I also won’t miss paying just over £30.00 for a weeks’ worth of useable wi-fi.

You’d be lying if you said you didn’t want to itch that!

So this is my love letter to the NHS, and to all those who work therein. Seeing all the staff working together like clock-work to keep everything ticking over, it’s impossible not to appreciate the NHS for the well-oiled machine it is. May that machine continue running for years and years to come.

Peace and love,

Dan

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