Recently I posted a piece on my experience of the health service that I originally used as a Thought for the Day on BBC Radio Ulster. It’s a strange thing, and a measure of the pressure people are under that half a dozen health service workers contacted me to thank me for speaking well of them.
By the grace and kindness of God and a quirk of genetics, I’m one of the healthiest people I know. In 20 years of working I’ve never missed a day of work through illness and the longest I’ve ever been in a hospital was to attend the births of my children.
More recently however, I’m beginning to adjust to the life of someone who has a condition – curable but serious, and I’ve been to hospitals on three occasions since November to have things done to me. But I’ve also had more reason than ever before to visit someone in hospital. From a position of never having been in a particular Belfast hospital, I’ve been there four times inside about 6 weeks. And just a few days ago my daughter popped her shoulder and had a short but intense stay in A&E in yet another hospital. Phew!
Two things have struck me. Leaving the Royal Hospital after one of the visits I walked in the front door and was overwhelmed by the busyness of the place. It was like Central Station after the Enterprise has arrived.
There are SO MANY sick people around, and I’ve never really noticed.
And though I’ve been a little frustrated by the lack of time given by some of the senior medical professionals, I now find it staggering that given the endless calls on their time and skill there are ever moments of grace and kindness offered. My friend speaks highly of the gentle care of the people who looked after her. And those who cared for my daughter in her pain and shock were wonderful.