The first Monday in February is, apparently, National Sickie Day, the most popular day of the year for skiving off work.
Having never taken a sickie – mostly because I fear the thrill of a bonus day at home in my pyjamas would be so addictive I would never come back to work ever again – I will admit to having been off for last year’s.
But then I was suffering with a post-operative blood clot, so feel it was justified.
The experience offered a disquieting glimpse at the future of health care in this country.
While waiting for a scan to see if the clot was somewhere important (it wasn’t), I had to have daily injections of anti-coagulants.
The first was at the GP’s, which was fine, but come the weekend I had to head to Ipswich Hospital.
After a four-and-a-half hour wait, a nurse finally came and spiked me.
“So tomorrow, you can either come back here or do it yourself at home.”
“We send you home with a kit and you inject yourself.”
“Err …” (somewhat alarmed at the proposal).
My boyfriend, who had not had the agonising pain of a blocked blood vessel to help while away the time spent waiting, leant in.
“Yes, we’ll do that,” he said.
Gathering up the My First Medical Kit for Grown-Ups™ he bundled me off into the car.
At the appointed time the following day, the aforementioned boyfriend was glued to the Playstation.
“You’ll need to read this first,” I said, nervously proffering the instruction leaflet.
“I’ll be fine,” he said, reluctantly tearing his eyes from the screen. “Don’t move.”
And with that, he plunged the needle into my stomach, pulled it out, passed it to me, and resumed his game.
So it’s nice to know that when NHS budgets have been slashed so far that the population is reduced to replacing Granny’s hips themselves – with just a selection of kitchen utensils and a YouTube tutorial to guide them through – I am in a household with such a confident amateur medical practitioner.
The proposed cuts to the NHS don’t make me very optimistic about the prospects of Sudbury’s hospital, sorry, health centre.
My hopes have now been downgraded from ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ to ‘about as likely as Sudbury getting that bypass’.
But then if you had access to the Free Press cuttings file, featuring 30 years of thwarted plans, you’d be cynical too.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia that anyone can edit, often comes under fire for being less than accurate.
I don’t think much of the criticism is justified, but even I draw the line at the entry for Little Waldingfield: “Little Waldingfield was the birthplace of ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his home until he was seven years old. His parents then moved to London, where he grew up and went on to be PM of England.”
Hmmm, I think there might be a reason I hadn’t heard about that before.