In praise of the NHS in Scotland

The NHS is under attack. The UK’s once proud service which millions of us use every year has suffered decades of successive Westminster governments hacking away at it in order to open it up more for full privatisation. In Scotland, Tory, and a few Labour MSP’s sit in eager anticipation of someone photogenic dying on a trolley in a Scottish hospital so they can launch weeks of attacks on a service pushed to the limit but somehow managing to not fall apart. As a service the NHS in Scotland stands ahead of other services in the UK mainly because the Tories haven’t got their grubby hands on it.

This is not to have a go at the NHS in England. After all it saved my life. Twice. Since retuning to Scotland in November 2016 to mainly recuperate, but also to escape the collapse of the NHS in England,I’ve been a frequent user of the SNHS. I’ve praised the NHS back in Bristol who were amazing, but as the staff here have done the dull day-to-day stuff of helping me pull myself together rather than the lifesaving part it is only fair to give the staff the credit they deserve against a wave of shocking political opportunism from Ruth Davidson’s Tories (and we know exactly what as Tories they’d do here in Scotland)   and the empty dead-eyed vacuousness of Richard Leonard’s student politics.

Of course all parties throw around the NHS as a political weapon yet I don’t think folk here in Scotland quite understand just what is happening in England, and the possible consequences of letting what we have in a fairly well protected NHS in Scotland, slip. For the last 15 months I’ve been improving in health, returned to work, and yesterday (barring anything unexpected in my bloods) was confirmed to be in remission for cancer for a year so I’m past the first crucial marker and can start thinking of the future as my survival chances are now pretty much normal though my stroke recovery may well affect that.

That’s thanks to NHS staff who’ve poked, prodded, helped and in the case of the physios I’ve seen, get me walking again. There’s all the ancillary staff, plus the folk at MacMillan and the staff at The Beatson. All these people do an astonishing job in hard times and having to spend the winter listening to the likes of Ruth Davidson kick the NHS when she’d gladly rip its heart out is demoralising for me, so I’ve no idea how the staff feel.

I’d like to see like-minded parties come together and work out a long term plan to protect the NHS, especially with Brexit threatening to hurt Scotland so badly, but party politics come first it seems but I wish these people would remember that lives are saved, or made better, every day by people who work ridiculous hours for money that isn’t enough while being kicked (sometimes literally) by supposed allies and foes alike.

So thanks to the NHS. We need to all work together to preserve what we’ve got or frankly, people like me won’t be around to write blogs like this.


The ongoing ignorance of the public when encountering the disabled

I take the train most days. This week the students returned as did most people after the Christmas and New Year holidays which has seen trains go from half empty to crammed full of people staring intently at their phones. Now the thing about being disabled is that life isn’t a series of inspirational stock images but near ceaseless daily struggles where one just wants an easy life and to do things like use the train without being made to stand because every other fucker is glued intently to whatever pish they’re blandly staring at on their phones.

Well today was the solid gold jackpot. Not only was I forced to stand because people are selfish, but a young woman in her early 20’s and her guide dog also had to stand. Now there’s nothing the rail companies can do to enforce basic human decency, nor am I asking to get people to move because I’m tired just trying to pass as normal without having to go through the possibility that you’ll get the eye-roll, the heavy ‘tut’  as they make an effort to move akin to Moses splitting the Red Sea asunder.

So if you’re on a train, or a bus, and you see someone with walking sticks or a fucking guide dog, standing while you’re sitting there swiping through Tinder wondering what Lynx-soaked mass of flesh attracts you then you’re probably an arsehole. All I’m asking is pay attention to your environment. As a human being we’ve been capable of doing it since before we were able to walk upright so I’m sure you can manage it.

City of no sun

It is January in Glasgow. The last time it was daylight seems like a lifetime ago but it obviously wasn’t, but to say that I’m not dealing with the seeming perpetual night badly since moving back at the end of 2016 but I am. At least last winter I was in almost constant pain and/or on painkillers for most of it but this winter that isn’t the case.

And to think I nearly moved to Sweden at one point in the 2000’s.

Anyhow, I bring this up as in less than a week I go back to hospital for a few tests which will show whether I’m still in remission from the papillary thyroid cancer that left me with an interesting neck scar in 2016. If I am then all is good and myself and my doctors can carry of focusing on the stroke recovery as well as I get to decide just what to do with myself in life. If it isn’t then winter will just get a tad darker.

I should hopefully have all test results, etc back by next Friday so come back then for a fun update as to how bloody dark it is.

Afraid to Sleep

The above there is a trailer for a documentary call The Nightmare, a film about the subject of sleep paralysis, something I’ve been getting since having my stroke nearly two years ago. More exactly I get walking dreams when trying to sleep which ends up with my brain making figures out of the shadows, so I get something like this.

Scary right? Well not any more, though the first few months it was shittingly scary, I’ve now hit a point where I’m awake enough to know that anything my brain is telling me is there, isn’t. The one thing I can’t sort out even with medical help is the bursts of breathlessness that comes with sleep paralysis and while there’s reams of stuff on Google (mainly utter drivel) the fact is this is down to anxiety.

Now that’s something I’m dealing with my doctor’s help, but it does mean that sleeping can be a crazy ride at times, especially when I start to hear noises such as yesterday morning where I was sure an ambulance was outside my flat. but upon further investigation wasn’t anything but my brain deciding to play around with me. Fact is there’s not enough knowledge about what does this, and there certainly isn’t enough knowledge as to how to cure it other than to deal with one possible cause (anxiety) and then hope it has a knock-on effect and takes its leave of me.

Til then every night can be a crazy ride. Wish me luck…

A quick word about people who are blind to the disabled

I am quite clearly disabled. I walk with a stick, move like a glacier in reverse gear and am clearly in substantial pain at times. I want to try to be as independent and able to get around as possible but there are times when pulling myself on a train or bus that I appear to become invisible. I’ve probably encountered more disabled bags taking up seats in the last few months than I’ve seen in my previous non-disabled life and loads of people think their seat is more worthy of a seat than someone walking like I do with a stick, or pregnant women, or anyone is obvious distress at having to stand when seats designed for the likes of us are taken up by someone’s shopping or laptop bag.

Every fucker seems to do it.

Of course it isn’t everyone, but if you’ve woken up after a bad night, the painkillers aren’t doing their normal job & all you want to do is get to work ASAP it is a pain in the fucking arse to struggle onto a train/bus to find someone so engrossed in their phone, or holding their poorly bag/enormous pursething tightly on the seat next to them.

What I’m asking for is basic humanity not to mention some awareness of what exactly is going on around them. Essentially don’t be a prick and give folk like me the seats intended for us. It actually means a lot and can help make my day a wee bit better so thanks if you do, got to hell if you don’t.

Have a nice weekend all…

A pessimist is never disappointed

A year ago I was given a cautious nod that I was fit enough to travel and my cancer was nearly in remission. Today, just over a year later I’m in Glasgow having moved up from Bristol, have a job and my own place again. I’m also still recovering after sort of fooling myself that I’m just peachy when in fact I’m still not with the post-stroke recovery being something that’ll never end and my remission something dangling with a Damoclean sword hanging over me.

So with this cheery air of pessimism hanging over me I chipped off to the Beatson today for another check and to ensure my neck is still healing. I needed not to worry though a word of caution has been thrown my way in regards blood pressure, iron levels (I’m slightly anaemic), calcium levels, and whether I’ve taken on more than I can chew. This is actually a pretty good outcome as I’ve learned to go into these appointments expecting to come out diagnosed with Ebola or the plague.

The next appointment is January, but til then I’ve to just make sure I don’t do anything stupid which is easier said than done!

Blood and Iron

I’ve been waiting to get test results back which has put me somewhat on edge the last few days, and the results are in! I have anaemia. This for someone still essentially recovering from a stroke is not good, so here comes the science bit.

Anaemia for most folk isn’t a huge problem. It’s easily treated by changing diet, or taking supplements, but I’ve had a stroke, and I’m recovering from that and thyroid cancer so not only is my body fighting all that, it now has this to deal with. What anaemia does is make the blood ‘sticky’, which essentially makes my blood more likely to clot and that isn’t good for someone like me who as I get older would be at more at risk of having a stroke anyhow. So I’ve leaped from medium to low risk back to high risk and now have to pump iron into my body like Popeye on crack.

So back to the doctor in a couple of weeks to see if things have changed. If it looks like it hasn’t then we’ll get to that step when it comes, but right now I will at one with my greens to try to push me back over the line into relative safety.