Saturday, 27 October 2012

Taken for Granted

I do try to count my blessings and not take too much for granted, but from time to time, something happens and I'm surprised at how much I rely on something which is suddenly unavailable.
Yesterday, I had no electricity for 4 hours - all morning. Some maintenance was planned on the line, but I had about 45 minutes notice of the downtime. I managed to make a cup of coffee and glance at a couple of emails before switching the computer off again before the power went off. My plans for the morning were scrapped, so I decided to do some housework.  My normal tolerance for housework is about 20 minutes - it's one of the few things which bores me. I managed 1 hour and 40 minutes before I was starting to twitch, then decided I would have a bath with the remaining hot water.  As I lay there, I thought about my use of electricity and what the lack of it would mean.  No ovens.  I would be able to use the gas hob, but would need to light it with a match. No heating, as the boiler relies on electricity for the controller. It was a grey day, but I would have to make do with natural light, so no beading or anything which requires good light.  The washing would have to wait.  Keep the fridge closed to keep the cold in.  The freezer is in an outhouse, so at least it's cool.  No computer.  My phone had just run out of charge, but charging would have to wait. The land line has a sort of roaming handset and that wasn't working either.  No sewing machine.  No TV, DVD, CD or radio. IPod possible, until it runs out of charge. I decided to do more cleaning, then remembered - no vacuum cleaner.  No more hot water, unless I boil a kettle.
The power came back on promptly and I was happy to be able to switch a light on, get the heating and hot water on, put some washing on and make a phone call.
All this started me thinking about the other things we take for granted, like health care. One of my friends is in hospital at the moment, having been suffering from a low grade fever and worsening left side visceral pain for 5 weeks or so now.  She's had a couple of scans and tests which found nothing much, antibiotics and increasingly strong painkillers which only serve to take the edge off the pain. She's been on 3 different wards in as many days. By the time I publish this, she will probably have been sent home, with no diagnosis and no treatment plan beyond having her in for another test as an outpatient at some time yet to be determined.  She is climbing the walls with pain and frustration.
Even if we don't take our health for granted, we do expect that when something is wrong, it can be found and fixed (or at least, treated). Too often, it seems that there is not necessarily the money, expertise or technology available actually to address the problem in a timely manner.  It's wonderful to have a national health service, but it's staffed by people who are well trained, horribly overworked and only human. The best you can hope for is that they will treat you the way that they would like to be treated, if they were the patient.
In my (thankfully limited) experience, that's not something you should take for granted.
With healing thoughts to all. Goodnight!

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