The more observant amongst readers of my little blog will have noticed that I haven’t posted anything over the last few months. At least I hope you noticed …
2011 had not been the best of years for me. I won’t go into why: it’s a long story. Then in October I ended up in a Liverpool hospital for a few weeks with a bad case of pneumonia and several chest infections. My lungs were severely weakened to the point that I was intubated and on an intensive care ward for several days. But I lived to tell the tale – although a consultant did later tell me that my condition was “touch and go” at one point.
This was the first time that I had been an in patient in a British hospital since I had my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was five. I don’t remember much about that stay in Hairmyres some forty years ago, apart from that the ice cream after the operation was excellent.
I’ve always been a strong supporter of our National Health Service. It’s the single greatest achievement of the Labour Party in government. High quality health care on demand and free at the point of need is something that my generation has come to take for granted. But we are privileged to live in one of the very few countries to have such a wonderful system – and I will never tire of defending it.
Despite the cuts imposed by the current government, the creeping privatisation agenda that continues to threaten its very existence and the repeated reorganisations it has suffered from, the NHS is still a marvellous institution. It is there for all of us. There are no financial checks or expensive health insurance required. No danger of being refused treatment on economic grounds.
The staff at the Royal Liverpool Hospital who treated me were, quite simply, wonderful. Nothing was too much trouble for the nurses, many of whom routinely stayed on the ward long after their shifts were supposed to have finished. The commitment to patient care they displayed each and every day was inspiring. And their professionalism and compassion greatly assisted in the first phase of my recovery.
The second phase, now that I am out of hospital, has taken far longer, but I am finally getting back to somewhere near full fitness. Or at least as near to fit as I am likely to get.
So I will be glad to see the back of 2011.
Hopefully 2012 will prove to be a better year – although the whole concept of a new year is a somewhat curious one. It’s just a convention really to decide that one day in particular is the one where we will reset the calendar to 1/1 and start all over again. But it does offer a convenient point for reflection and to look both forward and backwards from.
I gave up making New Year’s resolutions a very long time ago. Most of them never see the end of January anyway so what’s the point? But I will be trying to get back into the habit of regular blogging, which some may see as a good thing.
So, see you all next year?
And whatever you are doing when midnight strikes wherever you might be, I hope you have a great time and that 2012 is a good year for us all.
A Happy New Year everyone!