‘No Good Deed Goes Unpunished’

‘No good deed goes unpunished’ was my unexpected and unwanted life lesson of the bank holiday. It’s certainly all too true as aphorisms go and I had it in spades yesterday afternoon as my regular walk home from the local offy became anything but, as it all went Pete Tong in the most absurd fashion.

Out of the blue a couple of the local urchins who are a perennial presence around the place stopped me and asked for some help with their mini moped as the starter didn’t seem to be working properly. So even though I know I’m no kind of petrol head and pretty hopeless generally at anything practical like that, I thought for something as simple and straightforward as yanking a starter pull, just being a grown up should give me an advantage over pre-adolescent kids so it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge even for me. How sadly mistaken I was! I had a couple of goes on the pull cord which I realised wasn’t running smoothly at all and in my professional opinion seemed pretty well buggered. Meanwhile, the kids were already having a go at me to ‘pull it harder!’ and ‘keep trying’ but I realised straightaway (if you’ll pardon the pun) it was a non starter and I should cut my losses and try and leave with some dignity while I still could.

Had I merely ended up unable to start the damn thing, that would have been embarassing enough in front of the kids from the estate next door who I see all the time but then even worse realised I’d lacerated the inside of my finger on the sodding wire cable and blood was gushing. Hurrying home feeling kind of mortified as the kids shouted at me ‘had I cut myself?’ as they could obviously seem the trail of drops of blood that despite my best efforts to staunch the flow was spilling from my clutched hand. Not surprisingly I was quite shaken up by the whole business and trying not to lose or spill too much blood in the process, when I was able to inspect the wound saw how bad it was. It was not a pretty site. So I called NHSDirect and they said I should get to A&E pronto, which I was really hoping to avoid. So my afternoon and evening did not go as planned, spending most it at the Whittington Casualty Dept.

Anyway after being seen by about six different people in the course of two hours including two receptionists, a triage nurse, a doctor who referred me to one of his nurses who because he hadn’t have signed authorisation from the doctor for his oral instructions for dispensing medication, then had to consult back with the doctor yet again. But then my original nurse had gone off to do something else. Thankfully this time there was another nurse around who the doctor got to finally give me a shot. But even for this basic treatment it must have taken her a good ten minutes from her receiving the instructions to do whatever she had to do before being able to give me a simple shot.

I must have spent about an hour pacing up and down in the treatment room where there wasn’t even a chair. Just a rather uncomfortable PVC covered, foam padded treatment couch that I don’t actually fit on stretched out if I lie down and isn’t even much good for sitting on for any length of time, except for a bird-like temporary perch on the edge, as that sort of position can’t do your posture any good either. I mean it is a hospital where it often seems it’s been forgotten that you’re there to actually get better than you were. So many scandals. MRSA, murderous charge nurses or GPs, sexual predatory gynaecologists etc. etc… The list goes on.

So in the end I had the wound glued up and bandaged and got my tetanus shot and trundled off home feeling that my day had taken a definite turn for the crappy. Anyway, no permanent damage, just an ugly flesh wound. Though my finger’s got to stay as it was at the time of my misfortune so it will be all claw like for the next couple of days so as to give the wound a chance to close up and heal. It makes me think I had a lucky escape though as if my fingers hadn’t been clenched pretty tight with a nice thick fleshy pad to protect all the important bits, if I’d cut myself as deep I could have been looking at something a lot worse- ligaments, tendons, nerves and all the other bits and pieces. Some political thoughts to follow…

God I hate hospitals. If I was mildly annoyed at my stupidity for cutting myself, I was fuming after dealing with NHS Casualty. If there were widespread private walk in clinics offering emergency medicine I would gladly pay. I just don’t understand their general ineptitude and how inefficiently so much of the NHS is run. I mean it’s clearly within the realms of possibility as look at dentistry where most practices offer private and NHS treatment and while there may be nominal fees payable, at least on the whole you’re dealt with in a reasonably competent fashion so it doesn’t take up your entire day just dealing with the vagaries of the appointment system. Any economist could tell you how if a service is free at the point of use, you’re obviously going to have almost unlimited demand so after a lifetime of experience of dealing with all manner of different healthcare providers, something has to be done about the NHS. Throwing money at the problem, ultimately only has a limited impact on improving the quality of healthcare provision (I hardly need mention the USA so why not confront the sacred cow and tentatively introduce a contributory charging policy for certain treatments. We pay now as a matter of course for dentists, opticians and all kinds of other treatments so why does there remain this entrenched opposition. I’m sure there was equally vehement opposition when they reformed dentistry and opticians etc. but the political masters actually had the balls to take a stand. Love her or loathe her, Thatcher was probably a once in a life time occurrence. And maybe even she bottled out with those parts of the NHS… Oh dear!

In the meantime, there’s a local outroar at the moment as the NHS powers that be want to close the whole hospital which not surprisingly is not going down too well. I remember it was bad enough back in the 80s when Thatcher and her cronies included shutting loads of A&Es and even back then that was one of their least popular of a long list of unpopular policies. It looks like literally everyone at the Whittington are doing what they can as they’re trying to find £14.5 million worth of efficiency improvements in house but have only managed to raise £9 million so far. They’ve even got flyers up offering £100 M&S gift vouchers to anyone who comes up with a good idea. I guess that would certainly help try and justify a stay of execution to the bean counters at the NHS Trust. In theory, I can’t believe that should be too hard judging by the ridiculous amount of bureucracy I’ve seen there even at the front line of health care provision. Sadly in practice, things are never that simple as it’s hard enough to change working practices in any organisation, let alone a lumbering juggernaut of a supertanker that is the NHS.

Anyway enough of my pontificating. Congratulations if you made it through all my verbal incontinence. Definitely needed to get it off my chest as I was feeling really stressed out by the whole mallarkey. Thanks for reading. Bye for now…