This blog post was originally typed on the Simple Solutions blog but I thought it was important enough to share with you on here.
You are probably looking at the first part of the title to today’s blog post and wondering how I dare to link two totally unconnected subjects??? Well, actually those subjects are more connected than you think. Not just because inadequate consumption of fruit and vegetables can land you in hospital either.
Apparently it is only the lazy people – or those with more money than sense – who buy pre-prepared vegetables??? Not forgetting those of us who don’t care about the environmental impact of the excessive packaging on the aforementioned items???
Well, if I was feeling uncharitable towards the able-bodied, non-visually-impaired, members of society, I could argue that the people who agree with that argument might have a point.
However, then I would be guilty of the same thing as them – a massive generalisation. You see there are some people for whom the act of preparing vegetables for consumption is either downright dangerous or physically impossible. (I fit into the category where it can be downright dangerous.). I am talking about people with limited function in their hands, people with poor sight, and other disabilities.
I prefer to do things for myself when I can. This includes cooking. Therefore, if given a choice between attempting to munch raw parsnips or finding a pre-prepared serving of parsnips which I can stick in the microwave and cook, I will go for the second option.
I have read somewhere about there being an issue of “privilege” coming into play on this subject. Sorry guys – it’s not “privilege”. What it is is a lack of education about how Disabled people can (and do) function reasonably well on our own if you give us the required help – as well as how that help can be seen as an unnecessary “luxury” – particularly when the “able-bodied” commandeer it for their own use.
What has all the above got to do with the NHS Crisis??? (Apart from the availability of pre-prepared vegetables ensuring I stay uninjured – or rather – uncut whilst cooking???)
There is an unspoken subject in the NHS Crisis which I think urgently needs to be addressed. And I was as culpable as anyone before I ended up in my current situation.
Did I bother my GP with inconsequential symptoms which I could have treated at home??? Nope.
Did I use the Ambulance service inappropriately for minor injuries??? Nope.
Did I clog up A&E as a result of a minor illness??? Nope.
In fact, my absolute hatred of hospitals and Medical Professionals – coupled with being told by the Mainstream Media (and the NHS themselves) only to use things like ambulances and A&E in an emergency – led me to leave seeking medical attention until it was almost too late to help me.
It is all very well to praise those of us who try our best not to put any pressure on the NHS with minor complaints, injuries, and illnesses. However, if we leave things to cure themselves we could actually cause more expense for the NHS when the opposite occurs and our health deteriorates drastically.
As with the pre-prepared vegetables – there needs to be a discussion about the appropriate use of NHS resources which includes those of us who don’t like bothering Medical Professionals even when we are literally dying on our feet, as well as the ones who treat the NHS as their personal slaves.
The funny thing is – I actually followed the advice I had been force-fed on the correct use of the NHS and ambulances. This meant that I didn’t dial 999 because I could walk far enough to get into a taxi. However, when I got a booklet about what to do with symptoms of “heart failure” when they go haywire, I learned that my exact level of breathless when I took myself to A&E would have made me a prime candidate for a journey on a small bed with blue flashing lights. The fact that I could walk was beside the point.
We need a proper discussion as to what exactly constitutes a medical emergency with parameters which are clearly understood by everyone. We also need to encourage the “properly poorly” to seek medical attention without feeling uncomfortable about wasting NHS resources.
The thing I find really annoying is – when certain diseases or illnesses become the focus of Media attention – the lists of symptoms sometimes include things I have had my entire life without becoming poorly as a result of them. Blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and spots in front of the eyes, are all apparently symptoms which should send me rushing to A&E??? Can someone please ask the Media to add the caveat “if you have never experienced them before” to their urging to seek medical attention???
In both the “pre-prepared vegetables” discussion and the “NHS Crisis” there is a lack of education about the hidden people which are affected by the arguments. Until all sides are included – and heard – we are never going to get a useful outcome to either debate.