I’ve been off work for three weeks. It feels like no time and lots of time. I have settled into to doing very little quite easily, I’m not bored but the passage of time seems at different times of the day to be fast and slow. Mornings are fast, evenings slow, a complete reversal of how time usually works. My foot is looking much better, the swelling has come right down and although I had a day when it was really painful, the pain is mostly manageable. Having said that I can’t put any kind of weight on it without the boot and it hurts when I wiggle my toes or stand on it for any length of time.
So this week I’m thankful for the things that allowed me to have the osteotomy and that give me space to recover. The NHS, seriously I love our socialist healthcare and I don’t care what other people say (Tories and Americans, I’m talking about you!) when it works it’s amazing. The other thing I’m grateful for is work, my company does do being good about sick leave and flexibility but I’m also grateful for the legislation that allows me to have leave.
So basically what I’m grateful for is living in a first world country. Where workers have rights and healthcare is something that we provide for everyone. These things are important, I’m going to leave with two quotes, both from Labour politicians, both part of the post war Labour govt (the one that created the NHS at a point wear the country was at as low a point as it could get because it helped win a war).
“Charity is a cold grey loveless thing. If a rich man wants to help the poor, he should pay his taxes gladly, not dole out money at a whim.” – Clem Attlee
“Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community” – Nye Bevan
We shouldn’t ever forget that so much of what we take for granted, right now I’m thinking about paid sick leave and free surgery. We moan about unions and taxes and the long wait at A&E but we don’t really think about what it would be like if we didn’t have them. I’ve been to a country that doesn’t have those things, I wasn’t there long but it’s scary.
And you know that doesn’t just apply to the NHS and sick leave, it’s education, roads, rubbish collections, housing, public transport, food safety, the police force, the legal system, child welfare, street lamps, health and safety, democracy. All of these things happen in my country because people fought for them. We take it for granted that they were always here, that we have these things because we are somehow superior to others in other places. We’re not, we were just lucky that enough people in our history stood up and demanded that things change and then got them changed.
I’m thankful for that.