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My Resolution for 2013 is very simple; I will not break any bones this year. I have extended this to include my son, so he has a Resolution by proxy. In 2012 we managed between us to clock up an elbow and a wrist. The elbow was mine and, I suggest, rather more major although as he is a double bass player you could say that in his particular case a broken wrist is rather worse, as far as inconvenience goes. We both fell foul of the NHS in our various ways. I was forgotten on the ward while the theatre staff happily packed up and went home; this despite the fact that dislocated and broken elbows need prompt treatment to prevent serious complications. I have at my disposal, however, an opposable thumb, which I used to good effect on the buzzer at ten minute intervals until they got so fed up with me they called the staff back in and sorted my elbow out. My treatment after that was exemplary and I would like to think that that had nothing to do with the fact that I had established myself as someone who would scream the place down if things went wrong. In fact, I would love to think that everyone had perfect treatment from the NHS …..

Sorry, dropped off for a minute there, into a little daydream. Where was I? Oh, yes, NHS. Well, months later and miles away my gorgeous son leapt over a fence, only to find that it was much further down on the other side than he was expecting, so he fell awkwardly and cracked a bone in his wrist. After the usual million year wait in A&E he was given a backslab by a very understanding nurse who knew exactly what musicians were like, so she left his fingers free and did her very best. She said he should visit a fracture clinic near to where he lived in one week. So, the hours on the phone began … and finally, he got an appointment, but the next one was in three weeks. So, in three weeks he presented himself and his by now rather grubby plaster and bandage at the fracture clinic, to be roundly told off for not being there two weeks before. But … splutter … Happily, he has inherited my metaphorical buzzer thumb, so he got excellent treatment and again, all was well.

But the point of this blog really is this. What about all of those people who don’t have buzzer thumbs and the confidence to stand up in the face of jobsworth professionals who don’t really care about your elbow, wrist, leg, liver or whathaveyou. I won’t go in to the treatment my brother got two years ago, when, dying of cancer, he was bluntly told the news when on his own, shocked and frightened, by a doctor with the bedside manner of Josef Mengele. I won’t even discuss the nurse who told someone very dear to me that the burns to his hands would incapacitate him for the rest of his life and stop him ever playing an instrument again. My brother lived two more weeks and if I never see another person so afraid again, I will consider myself fortunate. The hands have healed up very nicely, thank you, but the fact that their owner is still here and not under a train is no thanks to the member of the ‘caring profession’ who took it upon herself to make up the worst case scenario – if she was having a bad day, tough. I was in a medical profession for almost thirty years and when someone had bad news I probably cried as much as they did – afterwards. Let’s put the care into the caring professions and let’s put the ‘professional’ back as well.

Perhaps I should have said – my other New Year Resolution was that I wouldn’t rant. But surely, one resolution kept out of two isn’t bad!



2013 looks like being the year of technology – if you can tell who is teaching who in this picture, well done, you! My previous blogs (to be migrated here shortly) were all a bit whingey and don’t worry, chaps, whinge will soon be back on the menu. I just thought that a nice positive post to begin the year might lull you all into a false sense of security and then I can hit you with a rant in a day or two. Until then, enjoy the last Bank Holiday until Easter!Image