For anyone who has even noticed that I have not posted to my blog for a while this is due to ill health. I have been unwell for some months and on 1 October was admitted to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital with a variety of problems. These included an irregular heart beat, water retention, kidney problems, an infected foot ulcer, water on my lungs and overwhelming back and leg pains whenever I walked or stood for any length of time. I was in hospital for over three weeks, getting discharged on Thursday with some of the issues resolved and others ongoing as an outpatient.
This was my fourth period as inpatient in the last year-and-a-half, during which I have been in with pneumonia, a heart attack, and to have a fistula created in my arm in anticipation of beginning renal dialysis. I thought, with the amount of treatment I was receiving this month in the Royal it would damage my kidneys further and require me to start dialysis. However, my kidneys have remained stable and at present dialysis is still on hold. This is good, of course, as regular dialysis is a major and permanent disruption to day-to-day life and will require three dialysis sessions a week at the Royal and possible Broadgreen Hospital, also in Liverpool, with each session (including travel) lasting around 5 and a half hours.
Photo: The Royal Liverpool University Hospital
My latest health problems, and in particular the pain in the back and legs has left me physically unable to do a great deal. Walking just a few yards leaves me breathless, in severe pain and literally unable to continue walking. These problems continue even after my stay in the Royal and have left me partially homebound. I rarely have the energy or stamina to leave the house and have taken to shopping online and getting taxis to and from hospital and clinic appointments. My doctors at the Royal seemed to think that the exhaustion and pain would ease with time after my heart problem and water retention was dealt with. So far it hasn’t.
Photo: The new Royal, which was meant to be completed by 2017. However, it’s construction contractor went broke and construction has halted. A new firm will be appointed but completion is now not expected until 2019 or even 2020.
Sitting down for long periods can also be a problem, causing stiffness in the legs and pain when I stand up. As a result I have been using my laptop much less than I would normally do, and this includes blogging less. I posted a short blog linking to the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool on 26 September, but my last proper blog entry was about Bill Cosby being sentenced, which I posted on 25 September. Before that I hadn’t posted since the 5 September, except for two short blog entries linking to news articles and videos.
My inability to get out-and-about has also had a major effect on my YouTube channel with the number of posts down dramatically. Most notably I have not been able to record the visits of cruise ships to the city, with just one such blog back in April. The cruise ship season ends this month. I have also missed Liverpool Pride, Manchester Pride and Chester Pride, although I have posted videos of online photos from Manchester and Liverpool Prides.
I really can’t say when my strength will return – if at all. I am working on the probability that things are not going to improve any time soon and have been making adjustments to cater for that. However, losing the ability at the moment to record videos around Merseyside and to work on my blog as much as I would like are proving two difficult losses to deal with. Nevertheless there will still be posts on both my blog and YouTube channel as and when I can. For the foreseeable future, however, they will be dramatically down in number than previously you would have seen.
As always when in hospital, I would like to thank all the staff from the doctors and nurses to the porters, cleaners and catering staff. The NHS is under-funded and overstretched but the hundreds of thousands of people who work for it continue to show their dedication and care for their work and their patients. In particular, for this stay, I’d like to thank those working in the AMU (3b / heart) and 3a, where I spent most of my three weeks.
On a final note, the NHS – or National Health Service – was created 70 years ago this year by the post-war Labour government of Clement Attlee. Despite attacks on its funding and creeping privatisation of services within the NHS, the NHS has survived to this day as an example to the world of free-at-the-point universal healthcare. It of course has its problems, such as underfunding, shortage of nurses, the restriction of certain highly-expensive medications and treatments, and waiting lists, but the British public to a huge extent support and love the NHS. They have demonstrated this repeatedly with protests against degrading the principles of the universal and tax-funded service that famously offers healthcare from cradle to grave with the vast majority of users never paying a penny in up-front costs for their entire lives. The NHS is funded through general taxation and provides healthcare as and when it is needed and on a basis of what care is required to everyone in the country. Unlike, say in the United States, no-one goes bankrupt for want of a doctor, and no-one is denied care for want of insurance.
By the way America, who so decry systems such as the NHS, we created the NHS in the late 1940s when Britain was virtually bankrupt – and did so on the principal that the British had fought a War that you decided to join two years after it began and that after defeating fascism the British people deserved universal healthcare to rid the country of the scourge of many diseases, reduced the effects of poverty and the horrors of private healthcare. You should also know that we used money from the Marshall Plan generously loaned to the devastated European nations, including Britain – but only when you realised that bankrupt European populations could turn to Communism. The irony is a delight that a healthcare system many Americans called Communist or Socialism was built using money to defeat the spread of Communism and Socialism. It is also, however, truly depressing to see that 70 years later the United States still has no universal healthcare of its own. We we able to build the NHS while bankrupt, yet you can’t agree on a workable universal healthcare system when you are the richest country in the world!
USA – Greatest country in the world? Is it fuck.