It was the best of times and the worst.
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Call me Ishmael.
Some starting clichés.
It is Dicken’s that strikes a chord.
Yesterday, I was talking with a group working to improve the lives of people living with dementia.
I mentioned our Virtual Ward.
This, the provision of care that is as good (likely better) than hospital care, the difference being, this support is provided in a patient’s own home.
For those who have dementia (and their families and carers) this is a godsend.
For those affected, hospital is often the final common pathway to loss of ability, function, and independence.
Care at home, supported by family, overseen by specialists in the care of older people is the panacea.
Maybe I am over-egging.
For the average person who has Alzheimer’s or Vascular Dementia, hospital admission, no matter where, is frequently the start of the end.
Covid did away with the notion of dementia friendly hospitals – facemasks and infection control measures have taken-over.
(Yesterday, I asked an old woman what she wanted (admission to hospital or a return home.) The nearby paramedic was surprised, ‘She’s got dementia,’ he said too loudly. ‘I do not have dementia!’ Responded the woman.)
This is the good. (The Virtual)
It is, indeed, very good.
The best thing in a long time.
If you flip the coin, there is no portcullis, you reveal an institution in its death-throes.
Destroyed by those vouchsafed to protect it.
Yes, the NHS and the Tory.
Sure, the Tory has never liked the NHS, it is too leftie, too socialist, democratic, and yet, it is central to UK political debate; it is locked-in to our psyche.
And today, paramedics and ambulance drivers across the country are striking.
Earlier this week it was nurses.
The train drivers who help the nurses and paramedics get to work are striking too, as are the postal workers and teachers who sustain our society.
The fissures are becoming cracks.
The narrative hangs by a thread.
The media, lapdogs of big-business are wavering.
Unsure who to support.
Attack the nurses, paramedics (and shortly doctors) or prop-up the failing government. A party of shams and miscreants.
It is not a difficult calculus.
And yet, one keeps you fat, the other thin. (Financially speaking).
For most it is straightforward. For the oligarchs not.
Recently a paramedic described to me the futility of their role.
‘You wait outside the hospital for five hours, the patient is traumatised, you drop her off then set-off to pick up another old woman who has fallen.’
The cycle begins again.
It must feel like this for the nurses too.
You try to care for too many patients with too few staff, you go home and repeat.
Life expectancy in the UK is falling.
Admittedly it is falling faster the less you have in the bank.
We are the consumerist society that is a stronger opiate than religion.
We, that is you and me and everyone we know should be in the streets in protest.
Mass rallies should be everywhere.
Perhaps the futility of our previous actions has corrupted our DNA.
We, the mutant children of Bevan, of the Welfare State have failed to recognise the cancer.
I must be careful.
Too much negativity and readers will switch-off.
Perhaps that is behind the passivity.
We are either the caterpillar (consumerism) or the chrysalis (dormant, waiting).
Our wings are stiff. Bent out of shape, cramped from too much Netflix or Hooch.
Let us organise.
Let us come together and say, Enough is Enough.
We can’t wait two years for another election that will likely be gerrymandered by whomever will benefit financially.
There is a trope from the 1920’s of the little boy or girl asking their father, ‘Daddy, what did you do in the war?’
The same applies today.
Remember Harry Leslie Smith.
‘Daddy, what did you do when they were deconstructing the Welfare State? The NHS? Asylum? The right to protest or strike? The economy? The EU?’
Indeed, what did you do?