The road to recovery: What happens to people who don’t have the same support?
I’ve not written this blog for a while, principally because I’ve recovered sufficient fitness to return to my day job.
Being a full time financial journalist at a time of global financial turmoil would be exhausting enough were I not taking a pharmacological soup of different nuclear strength drugs to fend off the pain I still have to live with.
I also have the small matter of two utterly delightful, but also demanding and energetic, small children to deal with.
Still, what is pleasing is that even though it is now more than a year since I was stuck under the wheels of an oil tanker, my strength has continued to recover. Enough so that I can now write this blog again, on top of everything else.
What has struck me about the last year is just how astonishingly good some of the care since I’ve been out of hospital has been. We’re not really accustomed to saying much good about the public services in this country, but they can be really rather impressive if you think about it. They have been in my case.
From the inspirational physiotherapists who have and still are helping me to recover my movement, to the doctors and surgeons who have kept an eye on my progress, to the occupational therapist who made sure my house was adapted to enable me to work more or less full time.
But please don’t turn off just yet. This is not, by any means, a eulogy. The professionals I have been seeing might have been brilliant. Accessing their services, that’s another matter. It has required sharp elbows, some harsh words, and a lot of support. I’ve been lucky. I’ve had a family around me who have been willing and able to take up the cudgels on my behalf. And cudgels are what have often been needed.
Getting past first base, past the people who control access to the professionals, has often been a long, and debilitating, struggle one just as difficult as having several tonnes of tanker resting on your ribs.
The public services are populated by a vast corps of Douglas Adams’ Vogons, which he described as “bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous”. People who “wouldn’t even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters”.
To be fair, they haven’t all been like this. Some of them have been quite nice. Some. But there are others, who… Well, comparing them to vogons is a little unfair on the grey-green misery guts of Adams’ universe.
What constantly makes me shudder is this: What would have happened to me if I didn’t have people around me like my wife, my mother, my brother – people who are up for a fight and willing to assist me in one?
What happens to people in my situation who don’t have that? People who suffer accidents like mine, but who don’t get the after care. Or troops who return with similar injuries from the various theatres of conflict they have been sent to by politicians only to find themselves the victims of bureuacracies overseen by the colleagues of those politicians when they hit civvy street.
I sometimes feel that people in my position could do with is a despachante, the Brazilian “professional” whose job it is to work their way around that country’s confusing bureuacracy for people wanting to do business there.
But even they might baulk at some of the behaviour we’ve occasionally had to deal with.
It is a sad fact that in the debate over public services and public finances what never comes up is this question: how can we make what we have better with the resources that are there? Or at least easier for people to deal with. That’s a shame really.
You’d think there ought to be a vote or two in it somewhere.Tagged in: disability, health, nhs, recovery, rehabilitation, road traffic accident, RTA
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