Tuesday, 9 June 2009

D-Day 65 years on some thoughts and observations

65 years ago this weekend just gone, the United Kingdom, the USA and Allied nations launched the largest maritime invasion in history.

It had profound implications on the European nations and only in the last couple of decades has the freedom that was hoped for by so many of different nations been achieved from both Nazi and subsequent Communist rule been achieved (unless you work in the NHS where both political schemes - mostly the later - are still present via NHS Management).

The generation that invaded the Normandy beaches here in the UK and all their back up workers in the ammunition factories, railways etc all hoped for a better future. Here in the UK rationing continued for years after the war until 1954 and memories of our grandparents telling of how children used to say “Give us some gum chum!” to American soldiers in the hope of getting some chocolate or chewing gum or, how our grandfathers used to go round the sergeants’ mess after food to collect the scraps of sugar and butter to get enough to make our parents a birthday cake, still ring in our ears when we walk round supermarkets and the glut of food that is there now.

One of our observations over the years has been that some of the biggest abusers of healthcare are the generation that fought in the Second World War. You would have thought that those for whom medicine was only available at a price would value and not abuse the NHS. But for some reason some of them do not value it. Admittedly they are older than they were when they fought but that does not excuse all of them.

Examples we can think of are a former soldier who had been forced to march hundreds of miles as a German POW demanding a home visit for that most urgent of medical conditions a scalp condition. When we arrived he was getting out of a car. When asked where he had been “He said to the club for a game of snooker as I do every lunchtime.” He was in remarkably good health.

Another couple we recall were Polish. The wife had survived Auschwitz. Her husband was captured by the Germans, escaped to England and joined the Parachute regiment and survived both D-Day and Arnhem. You would have thought that given their collective survivability they would have avoided doctors like the plague. They did not. They were weekly visitors with mind numbing trivia that could never be cured.

We at ND cannot understand how people who have survived so much and lived so long abuse the NHS that was not there when they fought a far more immediate cause of death than a sore throat or a worry re things that are not there.

We also recall the dignity of a World War 1 veteran who we saw when doing locum work whom we subsequently saw again after the French were awarding Legion d’Honneur medals to surviving UK First World War veterans. We remember asking him if he had had his? He said “Thank you for asking doctor but I received it from the French ambassador” and were amazed at how many people had asked him the same question.

A veteran, to whom the doctor was the pain, as opposed to the veterans who are sometimes pains to the doctor.

If is always difficult to relate to others’ experience and most of us rely on our own kin to tell us their experiences of the past unless one is an avid reader of history which is usually written by the victors.

This weekend just gone was 65 years after D-Day. Anyone can debate its merits or demerits. The ones we remember are the quiet veterans who will tell their tales if prompted or discovered by accident.

One example was when we went and told someone he had a lung cancer replied mysteriously "It don't mean a thing, Doc, if you don't pull the string."

We asked him what he meant. He had been in bomber command throughout the war and had flown every mission without a parachute and decided he would face his cancer in the same way. He had nothing to lose in either case other than his life. Unfortunately his last battle was alot shorter than his wartime service.

Another example being, when someone mentioned being a patient in a certain military hospital for 6 months. What are the chances of 2 people being in the same hospital for the same length of time separated by 2 generations and in the same service?

Praise be to the Party for allowing us all to be represented at such an important event. The Party too remembers the Gurkhas but only with some difficulty.

Curious how the Public remember history differently?

Perhaps, because some of them were there? Unlike the politicians.

1 comment:

David said...

We always use to prefer a experienced Doctor.Nice post.Medical Locum Work