Some of you will know that I have been ill which is the reason I am citing for my lack of blog posting recently. A couple of weeks ago I had another small heart attack though the term small is academic. In fact each such episode (sounds better) causes irreparable damage. My first episode was in Newquay, Cornwall many years ago. I shrugged it off and went surfing with my son Luke on the following day.
On November 14th In 1999 I had another episode. This was serious and I went to The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where I was very well looked after. I left after five days and later I had a stent placed in an artery to increase blood flow. Now I have two of them. Almost the full set as there are three arteries. Please don’t take my tone to be flippant. I take this seriously and don’t want to repeat the experience ever again but I won’t be morbidly dour about it.
The reason I write this today is partly due to the ongoing debate around the efficacy and validity of The National Health Service that battles on against all odds and vehement criticism, some of which is obviously well founded.
The last time I was in The Chelsea and Westminster hospital I was there five days followed by a rehab course for one day a week for twelve weeks. This got me back in some sort of viable shape.
My stay at The C and W was sublime. I could easily have stayed there for longer. This time it was not the same. It was only when I asked the ambulance guys who came to take me from the C and W to the Royal Brompton for my stent procedure that I realised I was actually in the same ward as I was in 1999. The difference was, to say the least, extraordinary. The whole place was filled with noise day and night and staff worked round the clock as though it was day time. Last time I could rest and sleep more or less when I liked except for the early morning breakfast which is a completely foreign concept to me. I realise this is not so for the average patient who does not keep the rock n roll hours that I do.
Through the noisy chaos a team of seemingly very young nurses and doctors worked with all the dedication and expertise one would hope for. The nurses who looked after me very well seemed to be around fourteen. Some thing I get used to as I get older, as the young inherit the earth and all it’s problems, medical and otherwise. I cannot complain about the service and care I received. It was perfectly adequate and better than one often hears about these days. There were folk who were much worse off than me and I watched as they were dealt with on an individual basis affording dignity to their situations.
I am happy to tell you I am well if a little chastened by the experience. I no longer smoke tobacco and I am beginning to readjust my life style towards a healthier regime. I am grateful to all of the people who have cared for me and about me and I have made solemn promises not to let them down or to invalidate the sterling work carried out to keep me breathing. Like most of you I have heard about shocking negligence and mal practise in the NHS but I can only speak from personal experience when I tell you, it is all working very well in some places. I am aware of what is called the post code lottery and all of the variables this seems to bring to an otherwise truly wonderful institution. A couple of days ago I was offered a sixteen week rehab course which I will attend. So top quality service for yours truly from the NHS.
I was supposed to fly to Norway for a Fair days Pay gig but the airlines stipulate a four week gap between surgery and flying. So I am sorry for Gry and all his people who had arranged the gig. I will go there when another date can be arranged. I did manage to play at a 60th birthday bash for Nigel Cross an old friend of the EBB. This took place on the Sunday after I left hospital on the Tuesday. It was held in an upstairs room of a lovely old pub in south London not far from Vauxhall which is also near where I live. The gig was just what I needed and it was lovely to meet up with Pete Frame old campaigner and founder of the magazine ZIG ZAG. John Hurford ( psychedelic artist) who I haven’t seen for many years was also there. He designed the poster for Nigel’ gig. I also met the grandson of the elderly couple on the EBB Inside Out sleeve. Now they are Mr and Mrs Bennett not some anonymous couple which is a nice thought.
Looks like summer is slowly shaping up so why not book me for your own Fair Days Pay For A Fair days Work gig. There are some dates left so now is the time to book one of the summer weekend dates.