I have just been down to the Medical Centre for my Covid and Flu jabs. My son took me down - only a five minute drive from home - my appointment was for 12,10. He collected me from home at five minutes to twelve and I was back home done and dusted by 12.10. Hardly felt a thing. I had the jabs simultaneously - Covid right arm, flu left arm. (Last time I had Shingles within ten days of having my Covid jab - there is evidence which suggests that a certain proportion of folk will get shingles after the Covid jab) so I decided to have the covid jab in my right arm as Shingles affected my left side.)
I told the nurse giving me the Covid one how I didn't I really feel the needle break the skin and she said that the covid needle is extra slim.
Having a time to arrive makes everything work like clockwork. It used to be that the surgery opened at 8.30am and you just queued - sometimes for half an hour, then trecked through the building - Enter at A and Exit at B. Now just a steady stream by appointment - and no waiting at all - just straight in and out.
How lucky we are. People complain about our Medical Centre. Perhaps I have just been lucky but I have been going to the same medical practice for over thirty years and I don't have a single complaint. The doctors are all pleasant, caring and helpful. We have a succession of Junior Doctors passing through on their 6 month's attachment to General Practice and I have to say now I am almost housebound it is a special treat to have a handsome young man or a pretty young woman call in - like a breath of fresh air and the addition of a keenness and enthusiasm and without the slightly jaded attitude which inevitably tends to creep in with age in any profession.
My parents refused the Smallpox vaccination for me in childhood for some reason, and I was a child before the MMR vaccine was introduced (1988) so I had all three - Measles, Mumps and Rubella (German Measles), along with Chicken Pox and Whooping Cough. I missed Scarlet Fever although several friends had it. They were just the hazards of childhood.
But the real scourge that bedevilled the age in my childhood and adolescence was Tuberculosis. Almost every family in the Lincolnshire village where I grew up was affected by the disease. It was spoken of in hushed tones as "Consumption" and there is no doubt it was feared. The nearby village of Bracebridge Heath had a large Sanatorium and patients would be confined to bed undercover but out of doors during the Summer months.
Then in 1943 Streptomycin - one of the first antibiotics- was developed and almost overnight it became a treatable disease.
My mother's answer to illness was to feed the person up with what she called 'good, wholesome food'. And this she did with me. And I escaped it. Or did I?
When I had my medical examination on entering teaching the doctor asked me, "When did you have TB?" I replied that I had never had TB and he informed me that my lungs on the X-Ray were covered in 'TB Scars' - so perhaps the good food had helped after all.
But let's be clear about things. We in the Western World are incredibly lucky where illness is concerned. No trecking across hundreds of miles, a very sick baby on one's back in the desperate search for medical help. No awful tropical diseases - Malaria, Beri-beri, Cholera and the like (all of which appeared on the Medical Discharge certificate of my first husband, invalided out of the East Surreys after three years on The Death Railway). We bask, unworried, safe in the knowledge that most trips to the doctor are treatable.
Here's to the future when hopefully the same will be able to be said for MND, Cancer, Dementia, Parkinsons and the other scourges of our age.
So Good Health everyone and if you haven't already done so, please pop down to the Surgery or to the Pharmacy and get your Winter jabs. They don't always protect but they go a good way towards doing.
See you tomorrow.