Monday, 26th October, 2020

[Day 224]

Today was quite an unusual and atypical kind of day. Firstly, my car needed to go into the garage to get its MOT done before we trade it in within about twelve days. These days, the garages offer the most civilised of services. Instead of driving to the garage, the garage staff will come out to you in a car that you can utilise for the rest of the day. When your own is handed over to them, all the touchable surfaces are disinfected (keys, steering wheel etc) by staff who are all masked and helmeted before the car is handed over. Presumably the procedure is reversed at the end of the day when you got your own car back again but in our case the procedure was going to be delayed for a day whilst the garage’s MOT machine was being repaired) I checked with the garage that all would be well when we pick up our new car in twelve days time and I was reassured that all would be well, and we arranged a ‘pick up’ time for a week on Friday. This week, as it happens, will be our last biggish trip in our present car as we are due to meet some friends outside the National History Museum in Oxford where we are going to visit and then go off afterwards for a meal.

The next rather strange event was a phone call (pre-arranged) from one of the GP’s in our local practice. I had received the results of a CT scan which I had undertaken some ten days before and whilst my consultant (cancer) surgeon said there was no indication of any recurrence of bowel cancer the CT scan had raised an issue for me to discuss my GP. The GP seemed to be floundering about a little and I gained the impression that she was at a bit of a loss to know how to proceed. Eventually, we agreed a course of action which will involve referral to another consultant. I also asked her to recommend a course of physiotherapy for a finger which is troubling me and was informed that all of the physiotherapy procedures were now being conducted by an organisation called ‘Physiotherapy First‘ or something similar. I was given a telephone number to ring which, as it happened, was the physiotherapy centre next to the GP practice where I undertake my weekly Pilates. Having established I was an NHS referral, I then got an assessment interview for later on in the afternoon, which I gladly accepted. As it happened, the physiotherapist and I knew each other by sight both having been at the practice for about eight years. I had my assessment consultation today but any therapeutic sessions will take weeks to come through (but at least I am ‘plugged into’ the system) To complete my ‘medical type of day’ I had also requested a routine monitoring blood-test and this was arranged eventually (but it took half-an-hour in a telephone queue to get this booked) Whilst I am not complaining about the service I have received from the NHS, my experiences today have highlighted both the fragmentary nature of the current NHS with linkages that do not always work, as well as a system under pressure.

Channel 4 News tonight had quite an interesting revelation in a ‘Vox Pop‘ kind of interview with electors in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania (a traditional coal-mining state which Trump just managed to win last time on the promise of regenerating the coal industry!) The ‘Vox Pop‘ indicated that the ardent Trump supporters were convinced that COVID-19 either does not exist or is being grossly exaggerated for the purpose of robbing Americans of their traditional freedoms (i.e. to NOT wear face masks!) and is being used by the Democrats as just an electoral ploy to’steal’ the election which is rightly theirs by playing on people’s fears. I wonder how the state of Pennsylvania will actually go (Biden is narrowly ahead in the opinion polls) and what people will say on the after the polls are declared if Trump does lose Pennsylvania. Incidentally, the sight of so many ardent Trump supported displaying huge amounts of weaponry is undoubtedly unsettling if the election to be decided in Biden’s favour by a very slim majority.

Meanwhile, back in the realm of domestic politics,Boris Johnson is still refusing his policy of not extending free school meals to certain children over the half term period. He continues to say the the existing policy will not change whilst arguing that ‘no child will go hungry’ The government seem to appreciate that allowing children in a rich country to go hungry (at a cost of £21 million per week) whilst billions are spent elsewhere does not make for good politics, or headlines. I suspect that it is only a matter of a few days before there has to be a humiliating climb down but we shall have to wait and see!