Reading Hestia' s Larder, with Ali's very funny account of her time spent in the clutches of the NHS getting bits removed/fixed reminds me of many encounters I've had with the NHS.
I think I was about 3 years old, and my Mum took me to Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow to get a Polio vaccination. The vaccine had been introduced quite recently, and the government was having a huge drive to get all children in the country immunised before another Polio epidemic struck. I can only remember a few images, almost like a bad PowerPoint presentation.
Walking up the long driveway.
Waiting in a huge room,filled with children and their Mums (Dads were off working, almost universally)
Getting chocolate as a bribe to keep quite, and not to let us down.
Getting the bribe-chocolate residue wiped off with my Mum's handkerchief, which had some of her spittle added as a supposed cleaning agent. (I can still smell the strange combination of lipstick and saliva.)
Going into a small room where the actual injections took place.
Seeing the size of the f*cking needles they were going to use on me. (In those days, the syringes were glass and steel. All of the needles were cleaned, sterilised and re-used, so they were a lot bigger than the disposable type used today.)
Shrieking, kicking punching everything in sight, anything to make them stop. (What sort of vicious twisted sadistic bastard was going to stick sharp things into me?)
A large Irish nurse apparently. She growled in my ear as I tried to fight her and my Mum;
"If you rip my new stockings you wee bastard, I'll rip of your head"
I froze as a rabbit seeing a ferret.
The injection was done, and then we were off, but it taught me an important personal lesson.
There's no point in going through life afraid of something, because there's always going to be something else that frightens you more.
Contunued in the next exciting installment. Mononucleosis and the Sterling 9mm sub-machine gun