The fabulous NHS—and my fabulous Dad

At 0725 on Thursday 26 August, my Mum called.  My Dad had been admitted to hospital the previous evening after complaining of  a tight chest to his doctor.  This after a heart attack in 2000, and two bouts of angioplasty in 2002 and 2005, if memory serves me.  This time, the doctor allowed him to go home to pick up some essentials before being admitted to Calderdale Royal Hospital that evening.  He was to await a bypass operation at Leeds General Infirmary.

He was waiting for some time.  First of all, the guy best placed to interpret the scans was away at a conference in Scandinavia.  By the time he got back, the surgeon that was lined up, Dr Ramanpillai Nair, was ready to set off on his holidays.  Each excuse understandable; each equally frustrating.

On 20 September, he was transferred to Leeds.  And at around 0800 on the morning of 22 September, he went under the knife for a triple bypass, in the hope that Dr. Nair was fully refreshed from his holiday.

I saw him the following day.  I couldn’t hug him because he was hooked up to all sorts of drugs, drips, drains and the like.  The upward handshake wasn’t enough for me, but it would have to do.  He was weak and groggy, but considering what he’d been through, he was in good form.  He was sitting up in a chair for God’s sake, not 24 hours after the five-hour operation during which his heart had been stopped.

The following Wednesday, he was released from hospital to stay with his sister for a week—I am extremely grateful to her for putting him up, and indeed putting up with him, during that time.  And the following Wednesday, he went home to carry on with his life, subject to certain constraints imposed by Dr. Nair.  (His not being allowed to drive was the most frustrating, by all accounts.)

On 8 November, Dr. Nair signed him off.  No conditions, no stipulations.  Just an order to carry on where he left off 74 days earlier.

All of this was done through the National Health Service, to whom I am eternally indebted.  His care at Calderdale Royal seemed to be good.  And his care during the critical time at Leeds General was exemplary.  I forget the name of the nurse who was on duty when I saw him the day after his op.  But she was fabulous—caring, professional, joking, diligent.  And although I never met him, Dr. Nair himself seems like he rocked a proverbial phat one on 22 September.

The National Health Service is a truly fabulous organisation.  My Dad is one of the most loving, caring and giving people I’ve ever known—bias notwithstanding.  And the NHS has kept him going.  For that, I am thankful more than you can imagine.

I love you, Dad. x


3 Responses to “The fabulous NHS—and my fabulous Dad”

  1. Simon on November 14th, 2010 00:18

    Glad to hear it young man.

    Our experience more mixed, but the good definitely outweighed the bad.


  2. Peter on November 14th, 2010 00:25

    So pleased for you, Danny. It can’t be easy for any of you but whatever you go through it’s got to be good to know a) what you think about your father, b) that you understand what your father means to you and c) that you’re all working towards the same aim and that you appreciate what others are doing for you.
    Biased or unbiased, I hope that you have so much more time together to enjoy this “understanding” with your family and your father, even if it feels slightly embarrassing or uncomfortable. The very best wishes to you and yours.

  3. peter harrison on September 22nd, 2015 21:45

    Not sure who you are talking about but he seems a mighty fine fellow. One day, I may meet him! Thought it was 24 September but, naturally, I defer to the penultimate junior of the tribe (which makes him sound MUCH younger than he is). The subject was climbing a mountain in the Yorkshire Dales on Sunday and working out at the gym today so the Dr Nairs of this world are truly amazing people. Take care Dan Harrison. Love you loads. Dad x

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