Those of you who're gripped by my every utterance on Facebook will know that my Joey has epilepsy. You may even remember our trips to various hospitals over Christmas. Well, we're in Norfolk right now for half term and have had another adventure today.
I gave him his usual drugs at 7 this morning and it was immediately clear that they weren't really working. And so G and I decided to give him the first dose of his emergency medication. He eventually came round (stopped seizing) and all seemed good. But then at about 11 this morning, he started again and it wouldn't go away, and so, after some agonising debate, we gave him the second dose of the strong stuff and - as instructed - called for an ambulance.
Please understand why this is something we really didn't want to do. The idea of spending all Saturday in A&E in King's Lynn isn't our idea of fun, especially if the epilepsy had cleared and he was just being monitored. But we did it because that's the protocol and we know that you can't fuck with epilepsy. But, inevitably, by the time the ambulance arrived (North Norfolk is a big place), Joey was giggling and smiling and back to normal. The brilliant team took all the usual measurements (blood pressure, heart rate etc) and, after a careful discussion, headed off without him. And since then everything's been fine (touch wood, God knows what tomorrow will bring).
But what struck me, as ever, was this: imagine if our decision had been affected by cost. I'm feeling broke at the moment and imagine if I'd had to stump up £1000. It's all too easy to say that Joey is my responsibility and so I should carry the cost (or insure against such eventuality). But although I'm pretty seasoned at dealing with Joey's epilepsy, I'm no neurologist or paramedic. We took the decision to call the ambulance to be on the safe side, and I know that we were right. But if it was going to cost a ton of money, we might well have gone without. And that could have had the most serious consequences imaginable.
So I think we'd better keep the NHS free at the point of delivery, hadn't we? We all need it like that.