Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thought for the Day

As delivered this morning at BBC Radio Bristol:

A Bristol GP recently told me he had never known a period so busy in his surgery. Not with any particular ailment. Just a lot of patients with different problems.

So we try to relieve pressure on our Health Service. Don't visit your doctor with a cold. Don't take bumps and bruises to Accident and Emergency if you're tipsy. Buy your own headache remedies.

Many of us see the doctor seeking reassurance - tell me this lump isn't cancerous - sort of thing.

Ambroise Paré in the sixteenth century said the physician's duty was 'to cure occasionally, relieve often, console always.'

So we might applaud local businesses coughing up cash for a Drink Tank - a place to keep inebriated people safe while nature takes its course. People who don't need a doctor; they need a sleep.

Jesus, amazingly, was quite short with the sick. He is reported as arguing with one Canaanite woman that he didn't heal outsiders. St Mark writes of an occasion when Jesus came down to a crowd of sick people at his door. His reply 'Let's go somewhere else'. He had something more important to do.

Our National Health Service has left us all feeling as if we ought to be well all the time.

I wish you the best of health in this week before Christmas. It's rubbish being ill at this time of year. But also a sober and realistic assessment of what it means to be well. I have known some very poorly people who simply didn't let their illness be the most important thing about them.

Health, someone once said, is what you have when you don't notice it.

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