I've had a pretty extensive experience with the NHS, as has the rest of my family. My twin sister and I were born 10 weeks prematurely and started using the service straight away - in incubators on the Intensive Care Unit. After being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, we spent hours learning to walk with the local Child Development Centre (and always loved going so we could devour pineapple juice and mini cheddars in abundance as a 'reward' for our efforts!) At the age of 9, I then had a series of operations to straighten my body, lengthen my tendons and twist my bones back into shape. It was really painful, but the flip side of the coin was we were never allowed a PlayStation at home, and now I could book one out every single day. Result!
What I'm trying to say is that some of the toughest times I can remember don't necessarily come hand-in-hand with negative memories. I also recall the amazing nurses that cared for me when I was in pot from toe to crotch, and getting excited about how much space there was to sign both my legs with permanent marker pen! The NHS were successful in making a big medical journey as fun and friendly as they possibly could, and I will always be grateful for that.
I'm now a full-time wheelchair user, and spend my time consulting on access and inclusion, and delivering disability awareness training and motivational talks to schools, businesses and other organisations. I seriously doubt that I would be so comfortable with my own disability and willing to share it with others if I hadn't had these positive experiences with everything that involved 'going to hospital'. I've been to university, and travelled to some pretty far-flung locations, but will I be able to continue doing what I love if the healthcare system that has helped me out can no longer help me free of charge? And would I even be where I am now if the care I received 10 years ago was costly to my parents in more ways than just their time? I highly doubt it.
And this 'cost' to our healthcare is a real issue. We are all getting older, and our health is one of the most fluid things that, unfortunately, we don't always have control over, yet we still take it for granted. The same may well happen to our NHS. Pineapple juice and playstations are the silly things that were the rewards to me as a child, but I don't want my own children to feel rewarded by a bigger bank balance just so they can keep themselves well.
'You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone'. Want that to be the tagline for our NHS? Me neither.
This blog was written Emily Yates, who's a BBC Generation 2015 contributor. Her views are entirely her own.Suggest a correction