It's a day before my 32nd birthday and I am feeling particularly grateful. Grateful for my family, my amazing career, my lovely flat and my incredible friends of course. But today, and seemingly most relevant, I am feeling incredibly grateful for my health, my family's health and my friend's health. I am feeling incredibly grateful for our wonderful nurses and NHS.
Having moved over from America 14 years ago (almost to the day) I've spent almost half of my adult life being looked after by our NHS, and the lovely nurses that encompass it.
Sure, I've spent time in waiting rooms, grunting about time wasted, wondering when I will be seen. Sure, I've had to go back to be seen again. Sure, there's been times when lines are busy, or things don't get done as quickly as I'd like.
These 'Sures' are quite insignificant when I think of how lucky I am to live in a country with healthcare like ours.
As a foreigner living in this country, I couldn't be more grateful for the people who have looked after me, both my physical and mental health, and with such assurance and comfort. I couldn't be more grateful to live in a country where healthcare is not an expense (or a luxury) I cannot afford.
This week, it has particularly resonated. While there's been a couple of instances I've had to use the NHS, the stand out was this past weekend.
My Mom had to have surgery on her shoulder. She was put under anaesthetic, which meant she had to spend two nights in the hospital in Leeds. My Stepdad and I stayed with her until quite late each evening.
Throughout the duration of the two days, there wasn't a time when a nurse didn't come in to her room without a smile on their faces. Ben (our 'stand out' nurse, although all of them were incredibly gracious), made my Mom laugh, when she felt really down. The other nurses helped my mom to the toilet, gave her medications, checked up on her every two hours. They did this 24 hours around the clock, and never did it without a smile on their faces.
They seemed so happy. And so we felt happy. My Stepdad and I felt happy to leave my precious Mom in the caring hands of the Leeds Hospital nurses, knowing she would be looked after well.
Over tea on Sunday afternoon, I said to my Stepdad, it really puts things into perspective. While I can sometimes get frustrated with my day-to-day life and the most trivial things, these guys are really doing something important, and never without a smile on their faces.
So it seems most appropriate to thank you, NHS nurses, on International Nurse's Day. I am most grateful for looking after me, the American girl who really does rely on you quite a lot. I am most grateful for you looking after my Mom, and keeping my family healthy. You are all quite spectacular.