Up to this week, I have never spent a night in hospital.
I still haven’t, touch wood, been forced to stay in there because of my own ill health.
That, I’ll admit, is a minor miracle given my horrendous diet and unnatural student ale consumption.
Even when I did myself serious damage playing university football I decided against a trip to A&E – a decision I now rather regret given I can now predict rain though my left knee.
The end to my 34-year hospital-free stint came last week when boy twin succumbed to meningitis.
It’s a diagnosis which fills every parent with dread, with so many horror stories attached to the condition.
My Good Wife has shouldered most of the burden, spending days shut inside the ward.
I managed just one night and found, for a place with so many beds, it isn’t half hard to get some sleep.
The fact the little man had to spend hours at a time hooked up to Monty Python’s machine that goes ‘ping’ didn’t help.
But I suspect worry played a big part in sleepless nights.
Still, at least I’m not walking about looking like a human pincushion.
Fortunately, the lad is on the mend and back at home – a godsend for all.
But a night (and several days) on the ward have made me realise how much work goes into keeping us all healthy.
And best of all, it’s free.
I’ve always been a bit wary of those ready to give the NHS a kicking.
For me it’s a national asset.
Yes, we complain when things go wrong – when there’s a long wait to see the GP.
But consider the alternative.
I’ve spent hundreds of dollars stateside just to see a doctor for a few minutes. That’s more than 100 bucks even before the cost of treatment.
Imagine the bill for the little man’s hospital stay.
Our system’s not perfect.
But it’s still one of the best in the world.
I’m only too happy to jump up and down and praise the health service from the rooftops.
Just let me get an hour or two’s kip first!