How a baby blue tit showed me the value of the NHS

8th August 2012

By Chris Gape

At Cobb PR we work across lots of sectors.  We meet lots of different people from a smorgasbord of different backgrounds and specialisms.  Among these is a passionate, determined and brilliant local campaigner called Liz Walke. 

Liz is the driving force behind the Save the DGH campaign.  We have supported her work and will continue to do so until the people that matter in Westminster and the local East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust get the message that Eastbourne needs all its core services.

One of the services under threat is orthopaedics and emergency care for people admitted with fractures.

Eight weeks ago I shattered my right forearm.  It now contains as much metal as bone. Going through the airport metal detector will never be the same again.

I’d made a really poor decision.  I went up a ladder in my flip flops with a bucket over my arm containing a Blue Tit nestling and tried to return it to a nest box.

As I reached the top – a little under 25 feet from the ground – I was about to discover why Liz is such a star.

The bird wriggled and squeaked in my hand.  The struggle that ensued caused me to lose my flip flopping footing. 

I clutched at thin air like the weasy sick note boy trying to catch a cricket ball. I recall very little about the drop apart from seeing, for a few nano seconds, the ground appear, in slow motion I think, in front of me.

I narrowly missed my partner, Julie, who was at the bottom of the ladder.   As I writhed around under the boughs of the silver birch I tried to avoid looking at my newly formed S shaped wrist.

Two months later it is straight again.  All thanks to the paramedics who conveyed me to the DGH in a matter of minutes, the trauma team who stabilised me, the surgeon and his team who operated on me, the staff who nursed me and the orthopaedic team I visited every week once I was out of hospital. 

I owe them all a debt of gratitude that I will never be able to properly repay.  I’m also very grateful to Liz that I didn’t have to scream in agony all the way to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings– trust me, gas and air is no substitute for morphine.

The moral of the story?

Don’t take for granted something as priceless as Eastbourne District General Hospital and the medical and support staff who work there. Support the Save the DGH Campaign.

Oh, and leave baby birds where you find them.

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