You only realise what you have when it’s no longer there

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Travel is a life-enhancing and wonderful thing. It can broaden our horizons and offer a new perspective on life. It reminds us of the interconnectedness of humanity at the same time as realising how diverse us humans can be.

It also teaches us a fundamentally important thing: that there’s no place like home.

Over Christmas, I visited the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. Despite troubles in recent times, it’s now a country buzzing with ever more colour and pride.

Unfortunately, I picked up the mosquito-borne tropical disease Dengue fever while there. Symptoms include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. It was not a pleasant experience! Thankfully, I received very good initial care in Sri Lanka, followed by treatment in India and excellent treatment in the UK. I realised that I would feel more comfortable in the hands of the world class care and medical professionals of the NHS, who I had confidence would help me.

Often, we don’t realise what we have until it’s gone. There are undoubtedly issues with the NHS – many of them reported over the Christmas period –  which need to be worked on and solved. But when we look at developing parts of the world it gives us a sense of perspective, and we often realise that we have it much better than many other places. It’s easy to forget our blessings and focus on the negatives. Let us be grateful for the NHS, a flagship of our country, and a service which is free at the point of need. Let’s also be grateful to all the other high quality services our country has to offer such as our diverse, multi-faith and multicultural communities and the freedoms we enjoy, including freedom of religion and protections against discrimination.

I’m happy to report that I’ve now made a full recovery, and am incredibly grateful to the NHS and its amazing staff who did indeed treat me with professionalism, care and respect.

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