Moved to Tears: An Hour To Save Your Life

Programme Name: An Hour to Save Your Life - TX: 04/03/2014 - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Preparing to attend an emergency call with London's Air Ambulance Dr MJ Slabbert - (C) Boundless - Photographer: Grab

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Moved to Tears.”

Hi! I thought I’d do today’s Daily Post writing prompt. It’s the first time I’ve done one of these and I’d love to do more, they suggest some really interesting topics.

Today’s prompt is: ‘Describe the last time you were moved to tears by something beautiful.’

I immediately thought of last night’s episode of ‘An Hour To Save Your Life‘ which is a BBC2 documentary which explores the life or death decisions medical workers face in the first critical hour of emergency care. I’ve only seen the last two episodes but this series has already moved me to tears in each episode. I didn’t cry for very long, but I was still deeply moved.

It sounds cheesy, and it’s often said; but life is short and precious. Everything can change in a split second.

Last week’s episode centred on three babies needing urgent medical care: Baby Alyssia is born ten weeks premature, baby Harley’s heart rate drops dangerously low during labour, and baby Evelyn is diagnosed with a life-threatening condition in the womb. I was gripped and saddened at the same time; the medical staff worked so quickly yet professionally as these tiny babies clung to life. Yesterday’s episode detailed three people who had been minutes from death: Victoria, who needed treatment then and there at the roadside after being run over,  a young man critically injured in a car crash and a young woman who collapsed in the street after her heart stopped. Again, I was in awe of the amazing work the medics did. They had to make tough decisions quickly on what to do and literally had lives in their hands, but they dealt with this pressure incredibly well.

But what really moved me to tears was the end of these episodes, when we find out what happened to the people involved and how they’re doing now. All three babies from the previous episode survived and are now doing well, including little Alyssia, who had underdeveloped lungs due to her prematurity but now looks happy and healthy.

All three people from last night’s episode survived, but the staff were unable to save Victoria’s leg. Seeing her emotionally express her gratitude to the staff for saving her life and saying that she felt lucky to be alive moved me to tears. I was reminded of the recent Alton Towers crash and how 17-year-old Leah Washington lost her leg in the accident. Obviously the compensation Leah will receive will do little to help with the anguish of losing her leg, and the emergency services should definitely have been called sooner after the crash, but like Victoria, Leah is still alive and there is still so much to live for. So please, don’t take life for granted.

As a side note, I know people complain about the NHS, but I really think it’s a fantastic thing. The UK is the only country in the world to have a national health service and it works. (I have no idea if the Tories are going to privatise it as has been rumoured, but I hope not.)

This is another thing which is said a lot, but I do really think medical workers deserve better pay. It’s not practical to give them footballer salaries but they do deserve more as they do such an important job. As I said in the 50 facts about me post on my other blog, I would love to be a doctor (as I love helping people) but I am too squeamish (and I would probably be emotionally affected as well) and not good at science. However I have so much respect for doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives, fire fighters etc. This statement makes this blog post even cheesier, but I do think these people are sort of like everyday heroes, since they save lives every day for a living. What could be more rewarding than that? I wish I could do it myself. If I do one thing with my life, I’d like to at least make the world a better place in some way, even if it’s only with a small thing.

Lastly, I’d like to wish Leah Washington, Joe Pugh, Vicky Palch and Daniel Thorpe all the best with their recovery.

If you haven’t seen ‘An Hour to Save Your Life’ I’d definitely recommend checking it out, it’s brilliant. Here’s a link to it on Iplayer.

 

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*POSSIBLE TMI* My Nexplanon Experience

Hello, so I put a possible TMI warning in the title just to warn you all that this post is not necessarily something you want to read…I’m going to be talking about my experience with Nexplanon, which in case you don’t know is the contraceptive implant. So read no further if you don’t want to know about it. Or read on. You know, up to you!

I’m also not going to share this one on Twitter like I usually do…

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Do we really have Freedom of Speech?

Je-suis-Charlie *This post turned out to be quite long, so sorry about that! I had a lot to say…

So, I was watching Loose Women yesterday and they brought up an interesting point. How can we truly say we have freedom of speech in the UK if have to censor our views so we don’t offend people, or if we find ourselves attacking others for views we disagree with? As in, ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’. But it’s also frustrating when some people have a view of free speech as ‘I can be as rude as I like and you’re not allowed to get offended’ or ‘you taking offence at my harshly-worded opinions must mean you think I’m not allowed to have opinions’ and people like that are just obnoxious, to be perfectly honest. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I think it’s important to be respectful to others when expressing them.

So I think we need some kind of happy medium between the two extremes. I think this debate is quite relevant to recent events as well, particularly the tragic Charlie Hebdo terror attacks, which as you probably know, prompted the widespread use of the phrase ‘Je Suis Charlie‘, in social media as well as real life, including in marches like this one with up to 2 million people all uniting to declare their right to freedom of speech. The satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is refusing to be intimidated by terrorism and have published millions of copies of the new issue depicting of the prophet Muhammad on the cover – the massacre itself having apparently been brought on by the offence at previous depictions of him. Now, I think Muslims have a right to be offended by that – (obviously that does not mean I’m in any way condoning the terror attacks) I’m not sure that the new issue’s further depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is a good idea. It may be doing more harm than good, further dividing us and provoking outrage. Why not just respect each other’s religion? I am not religious, so I can’t exactly relate to this feeling of outrage, but if you truly believe in a religion with all your heart and then it is disrespected then you have a right to be upset. It is not the first time the magazine has sparked controversy – back in 2012, it published a series of satirical cartoons of Muhammad, some of which featured nude caricatures of him.  Given that this issue came days after a series of attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East, purportedly in response to the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, the French government decided to increase security at certain French embassies and riot police surrounded the offices of the magazine to protect it against possible attacks. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius criticised the magazine’s decision, saying, “In France, there is a principle of freedom of expression, which should not be undermined. In the present context, given this absurd video that has been aired, strong emotions have been awakened in many Muslim countries. Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour oil on the fire?” However, the newspaper’s editor defended publication of the cartoons, saying, “We do caricatures of everyone, and above all every week, and when we do it with the Prophet, it’s called provocation.”  So, I think this provocation is intended to annoy the truly extreme Muslims, like those in Al-Qaeda or ISIS. Unfortunately, terrorists who happen to be Muslim can cause generalisations and ill-feeling towards Muslims, when it is only a very small minority who are extreme, hence why I saw protesters in Birmingham at the Christmas Market, trying to get across that they do not condone terrorism.

On a less serious note, almost everyone in Britain will have heard of Katie Hopkins, who is known for having strong opinions and not being afraid to express them, and who often seems to enjoy riling people up. She thinks she’s ‘telling it like it is’ and saying what everyone else thinks but is too afraid to say – reminding me of the ‘if you can’t say anything nice’ rule. The thing is, I’m not sure that Katie understands that her opinion is not necessarily the ‘right’ one which everyone else is thinking.

She also never censors her opinions, which I think can be both admirable and questionable. On the one hand, if we truly have freedom of speech, then ideally we should all be like Katie Hopkins and say exactly what we think without considering the consequences or minding if we offend people. But that sounds like a quick way to start a metaphorical World War Three if you ask me. That’s why, again, I think there should be some kind of happy medium. Katie Hopkins can be quite insensitive with her comments, but ultimately I don’t think she’s a bad person.

Another person who’s offended people lately is Ken Morley, who was removed from the Celebrity Big Brother house on Monday after repeatedly using offensive language, including racist and sexist comments. He appeared on Loose Women yesterday and apologised for the racist comments (note that he said an ‘n word’, but not the usual one) but seemed to refuse to apologise for sexist comments, including when he perved at young women in the house and commented on their behinds. Some viewers on Twitter were angry by what they saw as an attack on Morley by the Loose Women panelists, who repeatedly asked him if he was going to apologise after he’d already apologised. While the interview was a bit awkward, personally I still don’t really like Morley. He doesn’t seem to have apologised sincerely or care very much that he’s offended people. I can’t say that he has actually offended me as a viewer, though.

ken

So I have to wonder, (as was also pointed out on Loose Women) isn’t it quite hypocritical and unfair that a man cannot get away with sexist comments objectifying women on a Reality TV show when a woman can get away with the same thing? (Edwina Currie on I’m a Celebrity apparently ogled the younger men in camp, but quite frankly I think this is a lot less creepy than Ken Morley’s perving.) This is relevant to freedom of speech and Feminism. Men and women are both completely equal and entitled to the same rights, so doesn’t that mean they’re both equally entitled to not be sexually objectified? That said, I don’t think men suffer nearly the same amount of this objectification in popular media as women do. Case in point: Blurred Lines. Don’t even get me started on Blurred Lines…

I think that perhaps constructive criticism is the closest we can get to the ‘happy medium’ that I keep mentioning. It still involves censoring your opinion to some extent because you don’t want to hurt others. But this way you can still get across what you don’t like about something. A slight problem with this is that it has less impact – Katie Hopkins thrives on being blunt and has no problem with being voted ‘Dick of the year’ or considered ‘Britain’s most hated woman’, and recently she’s been trying to prove that fat people are lazy by deliberately gaining a lot of weight, then working hard to lose it. If any dangerously overweight people were to say to themselves “Ok, it’s not nice, but she’s right, and I’m going to work hard and lose weight” then the impact of the point Katie made is potentially life-changing. Personally I’d say that if people just ignored Katie and stopped giving her exposure then she’d probably fade out of public view, in the same way people say ‘don’t feed the troll’ to Internet trolls who deliberately set out to annoy people.

Lastly, I’m glad we do live in a country where we can say (or tweet) whatever we like – within reason anyway, as there have been cases of arrests due to very offensive tweets – such as this recent one in the aftermath of the Glasgow crash. I’m glad I don’t live in somewhere like North Korea with awful human rights and little or no freedom of speech. Thanks for reading this very long post – if you have any thoughts, please don’t hesitate to share them in the comments! Also, sorry there haven’t been any creative writing posts lately. I’ve been quite busy with other things and haven’t written as much as I’d hoped. I also haven’t had a huge amount of ideas so I may have to try out some Daily Prompts!

Should 16-18 Year Olds Be Given the Right to Vote?

Hello, so the other day a petition popped up on my news feed about giving the right to vote to 16-18 year olds everywhere in the UK (since they already can in Scotland) I haven’t signed it though because I’m just not sure. This is probably not even a top priority what with everything else that’s going on lately – but it is relevant with the fact that we have another General Election coming up next year. Here is an interesting article for the ‘yes vote’ to this question – http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/25/16-vote-scotland-independence-referendum-general-elections

This made me think back to the last General Election in 2010. I was 17 so couldn’t vote, but I remember talking to different people who were trying to make their mind up as to who to vote for. I remember hearing about how it would likely turn out to be a hung parliament (and it was) because of no overall majority, and I was slightly relieved that I didn’t have to decide (I’m notably indecisive) There was one particular occasion where I was buying something from River Island and the woman serving me had been talking to her colleague about who they were going to vote for and then she casually asked me who I was voting for. I said I can’t vote as I’m 17, to which I think she and her colleague said “Aw” or something similar. (I guess that means they thought I looked 18, which doesn’t bode well for a 21-nearly-22-year-old who’s worried about getting old.)

The thing is, I’m not even sure I was very much less mature when I was 17 than I am now. I know I said I’m indecisive but that’s a personality trait which has nothing to do with my age. I’m probably still as indecisive as I was four years ago.

I’ve also been to Uni and done lots of other new things since I was 17 which would arguably make me more grown up, and more able to think about political issues sensibly than I was when I was 17. And I would say it’s true that I do think about political issues more than I used to back then, but I think that’s at least partly because I just had so much on my mind in 2010 and politics was the last thing on my mind. Obviously I was concerned about who would be running the country, but otherwise I thought politics was pretty dull, and when I did vote (I think in a local election a while after I turned 18) I still wasn’t that interested, although I did think it was nice to be able to vote now.

So my question is, did the fact I was just over five months too young to vote really mean I was actually too immature, or did it not make a difference?

After all, it’s not like once you turn 18 you suddenly magically become completely mature and grown up. It’s just that at 18, you’ve completely left school now, so you know your childhood and adolescence are behind you – however most 17 year olds turning 18 are probably more excited by the fact they can legally drink at 18!

But on the other hand you could argue that ‘children are the future’ and so 16-18 year olds should be allowed to make their mind up about their future, even if they are still considered ‘minors’ before the age of 18.

So I don’t know on this one – on the one hand, loads of 16-18 year olds probably are mature enough to make their mind up. After all, it’s at this age range that you’re expected to start making decisions about what you want to do with your life. Most of us went down the further education route, but we could just have easily have gone straight into full time work when we were 16 (I could not imagine 16 year old me doing that… I would say I changed/matured a fair amount from how I was at 16 by the time I turned 18.) I’m not saying that 16-18 year olds in further education are going to be any less mature than those in full time work, though. I really think it depends on the person. It’s quite a strange time, because at 16 you can join the army but you can’t drive or drink alcohol.

I think maybe 17 year olds should be able to vote, but I’m not so sure about 16 year olds. I know it probably doesn’t make much difference but I just feel like a lot of 16 year olds might be confused, still in that awkward stage between childhood and adulthood, whereas at 17 that awkwardness is at least beginning to go away. After all, if you can be trusted with a car at 17, you should probably be trusted to make an informed, mature choice when you vote.

On a sort of unrelated matter I would like to say that I’m not really sure why Simon Cowell lowered the age limit for contestants on The X Factor to 14 again. I don’t want to sound patronising but I just don’t think 14-16 year olds should be in the competition. This is a competition in which the producers will happily pick out really awful singers just to get some entertainment out of them when they get rejected and humiliated. I think 14/15 year olds can wait a few years, or better still go on The Voice (it just seems like a better idea if you want to be a singer, even though personally I prefer watching X Factor – despite my complaints.)

What do you think? Let me know in the comments! 🙂