Yesterday I went into the Day Surgery in the hospital and had an epidural, followed by all sorts of steroids being injected into the facet joints of my spine in my neck and then my back. It was incredibly painful, traumatic, invasive and difficult treatment. Afterwards I was in pain, totally drained, shaking, aching, my face gone an unhealthy grey colour.
But I felt so lucky, and so grateful.
For one, to our healthcare system. Yes, I've experienceed dreadful waiting lists on the public health service (an 11 month wait for one appointment) and depressing service at times. But yesterday I felt so immensely grateful, for the compassionate care and kindness of countless amazing and capable nurses, the skills and knowledge of trained pain specialists, for an amazingly well equiped theatre - that looked better than anything on ER (I only wish I'd been able to witness the whole thing and turn my head to see the x-ray screens of needles in my spine - wow!) and for the ten or so people moving around that theatre looking after me all the time while I was there.
And I felt so grateful for being born in a place where this kind of care is available, for having access to this kind of equipment, this level of expertise, for living in a country that provides healthcare to those in need - I'll be the first to tell you how two-tiered it is at times, but we are still so incredibly lucky to have it.
I've just finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, which tells the sad story and struggle of two women in Afghanistan, describing their difficulties through civil war and under the Taliban in getting healthcare, in making choices about their lives, their children, their freedom... and in comparison, I am so lucky, for my geography, to have been born where I was born, giving me access to so many freedoms, education, healthcare, financial support and choices that so many people around the globe do not have.
I just wish everyone was as lucky as me.

(But I'm sorry they don't give you lollipops at the end, or better still a medal.)