A few weeks ago I went on holiday for a week to Portland, Oregon. It took me weeks to book the tickets as the thought of going somewhere so far away and so unknown terrified me. Not the going itself, but how it would affect me. I was terrified it would make me feel worse.
But I promised myself I would get to America one day and given that MS is a degenerative disease, this could be my last chance. So I did it. I found a ridiculously cheap flight, some decent travel insurance and whacked it on my credit card. The one I got when I was still a productive member of society and hadn't used in two years. I debated the pros and cons of spending out that much money but in the end I decided it was worth it to have one less regret. One thing ticked off my bucket list.
I had a great time there. I met some wonderful people; having known them online for more than two years, I finally got to see them in the flesh. I saw some fantastic scenery - the mountains of Oregon and Washington reminded me strangely of Wales but the waterfall at Multnomah Falls was like nothing I've seen before. I finally got to visit one of those giant department stores only seen on telly. Macy's to be exact. It was great, I could have spent a fortune in there. I learned that there really is a Starbucks on every corner. I even saw a Libyan protest, where people spoke so passionately for freedom for their home country that it made me cry.
But I also saw this
I stood staring at this for a good ten minutes, most of that with my mouth open. It seriously shocked me.
I knew America had a terrible system of healthcare but to see some thing like this was horrifying.
And it made me more determined to fight for our NHS. Because if we lose it, then this is our future.