I called NHS Direct just now to ask for advices regarding my swelling gum. Their first response was they were exceptionally busy at that time and if my case is not urgent, they might get back to me up to 24 hours. I shuddered. My gum was literally killing me and how could they nonchalantly ask me to be patient...?
But then, less than 3 minutes after that, a lady picked my call and inquired about my case. She politely and patiently asked me questions about my tooth, despite my insistence for her to repeat whatever she had just said. *Pekak badak* She first asked about my details, you know, my D.O.B., my phone number, my home address, bla bla bla.. At first I was annoyed by this. I mean, I really really urgently needed attention and the least she could do was to refer me to a dentist or something. Then she asked me a few questions about my gum, cross-checking with me whether it is an external injury as in somedody punched my face or something, or just a normal wisdom-tooth case.
She then told me, NHS would get back to me as she has to refer my case to the NHS Dental Practice. She said, it might take up to 2 hours before somebody would speak to me, but normally it would take half an hour. They were very busy, after all.
I said, ok, thank you so much. I sincerely meant it coz the lady was so nice and all. Barely 4-5 minutes after I hung up, my phone rang (vibrated actually...) and NHS's number appeared on the screen. I was plesantly surprised. I picked the phone and a lady on the other line introduced herself as a nurse from the Dental Practice. I could barely conceal my smile. Efficiency!
Before she cross-examined me, she first asked me, again, about my details. Just to confirm I guess. Then she started listening to my problem. I could sense she was listening intently. At the end, she recommended a few things which I can do to ease the pain and soothe the swelling. She also gave me 2 numbers to call first thing tomorrow morning; the nearest dental practice from where I live. She ended the conversation with a strikingly loving reminder that I should take care of myself and like many other typical Brits, "Have a nice day!"
Subhanallah. I mean... What else could I ask for right...? I was utterly impressed, and surprised at the same time by NHS's efficiency, in spite of all the grumbles and accusations I have heard before. I wonder what would be the case if I were to be back in Malaysia. Not to offend anyone but you tell me how is it like to be treated by the government's hospital.
Quoting Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, "I would rather live as a Muslim in the West than most in the Muslim countries, because I think the way the Muslims are allowed to live in the West is closer to the Muslim way."
You know where I am going with this. But no, not today. I have to continue with my revision. Last paper on Friday. Hopefully my dear beloved wisdom tooth has fully emerged and stopped torturing me by that time. Insha-Allah...