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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collinson

Aren't we so lucky!

Trying to hold to the positives

Being a patient advocate involves talking about what are ultimately undeniable negative factors in our lives, however here’s my list of things I’m grateful for:

  1. Being born in 1993 rather than 1893 has to be right up there. There’s many reasons I much prefer being around today but not using an ointment with mercury as the active ingredient or being prescribed bloodletting is top of the list. I believe that while the “cures” for chronic skin conditions are still not readily available, science is a lot closer nowadays compared to the rest of history. When I’m having a catastrophic flare I know that popping some prednisolone will give me a reset and reprieve which people for the vast majority of human history didn’t have the luxury of. Also with the”decade of dermatology” upon us things are looking very exciting and optimistic.

  1. Being born in a first world country. I’m aware that “privilege” is sometimes a loaded word. From having worked on building sites for 10 years with people who certainly didn’t feel particularly privileged with the way they made their money I can empathise with that point of view. However there's no doubt in my mind that I won the lottery being born in this country. We all know the flaws with the NHS but I thank my lucky stars that I have access to it and live in a country where healthcare is seen as a human right.

  1. Being born to a loving and supportive family. I cannot begin to express how fortunate I am to be born to the family I was. I have always felt supported and loved and was never made to feel like a burden. My parents and wider family would move heaven and earth to help me in any way I needed. However, the less obvious way my support network was so important was because my family was full of inspiring characters that, as silly as it sounds, made me feel like I came from a tribe of “winners”. They all came from nothing and have some very funny/slightly sad “poor stories”. I had an uncle who was scouted to run track at an American College, an uncle who was a Royal Marine, a Grandpa with amazing stories of his time in the RAF, another grandfather who with 7 children grafted his way to being a sales director so we would get perks like the odd ticket to a box at Aston Villa. More than that though they were all likable, confident, competent people who were fun and inspiring to be around. My Mum is a ray of sunshine, you have radiators and drains and Mum personifies a radiator. My Dad was the fun, likable, easy going Dad. Feeling as if I was one of these people gave me the self worth and self confidence to survive school, while this was gradually eroded it held out just enough. 

  1. My wife is my undeniable evidence that I must be worth something. Donna is a beautiful, inspiring, hard working, kind woman, which is why I clung to her desperately when she showed half an interest in me. She is my soulmate and my proof that all those people who tried to make me feel worthless were wrong. I don’t know where I would be without her and I am grateful (and slightly shocked) that I get to call her my wife.

Being told to be “grateful for what you have” or “see the bright side” can be incredibly annoying when you look and feel like you’re being eaten alive every day. However if you can relate to any of my list it’s good to sit back and take stock of how much worse it could be and how in some ways we are fortunate.

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