E38 Surgery and working around a broken system

Things were getting interesting in Casey’s class. This was not positive for him whatsoever.
When he had nothing to threaten the children with anymore he had started to lose power and he had to reevaluate things fast.

As things were heating up in the classroom I was given a much-needed 10 days off school.
I was going to the hospital to get my ears pinned back.
This was back in the olden days when people spent time in the hospital to rest and get better.

I’m afraid those days are gone forever in England as people keep voting conservative.
The procedure was pretty simple and its explained in detail in the link below

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cosmetic-procedures/ear-correction-surgery/

I had been on the waiting list for 4 years and was very lucky to get the procedure paid for by the NHS.
The same surgery now is not available unless you pay privately and it costs in the region of 3 grand.
Now the only type of cosmetic surgery that the NHS pays for is if you are severely burnt in a fire or mauled by a dog or something equally horrific.

The conservative party in England is known as the party of cuts and these types of surgery were one of the first things that were taken away.
This system was abused by many people for example many girls managed to get boob jobs.

They made up a story that this seriously affected their self-esteem and at the time no guidelines were in place so the doctors did the surgery.
It wasn’t just women who were abusing the system the above is just one example.

So after a few years of this and NHS costs kept getting higher and higher so you better believe the government put a stop to this.
In all honesty, it took them a while to figure it out but this was before the days of computers and everything was written down in big ledgers.

Many departments in the hospital would not communicate with each other and even if there was a query it was harder to chase people up as there were no mobile phones or email.
A lot of the time due to bad accounting or things were lost in translation when written down so it was not such a huge red flag at first.

I remember spending the week in the hospital and it was like luxury.
Don’t get me wrong I had everything I needed at home and was well looked after but there was no school.
Before I had my surgery I had ears like the actor Huw Higginson who played PC Garfield in The Bill (Tv show)

PC Garfield from the TV show The Bill

The nurses were all nice people who genuinely cared about us. They never shouted at any of us unless we made a noise at night and even then it was never without good reason.
It was such a welcome break from feeling worthless every day and wondering what stupid shit would be thrown at me.

I had already become conditioned to the horrible conditions at school when Francesca was at her worst, she was very slap happy and an all-out bully.
In a good way, it taught me to stand up for myself but on the other hand, no child should ever have to go through an experience like that.

Without the obvious safeguards that were nonexistent back in 1990 the main issue the education system faced was that there was a vast shortage of primary school teachers.

I’m sure a lot of teachers were more willing to turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior as it was months and months before any teacher was replaced.
Many teachers like Miss Brookfield were already going above and beyond the call just to keep the ship steered in the right direction.

The demand for primary school teachers has only got worse it does not seem to be a popular profession.
There is an even bigger demand for male primary school teachers as roughly 85 percent of them in the UK are female.

There are many theories behind why their numbers are so low but my personal opinion is micromanagement of teachers
Also, I’m a firm believer that children should learn through play especially at that age.


This is the system used in Scandinavia which is detailed in the link below.
The Scandinavians are one of the best-educated societies of our modern-day so maybe we should implement some of their ideas?

https://knockedupabroad.com/blog/learning-through-play-first-year-swedish-school/

http://psychologyinrussia.com/volumes/?article=3687

In the UK we would not implement such good ideas we would much rather be more rigid with the usual one size fits all attitude and that’s why many kids like myself end up falling through the system.

There are fewer opportunities for kids to be kids now as the new curriculum wants them to do Algebra and other complex subjects at an early age.

When we were at primary school we worked in the morning then in the afternoon we played together and had stories read to us on the mat and we would pretend to fall asleep while whispering to our mates next to us.

I know the system does not fail everyone but if you use me as an example and the horrific experiences that I went through in junior school then I feel for many children there was no coming back from this.

It was hard enough to pull myself out of the dark place after what happened in junior school.
If this negative conditioning had started when I was about 6 their to this day I would probably still think that I was worthless now.

Having said that I would probably be more content with a very low-paid menial job and be willing to take bullshit without question and be thankful for my meagre existence.
So if you look at it from the government’s point of view it’s a win-win situation for them.

The government also made it even harder to become a primary school teacher now in all their infinite wisdom.
Now I’ve no problem with safeguards in place even though they are not foolproof they are in the best interests of the children and their safety.

To be a teacher you need to have 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, A levels or an Access course, a degree, and a PGCE.
Now some genius changed it so to become a primary school teacher you need all of the above but you need a B in maths GCSE.

There was a girl I was in college with called Jenny Strom and she had her heart set on being a primary school, teacher.
A B grade in maths is fucking difficult and even though she was a clever girl she just couldn’t get the B grade.

Now because the system is so rigid and if you play by the rules then more often than not the system will seriously fuck you over.
She became so disheartened with this and ended up dropping out of college.
She then ended up having three kids and with the lock down, she essentially in her own way became a primary school teacher only she wasn’t being paid.

It’s a lot harder to go back to school when you have kids to feed it was a miracle that mum managed it with just me but for the sake of a score of a test of memory this girl like many others lost out on her dream job all because of essentially a tick in the box.

Another girl I went to college with Helen Scahill wasn’t great at maths and she kept failing her maths exam.
She passed the test easily and was a bit of a brainiac with science but kept failing her maths test by a few points.

She ended up staying at college for three extra years so she could finally pass the maths exams.
I would be more understanding of the system in place if it was to be a doctor or something along those lines but just because someone does not understand Pythagoras or algebra, as well as they, should then that should not hinder their further education.

The only people I know who use this is my ex-girlfriend’s sister whos a quantity surveyor and my mate’s brother who is an architect.
Everyone else gets by with normal maths such as counting money.

I had a similar problem to Helen with my maths and the college had screwed over all of the students with misinformation regarding coursework.
As a result, those who failed their maths exam were allowed to start the access course and do GCSE maths alongside it.

To be fair to the college they apologised for the screw up and as they let us do the Access course and didn’t charge us for the maths next year there was no investigation.I ended up finishing the Access course and I failed my GCSE maths by one point to get a C grade.
I kept quiet about it and carried on applying for university places.

I had two interviews for LJMU and they both asked me do I have my Access certificate and I said yes and showed them.
I never mentioned maths and they didn’t either and as a result of working the system and not listening to the no, I ended up getting a place at university and graduated three years later just as Helen was starting her degree.

A system is never going to be perfect but when the cards have been dealt against you for so long you can continue to lose or you can learn to play the game.

I’ve at times thought about going back to do GCSE maths but I quickly talk myself out of it every time.
I have enough certificates which prove how capable I am and now I’m busy looking at other projects and none of them require me to understand isosceles triangles or the circumference of a circle.

Back to the hospital and my surgery was going to be the next day and I was forced to be nil by mouth.
This was not such a huge problem with food but having nothing to drink for 24 hours was unbearable.

I had never felt so shitty in my life and I remember feeling like I wanted to die even before I went into surgery.
The mask went over my face and the next thing I was knocked out.

When I woke up later I remember I could not stop vomiting which made things a lot worse as my stomach was empty.
I got wheeled back to my ward with a bandage on my head looking like I had been in a serious car accident.

Like when I had my tonsils out years earlier the nurses came in with some ice cream and everyone knows ice cream always makes things better.
I remember pretending to feel upset that mum had gone home and my trick worked one of the nurses asked me if I wanted more ice cream.

Asking me if I want more ice cream is on par with asking me if I want more money so she went away and came back with an even bigger bowl which also had a slice of chocolate cake.

Even at ten years old I was figuring out ways to play the system for my gain.
It’s a known fact that shy kids get no sweets and that does not change much even when you grow up.

A couple of days later I was discharged from the hospital still with the bandage on my head and I had to go back in a few days to get the bandage off and the stitches removed.

I was starting to get bored at home now and there were only so many films I could watch.
Mum looked after me and made sure I had everything that I needed.
I wasn’t bothered about missing school but I missed all my mates and I wanted to be back with them in the yard.

The day came when I went back to the hospital and they finally took off my bandages and removed the stitches.
The guy who took out the stitches must have been a professional because I hardly felt a thing.

I remember my face being numb for an hour afterwards but I was amazed at the job they had done.
My ears were going to be fragile for a while but overall the operation had been a success.

The doctor ordered a few more days off school just to be safe and sent me home.
Below is a picture of me watching TV in Iraq on Christmas day having a Jack daniels with my pal Beau back in 2004.
As you can see the surgeons did a fantastic job of my ears.

The author left with Beau on Christmas day 2004 in Baghdad

Mum and I went home and I was bored out of my mind so I remember going to the village with her to pay some bills and then I asked her if we could go for a walk.
She didn’t realise I was up to something and we both walked down Out lane where my school was.

It was lunchtime and all the kids were outside playing and we were walking past looking in at them in the yard.
Mum says to me don’t worry love you will be back to normal in a few days and back with your mates.
I hadn’t planned how I was going to see my mates but I was racking my brain to think of something and fast.

As we got level with the playground I heard Arlo Arlo and I saw one of the lads waving at me.
Then without warning, I bolted through the school gates, across the field, and straight onto the playground.

It was no secret I was in hospital but the rumour machine was in full force and the stories I heard were varied at best.
I had been run over by a car, I had got sick in the hospital, I wasn’t in the hospital I had left school and gone somewhere else, The only story I didn’t hear is that I had died.

Most of my class were made up to see me and I felt like a pop star.
Mum came running behind me and our eyes met.
She gave me a look of I knew you were up to something and I just smiled back.

She was pissed off she hadn’t seen what I was doing but she was happy to see me laughing with all my friends.
The next thing the teacher in the yard had come over and I was talking to her as well.

Mr. Owen appeared from somewhere and for the first time ever I saw him smile.
He seemed genuinely happy to see me or maybe it was because mum was there.
I asked him if I could come back to school now and mum said no Arlo the doctor said three more days of rest let’s go home.

Please mum, I said and then a lot of my friends stepped in saying come on Carol let him stay please, please.
Carol looked at Mr. Owen and said it’s your call and Owen said bluntly I’ve no issue with any kid coming back to school early if he’s eager to learn.

Everyone was happy but Carol insisted and said ill let you stay as long as I can pick you up.
It seemed like a fair deal so I didn’t argue.

Mum left the schoolyard happy but in the back of her mind worried sick like a good mum does and went home.
I enjoyed the rest of the lunch break then we went inside.

It was also cool to be in my own clothes when everyone else was in uniform and just to be back with the lads made me feel on top of the world.

I was also intrigued by how things had progressed with Casey since I was away and was looking forward to seeing him.
He was not cut out to be a teacher but he did have a nice side to be fair.

Published by aab01uk

A traveler trying to find his place in the world. Trying my hand at most things and making a new life for myself outside of the UK while enjoying the journey along the way. A very diverse path but always entertaining as the saying goes the truth is stranger than fiction. I've experienced some serious highs and lows and even hit rock bottom multiple times. This is my long diverse journey which will make you laugh and hopefully teach you some life lessons along the way.

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