So there I was, on the Anglia News evening bulletin, shooting my mouth off as usual…

It’s been an exciting couple of days. (Mostly, but not entirely, for the right reasons).

For a while now I’ve been supporting a group called Just Treatment, who campaign on behalf of the NHS. Like me, they value the principles and practices on which it was founded, and are disturbed by government meddling – which has tended to make services less professional and less accessible.

So, unsurprisingly, they support the nurses’ strike. As do I.

Recently Just Treatment asked people to send in stories about their experience of NHS treatment. I obliged. Soon afterwards I had an email asking if I’d be prepared to talk to the media and explain why I support the strike. I was happy to agree – and found myself in a small group with two other patients for an initial brief. All of us had agreed that we’d visit the nearest local picket line with a ‘care package’ from Just Treatment. And all of us went through a ‘mock interview’ to get a feel for what to expect.

Shortly after that – with the help of an agency called NEON – the requests started to come in. My first was for an interview with Luke Deal on Radio Suffolk at 8.05 on the morning of the strike. Luke gave me a sympathetic but fairly tough interview, putting forward the government lines one by one. I did my best to kick each of them into touch. Mostly, I think I did.

That done, it was time to prepare – and Rosemary came with me as we drove over to Bury St Edmunds, hooting cheerfully at the picket line as we turned in to park.

It was great to be there and have a chance to talk with the nurses and get even more of their side of the story. (I’d heard a good deal already in conversations with my care teams.) And that was when I got my next request – for LBC News at 11.45. Like Radio Suffolk, LBC contacted me via Facetime, but the signal my end was fuzzy and occasionally I had trouble hearing my interviewer, Martin Stanford. Martin didn’t give me quite as hard a time as Luke, and it was cheering to have a background of supportive hoots from dozens of cars passing the picket line behind me.

Presenting a book full of supportive comments from NSH patients compiled by Just Treatment

Presenting a book full of comments supporting the strike from NHS patients, compiled by Just Treatment.

Sharing a pack of chocolate biscuits from the Just Treatment support pack with nurses on the picket line.

The icing on the cake was my third and last interview – with the Anglia News crew who’d come to cover the strike, and knew I’d be there on the picket line. Their reporter, Callum Fairhurst, recorded a long piece with me covering pretty much every aspect of my own condition, my reasons for being on the picket line, and my response to the government’s handling of the strike. What finally appeared on the evening bulletin were two well-chosen sound bites from that interview. I was more than happy with that, and delighted when both sound bites – along with a written piece about me – turned up as the third item on the main ITV News website.

The day was slightly spoiled by a piece of stupidity on my part – when I managed to choke on a piece of meat while, ironically, watching Ambulance on BBC1. We got some of it out, but the final fragment lodged on my larynx. Despite Rosemary’s best efforts we had to call the ambulance, and although that final piece miraculously disappeared while I was talking to Control, the crew duly arrived. They recommended we go to A&E – where we spent roughly as much time as we’d spent on the picket line. But I was eventually checked , reassured, and discharged.

So much for my avowed intent ‘not to be a burden on the NHS’. And I absolutely did mean it…!