Today I went to hospital to see my rheumatology specialist.They say that you can tell you are getting old when the policemen start looking younger. In my case it’s the consultants in hospital. The two I’ve had both look like they should still be at school. I was sorry when the previous one moved on, but they new one seems very good too. I like this new sort of consultant.
The rest of the day wasn’t quite so good, as was eleven minutes late for my appointment, which meant I had to wait to be seen. Really, I was only four minutes late, because I then had to spend seven minutes waiting as the receptionists dealt with patients who both seemed to have long, complicated requirements. I hate being late, but I particularly hate waiting in a queue and becoming even later.
I all started with my decision to use the tram to go to hospital.
We only have two tram lines in Nottingham, so it’s quite a simple system. You go to the tram stop, buy a ticket from the machine and get on he tram. Last time I used one Julia came with me and we had an interesting time on cramped seats looking at the armpit of a Dutch woman. It reminded me why cars, though killing the planet, are still more popular than public transport.
With so little to go wrong I was rather put out when Julia mentioned she wouldn’t be able to come with me this time. As if I am a small child who can’t be trusted to travel alone on a very simple system.
As it turns out, I actually had trouble before I even saw a tram. The ticket machine has a key pad, a couple of places to swipe cards and a screen. I couldn’t get any response. I couldn’t use the coin slot as I’d emptied my pockets of change as I knew it would take a card. It seems that the brightly lit screen with the advert is key to all this. If you tap it, it becomes some sort of space age console for buying tickets. How things have changed over the years. This sort of technology only used to be available on TV sci-fi programmes.
One of the advantages of having sticks, white hair and a confused expression is that complete strangers stop and ask if you need help. There is a bright spot in every event.
So, back to the simple system. I managed to miss the first tram whilst messing about with tickets. It was about ten minutes until the next one. I waited. A tram arrived, on time and accompanied by a flashing message on the platform display, so I boarded. Seconds later started, and a recorded announcement revealed that I was on the wrong one. What are the chances of that? I’m still not sure how it happened.
Fortunately, despite this, and the lack of maps in the carriages, I was able to work things out and get off several stops later where I then waited again and boarded the right tram. I tried ringing to tell them I would be late but couldn’t get through.
Eventually, I was delivered to the tram stop at the hospital, where a walkway gave me access to the Treatment Centre. It’s quite an impressive piece of construction. Sadly, though I come from a nation that features such explorers as Cabot, Cook and Captain Scott, it seems that my ability to undertake long journeys into the unknown does not compare to theirs.
The trip back from hospital, being more crowded, and featuring various assaults on my olefactory system by a liberally applied combination of cosmetics, was an eye-watering exercise in why I want to live in a desert, and further highlighted my lack of fortitude compared to my forbears.
The pictures are thrown in at random. I haven’t been taking many recently. The captions show my lack of organisation in my early days when I didn’t caption every photo.