Tag Archives: blood test

Just a Quick Post

I went for a blood test this morning – got off to a slightly slow start as I don’t have to take Julia to work this morning, and nearly missed getting a car parking space. Mental note – remember that the spaces are just about gone by 7.30. Despite notices about it not being a car park for staff several members of staff in uniform were either arriving or leaving as I took the last available space.

Two women, talking about how to handle a booking system on a computer, walked straight into the hospital in front of me without pausing to put masks on. Looks like we are back to ignoring the rules, however, as it’s allowable to stage mass gatherings, despite the law, I don’t suppose you can blame them. Once you see one group treat the rules with contempt I suppose we all think we can do it too. It’s the Cumming’s Effect.

I’ve decided to take a neutral stance on the events in London, by the way. It would have been better if the Police hadn’t been so heavy-handed, but it would also have been better if there hadn’t been mass disobedience to the law. All that happens now is that the Police have to answer complaints and write reports instead of doing their job, while politicians posture and pressure groups make an issue of a personal tragedy. Nobody looks good as a result of this.

Meanwhile, I had a swift blood test but needed holes in both arms to find any.

The morning was quite different to the last test morning, just a few weeks ago. Last time the image I took away was a Dunnock singing its heart out in a sparkling silver birch against the backdrop of a bright blue sky. Today it was a Wood Pigeon cooing on a murky morning – grey bird, grey tree, grey sky.

Some days make it easier to be a poet than others.

(Sorry – the pigeon isn’t in a tree, but it was the first picture I came to as I scrolled down and I need to get off to work.)

First day of Real Spring

Today was the first day of Real Spring. We have meteorological Spring – that starts on 1st March – and we have  Traditional Spring, which starts on 20th March this year. Neither of them are particularly realistic as they can both be quite dismal days, and it’s hard to feel springlike on a dreary day. No, you need Real Spring, which is the first day that feels like Spring. It has been getting closer, but today was the first day I really felt spring had arrived.

It was a lovely morning with a slight nip in the air, and a very light frost. There was just a touch of colour in the sky as I headed off for a blood test, and my feelings of wellbeing were enhanced by the lack of traffic – a lovely lockdown bonus. The sunrise was fading as I went to hospital, and by the time I returned home the sky was bright blue and cloudless. 

The sun, hitting the silver birches, produced a magical effect, further enhanced by a meeting of magpies. There were only a dozen of them, a long way from some of the groups I’ve seen at this time of year, but it’s nice to see that breeding is on the agenda.

As I turned into the hospital entrance, the area under the trees  was alive with snowdrops and small tete a tete daffodils.

In the car park a dunnock was singing its heart out, though, now I know more about its personal habits I’m not sure this is a bird to use as a celebration of spring.

There was no queue for the blood test, but that was the last good thing to happen for a while, as they managed to hit a nerve when taking the test samples (I was in for a double lot today)  and  that wasn’t fun. First, my arm hurt, then it started to go numb. The hand, which I’d ben told to clench, began to open. It took about twenty minutes to recover, so it wasn’t bad, but it’s still a bit sore sixteen hours later and there’s quite a lot of bruising. Normally I say good things about Phlebotomy at City Hospital, but this was not one of their better days.

A Slow Start and Two Interesting Links

I just woke up in front of the computer screen. It’s 11.27 and if I can’t stay awake while I’m writing a blog it suggests that the post isn’t worth finishing.

My alarm was set for 6.30 this morning as I had a blood test. Naturally I woke at 6.12. That is a bad time – too soon to get up and too late to have a nice warm snooze. A bit of lateral thinking and I went back to sleep with the clock now set for 6.45. Good plan, but poor execution as I then slept until nearly 7.00.

Next bit of bad planning – the car has been parked up for five days. It started, but with an outside temperature of -4°C and a five day coating of ice and frozen snow, it took a bit longer to de-ice than I had planned.

The Road through Clumber park

Non of this actually mattered because when I got down to Phlebotomy, there were two phlebotomists looking very lonely. The one by the door actually told me not to sit in the waiting area a they were ready for me. It took two attempts, the car parking is still free and, unlike the last few weeks, it was actually light. There are no actual flowers out now, but the snowdrops are on the verge of opening. It was not a bad blood test, all things considered.

The trip into work was uneventful, though there did seem to, be more traffic than you would expect from a lockdown. This agrees with the figures about the number of people in work, compared to the first lockdown. I didn’t find any figures when I looked for them but I did find a story about the problems of hippos in Columbia. They  are taking over the waterways after being introduced, via the private zoo of Pablo Escobar.

In the Mencap Garden

Currently, after waking up, I am trying to concentrate as workmen build a drum in next door’s drive. It was meant to be a wooden garage, but the noise indicates it is a drum. A big one.

I’d better get some work done as this could be my last day in lockdown.  Tomorrow I’m going to the shop to work on my own – I offered to do it because everyone else is working and it seems a bit unfair not to do it. I will wipe everything down before leaving.

Then next week it looks like I will be back in work. By Monday I will be at the end of the self-imposed 14 day quarantine. I still don’t see why we are going back to work, but the owner has paid us full wages through three lockdowns and I suppose he’s getting fed up with it. This is known as Pandemic Fatigue, and is not to be confused with the fatigue that lingers after Covid. That is Post-Viral fatigue.

Off the Coast at Southend on Sea.

The photographs are some I have dredged up from old memory cards – some really good memories. They are random, and nothing to do with the content of the post, but I hope you like them.

 

Same day – just later

For lunch we had the remains of the fish pie. I made the mistake of reheating it in the enamel dish it had originally been cooked in. The pie warmed up well, but all the odds and ends of food  left from the first day burned themselves onto the dish. It is going to take some washing. Then some more washing.

For tea we had potato wedges, sausage and chickpea casserole and stir-fried greens. It is, to be fair, a meal made with more enthusiasm than skill, but it worked out OK. There was something about dietary fibre on TV tonight and a meal of chickpeas and greens  turns out to be an excellent choice, particularly as I left the skin on the potatoes. It’s because I’m lazy, rather than health conscious, but it all helps.

They also said that the avocado is an ecological disaster as a crop, but when you look at its fibre content it is packed with the stuff. So do I have well-polished innards and a healthy heart, or do I have a healthy planet. And if I give up avocados will people also give up flying to foreign holidays. I doubt it. What will happen is that I will give up avocados and the planet will still fall apart.

Julia has still not had her test kit delivered, which makes you wonder if it has even been ordered. Even if it arrives tomorrow she won’t get the result back until next week, by which time I think we will already have established that she isn’t infected.

It has tried to snow several times since I last mentioned it, but none of the attempts has come to anything. This is good as I am planning at being at hospital for a blood test just after 7.00. They are still draining it at an alarming rate to check on the Warfarin. I am hoping for a clear road tomorrow.

 

 

 

Running on the Spot

I had an email from TESCO this morning.

Dear Mr Wilson
We are extremely sorry to let you know that due to store issues, we have unfortunately had to cancel your order that’s due today. You have not been charged for your order.

Kind Regards

Your Grocery Home Shopping Team

The mildest word that escaped my lips is “unacceptable”. Fortunately, I have plenty of food in, and with a little thought can last until next week. We’ve done that before when things have gone wrong. However, this time it’s the casual way they tell you that your social distancing  efforts are all in vain and that your menu planning has been a waste.

I have just rung the company to check that it isn’t some form of clever scam email, but it is true. They have an in-store Covid outbreak. Now, if they’d told me that, I would have sympathised. But just telling mw that they had cancelled the order and are offering no alternative is asking for a negative reaction.

We will have to buy bread, milk, cheese and eggs but probably have enough of everything else. We would normally have plenty of cheese and eggs but I have been cutting back to prevent waste.

Before that, I had my repeat blood test after failing last week’s test. In contrast to last week the phlebotomist was eager to start and I didn’t even have time to sit down in the waiting area before he called me through. Good news is that I bled profusely, so no clotting problems there. Of course, that might mean I have gone too far the other way.

I have also just rung the pharmacy and my methotrexate is in. It’s taken 23 days to work its way through the system and I’ve had to request it twice. This is, of course, from the people who brought us The Great Track & Trace Debacle and Lockdown III – This Time It’s Serious.

The pharmacy, to be fair, has been very efficient – its the on-line ordering that has gone haywire. In the old days you got a piece of paper in your hand. These days you wait for a text, and when it doesn’t come you realise you have no pills and it will be another week, if you are lucky. There’s a lot to be said for simple paper-based systems.

So far it’s been a day of chasing my own tale – lots of jobs done, including getting Julia to work, and writing this post is the only thing I’ve wanted to do. And even this i just a list non-vents in the life of a boring man.

I’ve also had a phone call from someone who claims to be validating Life Insurance Policies, but it felt more like a sales call so I made my excuses and left.

The surgery just rang – I failed my blood test again.  Altered dosage and another test next week again.

And now I’ve had one of those calls pretending to be from Amazon.

There is so much rubbish to deal with before you can actually do anything useful.

A Tuesday Retrospective

I seem to be having a week of looking back on the previous day. I’m not sure how this happened but I may as well go with it, and try to catch up.

My alarm went off at 6.30, which was cutting it a bit fine to get to the hospital for a blood test before work, but I didn’t really feel like getting up. In the end I turned over and went back to sleep anyway, finally shaking myself free of the covers at just before 7.00 It was still dark so there were no interestingly lit morning shots.

Down to the hospital, in to the waiting room, and there was nobody else there. Even so, I still had to wait five minutes for someone to conclude their conversation and deal with me. Five minutes isn’t a long time to wait, but when you want to get done and take your wife to work, it’s long enough.

The sample was easy, and taken using a syringe rather that all the modern paraphernalia. It didn’t bleed after she removed the needle, which is always a worry, a it suggests the clotting is too good.

I was home for 8am, as the murky grey night slid into a murky grey morning. Typical – the morning I think of photography, there is nothing to photograph. Julia was ready and we set off for work. There seems to be more traffic about again – some days you wouldn’t guess there is a lockdown in progress. It seems from a news article that numbers in schools are up on last time, which suggests that more people are going to work, and probably more are being accepted as keyworkers.

Julia has just been given a letter from work to confirm her keyworker status. She was a key worker working from home in the first lockdown and a keyworker at work for the second. They gave her a badge for that. She’s now a keyworker at work, and she has just been given a letter to prove it. It’s printed on a black and white printer, has handwritten amendments and, quite frankly, looks like  a bad attempt at a forgery.

This is typical of the way the project is managed. Several of the staff who ran for the hills last week, have returned. A cynic might suggest that it’s better than spending time at home with the kids, or that it’s an attempt to make sure they don’t miss out on their vaccination.

Next, I went to the pharmacy to wait in the rain, collect inaccurate prescriptions and try to make sense of the chaos. The electronic ordering system I am compelled to use by the NHS is a lot less accurate than the old one where you used to and pick up a piece of paper. I think I may have mentions (just once or twice) that although change is easy, improvement is hard. I may even have mentioned that “new and improved” systems are often not improved, and sadly are often not even as good as the one they replace. Part of the sorting process was ringing to give the pharmacy a reference number. I must have tried 20 times and the phone was either busy or unanswered.

Not long after I returned home, I missed a call from the doctor and had to ring back. It took twenty minutes, but I persisted as I thought they might be helping to sort out the double cock-up they have made with my prescriptions.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

No such luck. They were ringing to tell me my blood tests were done (they can be very quick when they want to be). I failed. The blood is clotting too well and I have to raise my dose of warfarin and go back for a blood test next week.

That takes me up to 11.30 and gives you a flavour of the day. That is, I think, a good place to finish. It is now just after mis-day and Julia is engaged in her second long work call of the day, despite it being her day off. I’m going to start making noise now, as a sign that we have better things to do.

Monday and Moving Up a Level

I spent the night alternately laying awake or making trips to the bathroom. As I finally drifted off into an exhausted sleep an old alarm clock of Julia’s, which wasn’t actually set and hadn’t been used for years, decided to start working and sounded an alarm at about 5am, then again half an hour later. It will, as a result, never sound another alarm.

Then, at 6.30, having woken up yet again for a bathroom break, I gave up, got dressed, had a glass of water (which apparently makes the blood flow better) and set off for my blood test. The car parking is still free, due to Covid, though I’m not sure how that makes a difference, and the service still suffers from random halts, where they don’t seem to do anything. I was still finished just before 8.00, despite the delays and the need to puncture both arms in search of blood.

I went home, picked Julia up and took her to work. It worked out nicely and we were ten minutes early. That meant I arrived at work in plenty of time, which gave me time to have coffee and read haiku on the computer before starting to pack the eBay sales.

This relaxing interlude made up for the hassle of getting into the shop, as my front door key decided to play up. Once or twice a year it does that. I suspect it is a lock problem rather than a key problem but there isn’t much I can do about it.

The day passed smoothly, I went home, washed up, set a vegetable stew going on the hob and prepared afternoon tea for Julia on her return from work. It was one of my better days as a husband.

The afternoon tea will be the basis for a new scone chronicle soon, but I’m out of practice and it might be a day or two yet. My sister sent us an afternoon tea gift box, which formed the basis of four days of afternoon tea.

Tonight we were told we will be moving up to a Level 3 lockdown, but as I don’t socialise, go to the pub or eat out it is not going to affect me a great deal.

That could be the title of my lockdown memoirs “The Man Who Stayed at Home”.

I’d like to be able to travel a bit more, particularly as it’s seal time soon, and I’d like more reliable access to toilets when we are out, but I’d also like a better computer, world peace and a substantial lottery win. Sometimes you just need to get on with your life and be grateful for what you have.

That Tuesday Feeling

Now that I have Mondays off and my week starts on Tuesday, I find my thoughts about Mondays are increasingly positive and, after two days off, I am also more positive about Tuesdays and getting back to work.

From that point of view I can say that my week got off to a cheerful but belated start.

From the email point of view, I have to report less positive feelings. The recent improvements made to my email system have proved, as usual, to be cosmetic interference and the new system has not contributed to either a better experience or a better temper.

When I switch on now I can only see either two emails (on the netbook screen) or three emails if I use the proper computer. This is much less useful than the old system and I can’t find any way to reset it.

At the weekend I seem to have pressed a button by accident and rearranged my emails by some sort of random reverse date order. It wasn’t exactly reverse date order because I could have coped with that, but old emails kept coming to the top of the pile at random.

Today it seems to have reset the screen size and managed, initially, to prevent me viewing anything apart from fragments of one email title.

This left me with a decision. Do I blog on the Great Classic Lies (‘new and improved’ for instance) or do I blog about the rest of my day?

Or, as I have reached the magic 250 word limit, do I just show a couple of selfies showing you the new masks my sister has made me?

Man in another mask

Man in another mask

She has solved the early design problems by selecting a more masculine fabric and I feel the resulting masks would actually look good with a business suit. The same can’t be said of my head. The backlighting by fluorescent tubes reveals that my head needs a shave and a little theatrical make-up to remove the shine.

The new nose clip design cuts out most of the problems with misting glasses, which is a problem I still get when using a disposable mask.

Last night we had prawn jalfrezi made using a spice kit from Simply Cook. It was very good, despite me having the wrong coloured peppers and slightly wrinkled tomatoes from the back of the fridge.

Having made a mess of the pale blue and white shirt I wore yesterday, I am now reverting to shirts that don’t show food stains. I have an idea for a new fashion range using a red and brown colour palette and a pattern consisting of random blotches. The strap line for my advertising campaign – ‘A Shirt Made for Bachelors’.

The rest of Tuesday was pretty standard stuff. I did think about writing it asll down and leaving it as an historical document for future generations – Tedious Tuesdays – A Study of mid-week in 21st Century Britain – it would be like Diary of a Nobody, but without the drama. In the end I decided that as future generations have never harmed me, I would not inflict it on them.

Nearly forgot – my blood test results arrived in the post today. Yesterday’s blood test was bang on the bottom of the range, but still good enough to get me a new test date in October. That’s a good result.

 

The Day So Far

Summary: Started well but tailed off towards mid-day.

Rose at 6.30, dressed, had cereal for breakfast, drove to City Hospital, found car parking was still free, found a space.

7.15 – took ticket number 16 in Phlebotomy, hummed a few bars of a well known show tune of my youth, and waited. And waited.

13 came out, 14 went in. 14 came out. 15 went in. 16, of course, waited. There was a sound of chatter from the room. A member of staff went in, came out, went back in with a phone, came out, the chatter continued…

I have noticed this tendency for them to introduce random pauses into the system before.

Was finally admitted into the room, which had three staff, five bays, room for ten people (according to the sign on the door) and no patients. Number 17 was allowed in seconds after me, as they had plenty of space.

I was punctured efficiently, donated the required tubeful and left.

Picked Julia up and took her to work, then went to see my jeweller friends for the first time in just over four months. Moaned about business, drank tea.

Went across the road to collect something from the pharmacy. Involved in a disorderly queue which included a deaf man and a wiry-haired dog of indeterminate breed but great character. Had trouble re-crossing the road due to traffic until a young woman in a Nissan Micra stopped to let me cross. Since when have I become an avuncular recipient of charity from young women drivers?

Got home, plotted world domination, thought of my sandwich options for lunch.

Booked the car in for MOT next Wednesday. If my MOT date had been two weeks earlier I would have qualified for the six month extension, but I don’t. Typical of my luck.

Tried to arrange a repeat prescription on-line. Didn’t work. It didn’t work last month either. Rang the surgery who told me to email it, just like last month. Enquired as to why it constantly refuses to work and was told to email a photo in so they can check my identity. Was verging on sarcastic as I pointed out that it would just be the same photo ID that I used when proving my ID last time. Can’t believe it is this difficult to get 100 Warfarin tablets. It would be easier to buy rat poison,

Screwfix sell one ready made into blocks with “culinary-grade wheat flour, chopped grain, soft lard and synthetic peanut butter flavouring”. I’m not known as a gastronome, but that sounds delicious.

I’m still thinking about that sandwich. Maybe toasted cheese…

This afternoon I will write, before picking Julia up from work.

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Yes, it’s actually my writing, though even I can’t read it…

Man in a Mask

I was down at the hospital just after eight and left twenty five minutes later, having seen four people breach what I consider acceptable mask etiquette.

One was a staff member chatting to the woman on hygiene duty at the entrance. No mask, despite the signs. Two was a patient, with his mask pulled down to leave his nose uncovered. The benefits of masks are still debatable, but the benefits of wearing one badly are even less obvious. Third was a receptionist who emerged from the office maskless, but laden with a coffee jar and several mugs. She disappeared into a cleaning cupboard to (I assume) make coffee. They spend all that money building the place and the staff have to make coffee in the broom cupboard. Who designs these things? Finally, as I left a doctor arrived. He took a mask from the table at the entrance and just held it to his face as he walked through the building. Is that the sort of grudging use of a mask you expect from a senior member of staff? Are his ears too grand for elastic? What will he do if he needs to use that hand (the other was grasping an attache case)?

All in all, not a great endorsement for the use of masks or the common sense of the staff.

Meanwhile, back at the blood test, I was stabbed in the arm by a woman who had clearly been taught to use a bayonet rather than a needle. As pain radiated through my body I was glad to note that my arm went dead. Whether that was because she hit a nerve or because the band was tight around my arm, I don’t know. I was just glad to lose the feeling. I have had better testing sessions.

I arrived at work an hour and a half early and started packing parcels. We only had three to do and I then took the selfies I am using with this post and started cataloguing medallions of Edward VIII. Many of them are bland. Some are dull, others anodyne.  And still more of them are boring, uninspired or unremarkable.

Empire Day Medal - Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII

Empire Day Medal – Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII

Some are very interesting but unfortunately many are not. You will learn more, whether you want to or not, as I write my posts on collectables.

At lunchtime we had a customer call, without appointment. She was a nice lady who wore a mask. and sold us some coins her father had put to one side. Some were silver, so she walked away with nearly £50.

Then we had thin man, also with no appointment, who had a copy ancient Greek coin as sold to tourists in happier days. It was worthless and he ejected little blobs of spittle as he spoke. Several fell on my hands. I held my breath and regretted not wearing a mask.

Finally we had a collector who looked at our Saxon coins and bought one before deciding to buy himself a second-hand coin cabinet as a belated birthday treat.

It was a very mixed day.

My sister made my mask. It has a nose clip and is generally an excellent mask, fitting well and being quite comfortable in wear. It is, if I could find any fault, perhaps a mask with a pattern more suited to an aunt, or a coin dealer wanting to get in touch with his feminine side, but it is a minor point.

Julia has just made sausage and mash with carrot and parsnip mash, sprouts and onion sauce – a nice plate of comfort food for the end of a wintry day. I will load the photos and go to eat.

All in all, apart from the stabbed arm and the spittle shower, it has been an excellent day.

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A man in a chintz mask