Tag Archives: blood test

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

From Here to Modernity

A quick view of my day with lockdown observations.

I spent the early hours of the morning struggling with a blog post which I want to write, but which I can’t get right. I had already abandoned one yesterday and though I did manage to post, it was not about the things that were on my mind.

After no more than five hours I rose when the alarm went, made sandwiches, had breakfast and went to the Treatment Centre at Queen’s Medical Centre. Yes, time for a blood test. Parking was tight, as I didn’t get down until 9 am so I parked in a bay reserved for disabled parking. I don’t actually have a blue badge but I do have a walking stick and my knee was playing up. I was wrong, but I’m gradually becoming more selfish in my behaviour as I realise that being considerate just means that you are use as a stepping stone by the greedy self-centred people who actually run the country.

They now want all NHS staff to wear masks when dealing with the public and all members of the public to wear masks in hospitals. I took one with me just in case. I wasn’t asked to put a mask on when I arrived and I noticed that the receptionists and other staff weren’t wearing them. I checked later and this will all happen on June 15th, so they aren’t actually compulsory yet.

The phlebotomist had several attempts on my arms – one in the right, two in the left. She didn’t use the method I suggested, and decided to call a colleague in. There was nothing wrong with her technique but she just couldn’t get it right. I’m not a qualified phlebotomist, but as you may have noted, after the number of blood tests I’ve had I have picked up quite a lot of knowledge whilst being stabbed in the arm.

I was sent out to wait and drink water (which is supposed to make it easier to draw a sample) and they called a second patient in. When I was called through again the second phlebotomist took the blood quickly and efficiently while we all had a laugh about her friend’s failure. I do enjoy my blood-letting sessions – they are the only social life I have these days.

After that it was off to work for five hours in an empty shop. There wasn’t much to do so I cleaned the sink, the computers, the toilet and the door handles. When I went back to the computer I noted that two more orders had come in and then, on finishing those, found that another had come in. Sometimes the days seem to last forever.

I sent a text to the owner telling him we were running low on stationery and then sent another to Julia telling her I was running late, in part due to my co-worker failing to refill the drawers after using all the envelopes from two of them. I added three of those faces with steam coming out of the nostrils to indicate annoyance and sent it. Big, stiff fingers and touch screens are a bad combination and I sent it to the boss. Then I rang him to explain I had meant it for Julia.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

The Post Office was empty, so Social Distancing was a doddle.

Then it was home to try again with the difficult blog post (it still proved difficult) and news that people want to take down the statues of Sir Francis Drake in Devon. He might have done a bit of slave trading, but they all did in those days, so if this continues, we will have to take down all our statues, replace them with images of liberal nonentities and rewrite our history. It was an evil trade, and I make no excuses for it, who does it help to label all historical figures, with hindsight, as evil racists?

It’s all getting a bit like 1984, though of course, that’s a tricky subject too, as George Orwell’s great-grandfather was a slave owner and, if things carry on the way they are going, we’ll soon be burning his books rather than reading them.

That is more or less the subject of one of the blog posts I am finding difficult. I don’t like modern life.

And that was my day.

I am now going to submit my grocery order for tomorrow. An hours struggling with TESCO’s rubbish website on a creaky old computer. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

 

Blood Tests and Bumblebees

We went to the Mencap Gardens today. I took my camera, book, note pad and Kindle with me. I was intending to pass the morning reading, making notes and taking great nature photos before having a picnic lunch and returning home to watch quizzes on TV. It did not, as any married man could guess, work out quite like that.

So how did I find myself holding a hosepipe and watering fruit trees while Julia chatted to the school caretaker and, from time to time, offered advice?

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Bumble Bee on Chives

It started with a blood test. I’m still in the introductory phase of having immunosuppressants (methotrexate) for my arthritis and they are monitoring things to ensure that my liver doesn’t dissolve. Well, something like that. The general advice for people on immunosuppreants in the time of Covid, is, in brief) to keep taking them but take precautions, including avoiding sick people. To help me do this I have to go to hospital every two weeks for a blood test. Yes, that’s right – to avoid sick people I have to go to hospital, a big building full of sick people.

We arrived, I hit a bollard because I wasn’t concentrating, Julia stayed in the car because it seemed sensible, and I started walking towards the entrance. The system has changed. They had security guards a couple of six weeks ago, though they weren’t doing anything. At that point the coffee bar was still operating. Then we had nothing apart from hand gel and a notice. Now, there were members of NHS staff, notices, hand gel and a crowd. One woman was protesting that she was allowed in two weeks ago and sat in the coffee bar to wait for her father. She was told she couldn’t go in, as the system had changed.

Until last week I couldn’t take Julia into the supermarket with me, but I could take her to the treatment centre at the Queen’s Medical Centre. Now the NHS has brought itself up to the same standards as TESCO. It’s a shame they didn’t make these changes weeks ago, but it’s good to know that the NHS now has the same standards of infection control as a budget supermarket chain.

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Magpie – Mencap Gardens

However, having people congregating in the foyer did make it difficult to maintain a six foot distance from everyone, which they hadn’t thought of in designing the system.

After my blood test I had trouble getting out as two people stood in the middle of the floor discussing why only one could go in, and the NHS staff member didn’t think to move them to one side. ON the far side of them a woman hovered unable to get past and preserve a safe distance. She was standing in front of the door I needed to get out. So I waited.

Another staff member asked if I was OK.

“Yes,” I said, “but I can’t get out because there isn’t room to get past people.”

“You could use the door behind you.” she said.

The trouble with these modern glass buildings is that you can’t always tell the doors from the windows.

521 words and I’ve ended up on 35 minutes.

Then I went to the gardens but there is no time to tell you about that.

Pictures are some random shots from the gardens.

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A Nice Day in Mencap Gardens, Wilford, Nottingham

 

An Avocado Day

The day started badly when I woke at 6.20 am and found that my hopes regarding my knee (which had become very painful during the course of the evening) had come to nothing. Despite having rested, it was still painful. Fortunately I had taken a walking stick upstairs and was able to make it to the bathroom without too much cursing.

I took ibuprofen, even though they interfere with the warfarin and went back to bed. I couldn’t find any paracetamol and the ibuprofen gel was, inconveniently, downstairs.

At 8.10 I woke again to find that the ibuprofen had lived up to my expectations and done bugger all to alleviate the pain.

That’s what I find about painkillers these days. The ones you can buy at the supermarket don’t do much to help with the sort of pain I get as old age creeps on, and the ones that work, like laudanum, are out of favour. You can’t read a depiction of Victorian life without tripping over gallons of the stuff but, despite the insistence of the Conservative party on returning to Victorian values, you just can’t get hold of it.

By the time I got downstairs the post had been, as had the bin men, and there was a letter waiting for me from the anti-coagulant service. I have, once again, managed to hit target with my recent blood test and have been rewarded with an appointment in August.

This amazes me, as I have a bad habit of often taking the pills either too late or not at all. My phone sounds an alarm at 8pm and I tend to switch it off with the words “I will have to take my pills in a while.” There are always better things to do at 8pm.

A quick shout out for the posties and bin men here – they are doing a great job keeping civilisation going, but they aren’t complaining and they aren’t getting the thanks they deserve.

We had a TESCO delivery last night at 9pm (because it’s cheaper at that time) and it was much more accurate than the ASDA delivery last week. As a result we were able to breakfast on bacon sandwiches made using croissants and our new supply of brown sauce. Life does not get much better…

I also picked up my new warfarin prescription from the pharmacy and took advantage of that to buy a box of co-codamol. It’s not laudanum, but as I write, ten hours after taking two tablets, I have nothing more than a dull ache in the knee. You are only supposed to take it for a maximum three days but I’ve never needed to take more than a couple of doses before it’s sorted me out. Strangely, despite the three day stipulation, it comes in a box containing enough for four days.

I then made lunch, consisting of sourdough rye bread and avocado – I seem to have become much more middle-class during lockdown – with finely chopped wild garlic leaves which Julia had foraged whilst out walking in the local park.

After that the day became less interesting.

Avocado and Wild Garlic

Avocado and Wild Garlic

Yes, it’s the same picture, but I like to add two photos where I can. Note the square plate, which I always consider a sign of gastronomic sophistication. I bought several in my abortive bid to become a food blogger.

It’s really avocado, wild garlic, coriander leaves (and stalks) and black pepper. The rye sourdough was a TESCO substitution for ordinary sourdough, which, after last week’s bread substitution from ASDA suggests that TESCO is a better supermarket for home deliveries. At least they understand bread.

Blood Test

I went for a blood test this morning, amalgamating two visits (one for methotrexate and one for warfarin) into one, and donating a total of three tubes.

My original plan was to rise at 6.30 and get down to City Hospital for just after 7.00. That was replaced by a second plan, rising at 7.30 and getting down to the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC)for 8.30.

Like my last trip, there was plenty of  parking and no queue.

Instead of tickets from the machine they are using laminated tickets you pick up from reception. Last time I mentioned that I wondered if they cleaned the tickets between uses. I noted this time, that they do. To be honest, today’s tester seemed much more on the ball than the last one.

They couldn’t get anything from the insides of my elbows, so they used something with a needle and flexible tube. This went into my forearm and the tube was screwed onto the end. It’s difficult to describe, but is probably a cannula. I always think of them as having massive, painful needles, but I have checked up and some of them look like the equipment from this morning.Butterfly IV Cannula 21G - Green | Kays MedicalI feel quite faint after looking at that. It wasn’t so bad this morning but I’ve had some really bad experiences with cannulas (or cannulae, if you want to be true to the original Latin).

After that I risked my life by shopping for bread and various other bits. It wasn’t essential, but it eases the pressure on the ingredients cupboard.

Then I went home.

After a late breakfast and a cup of tea I checked to see that I was still waterproof and started to consider my activities for the rest of the day.

This was, as you have probably guessed, fatal.

I had a phone call from the surgery. They had, in turn, had a phone call from the anti-coagulant service to tell them to tell me that my sample had not been acceptable. This usually means that the tube wasn’t full enough, though the filling should be automatic with modern equipment.

They printed me up a new request form, which I had to collect, and I then nipped into the nearby City Hospital for the test. There was no parking. I could have parked further away, but I’m lazy, so, after staring at the new testing facilities. I drove back to QMC.

It all went smoothly, we had a laugh about my second visit of the day and I got stabbed in the arm again.

If I was Richard Curtis this would be the inciting incident for a prize-winning romcom – Four Blood Tests and a Cannula or Blood Actually. These are just working titles, they still need some work.

I was so glad to get out that I can’t even rise to being irritated by the duplication of tests, or the demise of my cunning isolation plan.

I was slightly irritated by the presence of a Staff Testing facility at City Hospital. There were tents, signs, barriers and a Security Guard. There were no cars, no staff and no evidence that anything was happening. The testing regime will, I’m sure, come under scrutiny in the months to come.

As a final note – I saw a dead badger on the Ring Road – the first in over 30 years. You see dead foxes, because they live in town but the badger must have sneaked in as part of the wildlife resurgence. Unlike my projected romcom this is a story that doesn’t end well.

two specimens on gray background

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

 

Better Than Expected

I have to admit that the trip to the Treatment Centre turned out better than expected.

There was very light traffic on the road, though one or two drivers still managed to make a race out of it. Despite the doctrine of Natural Selection there seems to be an endless supply of idiots. I suppose that if the stupidity gene is recessive even sensible people will end up with idiot children. This explains a lot.

When I arrived at the centre there was some parking, which isn’t usually the case, and the barriers were open, so there was no charge. You know what I’m like about parting with money for frippery, so this was good news. As I left the car I noted that it was 8.55.

There were two security guards lurking at the entrance but they were chatting rather than doing anything useful. The ticket machine for the phlebotomy department was not working so they were handing out tickets at reception. I hope they had washed it after it was last used.

There was no queue, I just knocked on the door and the phlebotomist opened it, told me she was going to put her kit on and closed the door. Moments later, dressed in face mask, apron and gloves, she opened the door and let me in.

The vein took some finding, but she hit it first time and took two tubes of blood. Two. They must be doing a lot of tests.

She took 60 blood samples on Wednesday, but only a handful yesterday. She has three kids, and this is making things difficult at the moment, particularly as the older one is now afraid to leave the house. Based on my experience of having just two kids, three must be difficult at any time. I still remember the panic I felt at being left on my own with a baby and a two-year-old. Keeping two of them under supervision at the same time felt like I was in the middle of a real life fox, goose and sack of corn riddle. On top of all that she’s a very competent taker of blood.

After that it was upstairs to the pharmacy. After discussing the medication, yet again, I was handed a bag of pills and yet another booklet. I’m now waiting for the go-ahead to start taking them.

As I pulled out onto the ring road I looked at the car clock – it was 9.18. Allowing a couple of minutes for parking this means I was in and out in 25 minutes. This, I suppose, is an upside to the lockdown.

There were several points, one due to the construction of the centre and three due to people who didn’t understand the concept of six feet/two yards/two metres (one being a member of the medical staff). Note my previous comments on numbers of idiots.

Pictures are, again, from the free library. It’s difficult to find a good one for blood. The bottom picture is a shameless attempt to cheer people up.

animal pet cute portrait

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Not My Best Day

It’s been another flattish sort of day. I spoke to a nurse practitioner from Rheumatology again today. She was not the same one that I spoke to last week and didn’t have any notes relating to what had been discussed last week.

This was disappointing and inefficient, but it’s happened before. I’m trying my best to be nice to NHS staff during this time of stress. Actually, I try to be nice to NHS staff all the time, but they sometimes make it very difficult.

This proved to be the high point of the discussion, which went rapidly downhill. In the end all the points I’d agreed with the other nurse last week were reversed. She did not like me pointing this out.

She also contradicted the advice given by the doctor a few weeks ago – that I should stay indoors and avoid shops – by telling me I was ‘not special’ and could use public transport.

I’m going to carry on being nice to NHS staff, by not covering the whole conversation and not giving my views. She has, she said, come out of retirement to help out during the crisis. Though I am grateful to her for her efforts, I can’t help reflecting that she was trained in the days when the NHS was less concerned with the dignity of the patient, as it is now called.

An example is how they used to administer spinal anaesthetics. I went in about 16 years ago. They made me sit naked on a bed in a room full of staff while they stabbed me in the spine with needles. Last time I went in they allowed me to wear pants and a gown while they stabbed me in the spine through a gap in the back of the gown. Same stabbing, more dignity.

But they still used the same undignified method of inserting a camera into my bladder…

nurse holding syringe

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

 

 

 

Sunday Night Again

Yes, it’s Sunday night again and I’m looking at another week incarcerated in a windowless office with a thousand items of eBay stock and the scent of ancient sweat drifting off a pile of used foreign banknotes. Years ago I was present when a dealer opened a shoebox crammed with used notes from a distant land . The experience of lifting the lid and taking a breath was very much like being coshed with a sweaty football sock crammed with mature cheese. I have been dubious about used foreign notes ever since.

Sometimes they bring back pleasant memories of exotic foreign trips, but mostly they just remind me of that shoebox. That makes me sound like a man who made exotic foreign trips. Actually I only made a couple, and they were for business so they tended to be big on work and light on tourism.

And with thoughts of missed opportunities, I will now turn back to plans for the week.

Tomorrow I am rising at 6.30 to get to the hospital in time to get a parking space and, with luck, a short wait for a blood test. I haven’t been since before Christmas so I’m hoping I hit target as I like it when you get two or three months between tests.

For the rest of the week I have a visit from a tree surgeon, who is going to trim a tree, a visit to charity shops to drop off some books and other clutter, and a trip to the doctor to review medication. Not the most inspiring of weeks. I really ought to add the Power Point to that, because days have a terrible habit of melting away if you don’t plan properly.

I know that the most productive periods of my life have been the ones where I’ve planned them properly, but I’m lazy and tend to let things slide.

I will add “planning” to the list. It’s time to shake off the winter and get to work.

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Sculpture at Scarborough

The pictures are ones I recently found on a camera card I’d mislaid. It’s a sculpture from the seafront at Scarborough, and it’s surprisingly difficult to photograph, as there are always people in the way, looking at it or the information board.

Sculpture at Scarborough

Sculpture at Scarborough