I went to hospital this morning – the (inaccurately named) Treatment Centre at The Queen’s Medical Centre.
After a night worrying about being late I took a taxi and, as you do, found all my fears were groundless. I was then tested for blood pressure, height, weight and my ability to fill a small tube with urine.
I have blood pressure, height and weight, so that went well. The final part was trickier as I’d purposely not had a drink before going to hospital so I wouldn’t have to disappear to the toilet and have my name called in my absence. However, I did manage to provide a specimen, though not with any degree of accuracy.
The doctor then saw me. I had to drop my trousers. I moaned about not wanting to take my trousers down but they still made me do it.
Oh yes, the dignity of an elderly man (I’m dropping all this “middle-aged” nonsense as I’ll be lucky to make 80, let alone the 120 that “middle-aged” implies) comes second to a doctor wanting a look at my terra australis. How a pain in the finger becomes a viewing of my lower extremities I really don’t know.
The good news is that I finally have a diagnosis for the skin problem I’ve had for the last 15 years. It’s definitely psoriasis. This is mixed news. It seems they can possibly do something about it. On the other hand, all that time I spent learning to spell eczema has been wasted. This is all heading towards a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. Or gout. They haven’t ruled that out yet.In fact they haven’t ruled anything out, they have just sent me for more X-Rays and more blood tests. That is why, in the absence of any treatment, I consider the unit to be inaccurately named.
The X_Rays went badly, and involved more dropping of trousers so they could get pictures of my lower back without a zip and belt buckle getting in the way. They also asked me if I could move further up the table. As my head was already touching the wall I had to say no. They also asked if I could flex my knees “like this” (accompanied by a wrenching of my ancient knees). I replied, quite reasonably I thought, that if I was able to flex my knees “like that” I wouldn’t be in need of the X-Rays. Fair point, I thought, but my words seemed to produce a slight drop in temperature within the room.
Then there was the blood test. The Phlebotomy room at the Treatment Centre is the best hidden department I’ve ever seen in a hospital. It has a small sign saying “Phlebotomy” over a solid door with a combination lock on it. I asked about how to gain access and was told to take a ticket from the machine and wait.
It’s like a bollard with some badly sellotaped signage, not at all like the one with the big screen that says “Please take a ticket” at City Hospital.
That’s just over 500 words now so I’ll stop. There were plenty more moans in the day (after all, I’ve only just arrived at 11.30) but I think this sample will do.
I thought the flowers might lighten the moaning mood a little. I’m gradually easing into maximum misery mode.