Tag Archives: Hospital

Wednesday Morning

I went to hospital this morning and parked up under the treatment centre. I spent the best part of an hour writing and watching life pass me buy then stuck a mask on and went in. The reason for the hour’s wait was because I wanted to get there while there were still spaces left.

By the time I walked into the entrance there were still spaces left – another great plan that didn’t quite work out. However, it wasn’t wasted time as I did quite a lot of writing. And compared to taking a taxi, I saved £12.

The sheet of questions you used to be asked about Covid has been reduced to a simple “Any Covid symptoms?” from a bored receptionist. This is quicker, but less reassuring.

By the time I left I had a lump of “putty” and two sheets of hand exercises. I am so looking forward to doing something like 20 exercises, each with ten reps and each at least twice a day. That’s going to be… (sound of wheels turning and gears clunking… a lot…

I’ve just ordered a couple of plastic gadgets to pop my pills out of the packets for me and, more importantly, to catch them for me. I tend to drop a lot due to declining dexterity.

I’ve also looked up my grip strength to compare it to the average. Seems that even with arthritis my grip strength in my dominant hand is strong. The non-dominant hand score is about two thirds of the other, but still good. I’m surprised at the size of the difference, though I couldn’t use one of my fingers on that hand. I’m feeling a bit better now, as I have been feeling pretty decrepit lately.

We went out for a coffee after I returned home, then went to Hobbycraft for Julia to buy things. Nothing much of any importance occurred but judging from my fellow drivers it was National Leave Your Brain at Home and Drive Like an Idiot Day, particularly for those driving 4x4s. Not one of them, it seems, can plan their route 50 yards in advance, with the result that I have to be barged to one side to allow them access to the lane they need.

While we were out we found a charity bin that takes books. It was nearly empty so all the books from the boot of the car went in there. I’m giving some specialist books to one of the customers on Saturday, so will have got rid of several hundred this week. It’s sad, but necessary.

 

 

 

A short walk and a short post

This morning I took the car down to the garage for servicing and MOT and walked back. On the way I composed a haibun in my head. This afternoon I will make the reverse trip and return with a heavy heart and a light wallet. I will compose a lament on the drive back.

When I returned I carried on with the reading and replying that I started last night. I particularly enjoyed this one, which led to me finding this.

I have had a telephone consultation with a nurse practitioner at the Treatment Centre and she has ensnared me with another blood test. I thought I was free of them for a month or two. Ah well. My pills will be ready for me too. After that they will release me to the care of my GP. They haven’t been distinguished for their efficiency recently so I’m not looking forwards to this.

If you will excuse me, I really need to write down the haibun while it is still in my head. They do tend to melt away these days unless I am careful.

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Oak Tree – Quercus Robur

A single oak tree can support over 400 species – the most biodiverse plant in the UK.

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

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

 

A Quiet Day

I went to Hospital this morning, back to the Treatment Centre. It went better than the last visit, as I was given treatment and was allowed to keep my trousers on.

The treatment consisted of injecting steroids into my troublesome knuckle. I wish I hadn’t bothered reading the article myself, as I hadn’t realised all the potential problems. I naively thought that the worst thing about the injection was that someone had to ram a needle into the space between two finger bones.

It seems that I was wrong. There is a list of possible side effects, including infection, bleeding and the risk of tendon rupture. It is for that last reason I was advised not to perform strenuous activity for the rest of the day. I’m not clear what strenuous activity I might have to carry out with my little finger, but I avoided it anyway and drank my tea without crooking my little finger.

I will try to remember to take a picture of my heavily bandaged finger later. If there is ever a competition for the most out of proportion dressing I may be in with a chance.

That’s really all I’ve done today. Get ready for the hospital, go to hospital, avoid strenuous effort.

I’ve had worse days.

 

Whining Wednesday

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.

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It’s a flower – how should I know what sort?

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.

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This one might be an anenome

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.

Machine?

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.

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Rudebekia – I know that one

 

 

 

 

Easy as a Monday Morning

On Friday I experienced an uneasy feeling, which grew through Saturday as I realised that I probably had a blood test this morning. I say “probably” as I had neglected to make a note in my diary and I had mislaid the letter giving me the next date.

Eventually I found the letter (which also counted towards my decluttering quota) and confirmed that I did indeed have a blood test this morning.

In the manner of these things, the plan suffered a set-back. I woke at 6.15, summoned by my bladder and then went back to my nice warm bed bed. That meant that instead of leaping into action at 6.30 I hauled myself out at 6.45 and the whole day started slower and later than intended.

There wasn’t much of a queue and the phlebotomist hit the vein first time. I bled well after they removed the needle and I’ve had no panicky phone calls so I’m presuming all has gone well.

As I left the hospital I noticed that the day was much lighter than it had been three weeks ago for my last test. Spring is definitely on the way.

I’ll leave out the boring bits – parcels, swearing at other drivers, TV – the normal stuff that makes up my life.

Tonight we had the beef stew I’d meant to cook last night. (We ended up with frozen veggie burgers due to time constraints). It turned out reasonably well despite my normal cooking technique of chucking stuff in and seeing what happens. I keep meaning to learn how to cook properly, but I never get round to it.

It’s cottage pie tomorrow. I made it while I was doing the stew. It’s good to be a day ahead.

That’s about it for today. Nothing interesting happened and I have 23 minutes left to post.

 

Thursday, Bloody Thursday

This being Thursday I went for a blood test. They are currently taking blood fortnightly and last week, to be honest, after several months of weekly tests, I felt like something was missing all morning.

Today’s appointment was 9 am, which was unusual as they are normally around 11. It looked like I was going to get a lot of Christmas preparation done today, which was good because I have a long list from my beloved.

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, as Robert Burns said, Gang aft agley. 

I was seen on time, but after two goes at getting a sample from the right arm the nurse decided to ask a colleague to have a go at the left. As if by magic the colleague appeared just as the phone was ringing.

“Ha!! exclaimed my nurse, “it must be ESP.”

But it wasn’t. The other nurse had bent down to pick up a piece of paper and her back had locked, so she was coming through to ask for help in taking blood from her patient.

Eventually we secured the services of a third nurse.

She had a go in the left arm, admitted defeat and instructed me to go to the City Hospital phlebotomy unit. That’s a word that’s just crying out to have a poem written around it. So I drove home, had a glass of water, as recommended by the nurses and went to phlebotomy.

These days you take a ticket, just like a delicatessen counter at the supermarket.

Mine was A161.

The screen flickered on as I sat down and a bored robotic voice called ticket number A149 to Bay 1. The woman next to me let out a great sigh. I would later find out that she had the ticket before me.

The difference was that I had a book and she didn’t. As I learned about the currency reforms of Henry VII she carried on muttering and shifting in her seat.

After what seemed like quite a short time I was in a chair with a young woman in a red coat (dyed, rather than blood stained). I can see that a red coat is practical but it did make me think back to the days of the barber surgeons. We discussed my previous history of unsuccessful blood sampling (this isn’t the first time I’ve been sent to hospital after the Practice Nurses found it tricky) and she set to work.

One prod of the arm, one puncture and, seconds later the sample was in the tube.

To be fair to the Practice Nurses they do a lot of different things whereas the phlebotomists are specialists in taking blood. It’s all they do. Smile, stab, label the sample and start again. It must be very dull. I’d be tempted to do it wrong just to relieve the boredom.

As I left the hospital I noted the time.

11.00 am.

Just goes to show that some things are meant to be.

 

All Went Well

Well, that was easy.

I arrived in plenty of time, sat down, opened my book and was called through before I’d had time to read the first page.

Of course, they didn’t want me, they just wanted to move me to the next waiting area. This was crammed with men of a certain age, mostly with a slightly haunted air. This was due, I found out, to the next instruction.

“We’re going to do a flow test today, so I need to ask you to have five or six glasses of water.”

She pointed to the water fountain and left me to it. The slightly haunted air of my fellow drinkers was now explained. Take a man with a dodgy bladder, fill him with water, and it’s not exactly a recipe for comfort and jollity.

I was able to read plenty more of my book, though I wasn’t exactly able to concentrate as the water worked its way through.

Eventually, as I was beginning to feel a touch urgent, I was called through by the consultant.

All is good.

He turned out, despite his formidable qualifications and reputation, to be a warm and charming man with a sense of humour. This is not, as I have discovered over the years, always true of consultants.

He discharged me, told me to see the GP about the disturbed nights, thanked me for my patience and shook my hand.

I shook back then made off in search of a toilet. I may have avoided the flow test, but I still had six glasses of water to unload…

 

 

 

 

In Just Under an Hour

In just under an hour I will be in hospital being prodded and questioned.

I’ve run through it all in my head and hope I have enough answers ready to avoid them following up with more pills or tests. I already rattle when I walk too fast and am still having dreams of long corridors from my last three month session of intensive prodding.

Recently, I have started daydreaming about hospital food. I’m wondering if it may be a form of Stockholm Syndrome. I do hope not, because spending more time in hospital would definitely be the wrong treatment…

When I was in hospital twelve years ago the procedure which now takes a day and a half used to take three or four. It was much more restful and they used to take the catheter out before sending you home.

There are advantages to the new industrial system – probably more people seen, and definitely less chance of becoming ill from something you pick up in hospital.

There’s another thing I noticed – when I was in for three days I was glad to get out.When I was in for four days I was resentful at being sent home on Irish Stew day. I’d been looking forward to that stew.

Ah well, time to go.

Wish me luck.