Tag Archives: NHS

Another Senior Moment

When I had a look at the last post, before going to bed, I realised it wasn’t there. I vaguely remembered that it had flashed up on the screen while I was doing something else and I think I probably deleted it at that point. I’m sure there should be a single button to restore it, but I couldn’t find it and had to reload it bit by bit. This is annoying.

It’s annoying because I had another senior moment, it’s annoying because I had better things to do with my time and it’s annoying because out there on WP there are probably people thinking “Does that idiot really think a picture of banknotes is a proper post?”

No. I don’t. And the worst bit of it is that the best I could do was American money. I live in a country where you can’t even get a decent banknote picture of my own currency. I do have a few somewhere, but there’s not enough money to be a suitable picture for an article about being  a millionaire. Or, in my case, not being a millionaire. Again.

The electronic prescription service, which I distrust, has failed me and I have had no text to tell me I have pills to pick up. It already takes two days longer than doing it manually, and now the system is even more delayed because it seems to have crashed. I will say no more, but I am very disappointed.

The pharmacy has a score of 2.7 out of 5 on Google, despite a few people giving it five with no further comment – looks like staff trying to boost the rating.One reviewer actually said he would have given it 0 out of 5 if he could have done. Thinking of it, that means it would score 1 out of 5 even if it was the worst place in the world.

If they think you order the pills too far in advance they won’t let you have them. If you order them just in time, the system breaks.

Of course, if they lose your paper prescription, as they did a few months ago, they ask if your memory is up to scratch. That’s why I’ve started keeping notes.

At this rate it looks like I might have to try keeping notes about how to work WordPress too.

Just two library shots for this one – a man writing and time passing. What sort of blogger can’t even be bothered to take his own photos?

brass pocket watches

Photo by abdullah . 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

 

 

 

Appointments, Complaints and Click & Collect

I can smell pasties. They are warming rather than baking in the oven, because I bought them instead of making them. In the end they will still taste good and it has saved time.

I couldn’t bake at the moment even if I wanted to. I do not have enough flour. I did have some on order for my Click and Collect run tomorrow, but I see they have cancelled it because they have run out.

It looks like I will be shopping in person next week because I cannot get a delivery or a Click and Collect slot for the next three weeks. Looks like I’m going to have to disguise myself as a pensioner again and see what is on the shelves. They cancelled my broccoli too, and the antiseptic wipes. It’s not much of a service really, even on the rare occasion when you can get a slot. Tomorrow I have to drive to the opposite side of town to do my shopping, but as it limits my contact to one shop assistant in a car park rather than dozens of shelf stackers and pensioners in the shop, I’m prepared to put up with the inconvenience.

Julia had an email last week, telling her she had an appointment with the doctor today at 11.10. She rang just after the email to query it but the receptionist said that the appointment had been entered on the system by the doctor herself and (a) she couldn’t tell Julia what was about or (b) why it was necessary to go to the surgery. You could probably have added (c) couldn’t be bothered to find out. To be fair they seem to be working with just one receptionist these day, so she probably didn’t have time to do anything else.

A few days later I had a letter from the hospital telling me that my telephone appointment with rheumatology had been brought forward and that I had to be at the hospital for 10.45 on Thursday morning. This arrived on Saturday so I had to wait until today to ring and check.

We obviously weren’t happy with these appointments as there’s no point in self-isolating if you get called out by the NHS to mingle with all manner of sick people.

We were on the point of leaving for Julia’s appointment when the phone rang.It was the doctor.

“Oh!” Said Julia, “I’m just setting off for the appointment now.”

This puzzled the doctor, who thought she’d arranged for a telephone appointment. Clearly, there is room for improvement with the system.

I then rang the hospital. It took me over twenty five minutes to get an answer as everyone passed me on or avoided picking up the phone. Eventually I did get an answer, the letter was a mistake and they would phone me to conduct the appointment.

So again, a system that isn’t working. It’s difficult to understand how, having sent me one letter with a telephone appointment, they didn’t just reprint it with the new details. This isn’t really a problem due to the coronavirus, it’s a problem with basic inefficiency.

However, I smiled and thanked everybody as they passed me on. They have enough problems without me grumbling and complaining.

But it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to grumble and complain on here – if we’d left five minutes earlier than planned, or if I’d just turned up at hospital what would they have done then?

Just to make my day worse the card reader on the computer packed up. I really don’t know why they can’t build one that lasts. Camera manufacturers seem able to build durable systems, why can’t computer manufacturers?

Fortunately, the pasties and ratatouille were good, and the rhubarb and apple crumble was excellent, so it all turned out well in the end. There is little that can’t be improved by the addition of fruit crumble.

Sorry about the lack of photos – I took an easy shortcut and duplicated a couple of recent shots.

Caller Number Two

I am currently Caller Number Two in the surgery system. I have been Caller Number Two for the last ten minutes. I know this, because they keep telling me, and thanking me for my patience. It’s very irritating. The only good thing about it is that it cuts off the twangy music.

They tell me my place in the queue several times a minute and tell me they are currently experiencing a high volume of calls every minute. At least they are grateful for my patience.

I’ve now been waiting about 12 minutes. The music has changed several times. but my position in the queue has not altered.

My patience is, I admit, being tried.

I’m beginning to worry that I’m stuck in electronic limbo. Or that Covid 19 has ripped through the nation and that Julia and I are the last two survivors of the human race. It could happen. Assuming that the TV stations are on automatic it could be several days before we noticed they were repeating all the programmes (let’s face it, most of the stuff is repeated ad infinitum at the best of times) and we wouldn’t know until we went shopping.

I’ve been in the house for the best part of 96 hours now and I’m relying on my computer calendar to tell me what day it is. I could actually be the last man on Earth. If I am, the apes are welcome to it. I don’t have the energy to fight them for it.

Ah! Number One. I’m Number One!

I don’t remember being as excited as this for a long time.

And suddenly, I am connected. There is no human voice, just crackling. Am I through to a disease-ravaged room of death, where skeletal hands clutch crackling, endlessly unanswered telephones?

No, there is now a human voice. Ninety seconds later my business is concluded and I am happy. All is right with the world and I have a texted barcode to enable me to pick up my prescription.

It took 21 minutes according to my phone timer. As I sprang from being 2nd to 1st very quickly I can only assume that the original two callers spent ages on the phone. There is, as I recall, an Edgar Wallace story about a murderer who killed someone by sending an electric shock down a telephone (my memory is dim, but I know a telephone was involved). Maybe the NHS should look at that as a way of cutting down on telephone waiting times.

Anyway, I can now go and pick up the prescriptions.

If I could only get rid of the twanging music in my ears…

 

A Journal of the Plague Year – Revenge of the Pangolin

This shutting up of houses was at first counted a very cruel and unchristian method, and the poor people so confined made bitter lamentations.

Daniel Defoe “A Journal of the Plague Year” (1722)

Of course, Defoe didn’t know as much science as we do, and probably knew nothing of pangolins, but he did know about people. It seems from the line quoted above, that people don’t change that much. It also appears, despite generations of scientific discovery, that we don’t know much more about controlling pandemics than we did in 1665 (the Plague Year of the title).

According to the link above, pangolins have been ruled out as the source of the Covid 9 outbreak, which is a shame, as it would be a good example of cosmic justice. It might also have taught us a lesson about how to treat nature.

As an aside, I have a thought about pangolins. Why not develop a pangolin which, with the help of genetic engineering, is either poisonous when eaten by humans or explodes when stressed? The latter suggestion is probably the more messy of the two, but would help to stamp out poaching.

Can you imagine the look on a poacher’s face as his head flies through the air after he attempts to capture a stressed pangolin?

Our day has mainly been about the medical profession. Julia rang the surgery this morning to check arrangements for her latest round of tests and was told that she had cancelled the appointment by text. She hadn’t. I know this because she’s been worrying about this test since she had the previous tests in hospital. I suspect that someone in the surgery has been messing about.

We have to go down on Friday now, ring the surgery from the car park and meet someone with a blood pressure machine at the door of the surgery. That result, I’m fairly sure, is going to be high.

Julia is still struggling to sign up on the NHS app and I’m still struggling to actually download it. I suspect the system is buckling under the strain. The NHS is not known for its up to date computer systems. If you remember, it’s only a few years since the whole system collapsed and revealed quite how bad things were. At that time their IT system was worse than mine.

All that took several hours, though it’s not like we’re short of time.

The featured image is books – I like books. They calm me down.

 

 

 

An End to Alliteration

I missed my self-imposed deadline last night – it was just past midnight when I posted. Only about seventeen minutes past, but enough to make a difference.

We’ve decided to leave the seals today, as we’re still waiting for a call from the builder and the current weather isn’t looking good. Maybe next week…

The rain is back and the temperature is rising. This is good news for those of us who live on a windy ridge but less good for people who live in low-lying places.

Generally, the world is a miserable place, and the UK is particularly bad at the moment because we are in the middle of an election and everyone on TV seems to be talking down the NHS. At the moment the fashion seems to be for bringing students into discussions about workloads on their work placements. I’m not sure students are the best people to comment on workloads.

Having worked in agriculture and been self-employed for many years I have a slightly different view on pay and hours compared to many of the people who come on TV.

I don’t want to come over like a Yorkshireman here, but  I used to work six days a week and don’t think it damaged me.

Yesterday I read an interesting piece in the paper. It’s by Jane Garvey, a presenter with the BBC. It is about the gender pay gap at the BBC. The headlines of the case make juicy reading, with men paid a fortune and women lagging far behind. However, it’s not the full story. For one thing, the full pay is not always disclosed, as they do other things on the side. For another, as was mentioned by a male presenter at the time, he was paid more than his female counterpart because he did more work, including working on Saturday and Sunday doing the football reporting.

Anyway, she is paid about £150,000 a year according to various reports, something she fails to mention in her writing. Her contention is that by being paid less than her male counterparts she is having to lead a lesser lifestyle both now and in retirement. You can’t argue with that.

However, let’s look at it another way.

She’s paid £150,000 a year, which puts her in the top few percent of people in the country, and she earns it sitting in front of a microphone.

Many people, including me, would love to be paid £150,000 a year. In fact I’d love to be paid £70,000, which is officially rich. Or even the median pay of £25,000.

Julia would merely like to work somewhere warm with running water and electricity.

I’m not sure if the gender pay gap is the main problem we have here.

(And yes, there are people all over the world who would like running water and electricity, so I ought to be counting my blessings, not whining.)

Sorry Tootlepedal – it’s a flawed, fatal failure of a non-alliterative title today. I did think about doing a post about an egregious example of an egg salad, but I didn’t have enough to say.

Robin

Robin

 

Blood, toil, sweat and sweetheart brooches

Today started well when I had just a short wait to have my arm stabbed. The blood flowed well and I was able to et out and get Julia to work in plenty of time. I’m hoping the free flow of blood indicates that it is going to give me another five or six weeks before the re-test. Tomorrow’s post will tell.

We will spool forward to my recent telephone conversation with the doctor. It seems that while testing for the arthritis consultation they took it upon themselves to test for liver function using a new test they can now do.

So, I had a test done for something we hadn’t discussed, for a condition I’m showing no symptoms of, to get a result that isn’t germane to the current issue so that I can be investigated for a result that isn’t any cause for concern and that isn’t going to cause any problems.

Meanwhile, I still have trouble dressing myself because of the arthritis in my fingers and would like to get that sorted before winter sets in.

But that doesn’t matter because they have a new test they can do for something that’s more interesting. I’ve agreed to have a scan because I was so tightly wound up by this point that I was on the point of being rude, and I’ve been brought up to be polite. I also don’t believe in being rude to people who may have to check my prostate at some time in the future.

But I am not happy.

On  a brighter note, Number One son will be home tonight. He’s having two nights in Nottingham then going up to Leeds to look for a job. This is good as we get to see him and discuss his trip, then we get rid of him. This, despite what Julia may think, is the natural cycle of life. You are born, you grow, you get a job, you leave home and pay your own bills. Then it starts over again. You settle down, you have kids, you moan about their effect on your finances…

The grandparents turn up and get them excited, give them fizzy drinks then go home and leave the consequences. I’m looking forward to that bit.

In the middle of all this, I had a delivery in the shop.

My military sweetheart collection is progressing in a shaky and uncertain manner. Like all my collections it is under-financed, under-researched and badly neglected. I’ve decided to put a bit more structure into my collecting. With the sweethearts I’m going to start looking at eBay a couple of times a month and buying something that seems  reasonably priced. If I don’t find anything it doesn’t matter. If I do, it will be a bonus. If I buy one item a month for the next ten years that will be 120 extra brooches for the collection.

Last week I bought a lot of brooches from eBay consisting of six pieces. I therefore stuck to my principles (just about) but managed to add five to the collection – one, I think, is destined for the swaps box. They have a definite Scottish theme to them with four out of the six being Scottish Regiments.

They are a sort you don’t often see – made to look like a hanging banner by folding celluloid over a pin. I suspect they were cheap at the time and , because they don’t look like jewellery, they didn’t survive in such numbers as the more durable and attractive metal ones.

At 600 words that’s more of a memoir than a post, so I’ll let you go now. Thanks for sticking with it so long.

A Hectic Day

I’ve agreed a course of action with the dentist (who tried to avoid doing the work). I’ve had this before with dentists – I don’t think the National Health payment scheme encourages them to do too much.

I’m back in a few weeks to start the treatment and am hoping to keep the old crowns. It will be useful to have some gold when the western banking industry collapses.

It was a case of grabbing a quick breakfast after that (I don’t like eating before dental work as the job must be bad enough without seeing the remains of my breakfast stuck in the gaps.

We had a full, possibly over-full, day in the shop and I found my abandoned half cup of coffee still in the cupholder. The day was so warm that, if anything, the coffee was hotter at 4.30 this afternoon than it had been when I’d left it at just after 10.00 this morning. I may have discovered a new way of cooking.

We’re off to drop Number Two Son at Manchester  airport tonight. He’s staying over overnight as he has to be at the airport for 6am tomorrow.

Number One Son is leaving tomorrow – he’s flying on Saturday. By Monday both kids will be thousands of miles away.

Julia is a bit subdued about the whole empty nest thing so I’m trying to be supportive,

I’m not sure it’s working as she just told me to stop smiling so much.

 

Close to Last Glimmering - Sherwood, Notts

Now fades the glimm’ring landscape…

I nearly caused a riot this morning.

Arriving at the hospital for my repeat blood test at 6.58 I went to the machine and pressed the button for my ticket. There were a few comments from people already waiting, though I didn’t really listen. When I turned round there was a whole crowd behind me jostling and muttering like a crowd of zombies.

It seems that the machine doesn’t switch on until 7am so they all sit there, mentally forming a queue until they can get a ticket.

All they needed to do was ask – as soon as I understood what was happening I handed my ticket over the the man who was “first” in the queue. Even after I did that they kept on muttering. It was very tempting, particularly in one case, to administer a swift tap of the forehead  – being backed up against a wall can have that effect on a man.

I made a mistake. It’s easily corrected. There was no need for a lynch mob.

Due to this I now know what the man in the Bateman cartoon feels like.

It seems the hospital keeps the machine off until 7am to stop the problem of people queuing at 6am – an hour before the session opens.

I didn’t realise there were so many people desperate to have blood tests.

It didn’t really save a lot of time turning up at that time, as I ended up seventh in the queue, which is pretty much the result I get when I go down at 7.15, but at least I was able to get home, pick Julia (and a lot of surplus art supplies) up, and get them all down to Mencap in plenty of time to start work.

The NHS, as I pointed out when being summoned for this second test, seems to think we don’t have other things to do in our lives.

The blood tester, incidentally, denies not filling the tube properly, despite her suspiciously lengthy perusal of it yesterday. Her evidence – she always uses a syringe so has plenty of blood to fill a tube. I didn’t argue, but yesterday I had multiple tests and she used three tubes on the vacutainer, with not a syringe in sight.

After dropping Julia off I went to work to bore myself to death. It rained heavily on the flat roof and was dark when we left.

The photographs are from yesterday, tonight was too dull for a decent photograph.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Last Glimmering…

 

A Gift from the NHS

This has truly been a week that keeps on giving. A curry, a nosebleed, new trousers and, finally, a booklet on bowel cancer from the NHS.

I think I’ve covered the curry and the new trousers. I’ve probably covered nosebleeds too, as I have several every year. I may have to have it seen to.

That just leaves the bowel cancer. I don’t really need the stress of being told I’m at risk of bowel cancer, as I’ve already had this pointed out a number of times. Nor do I need additional details on taking stool samples, reasons for false positives and how I’m at greater risk due to my weight.

I’m always at greater risk of things because I’m fat.

Greater risk of cancer, greater risk of heart disease, greater risk of running out of chocolate…

It’s possible I may be asked to do as many as four tests before they decide they need to have a look at my bowels.

That’s not a test, it’s a way of taking up more of my time than the NHS already does. Having fully explored the potential of one embarrassing orifice (see the posts from 12 months ago) they now want to shove a tube up another one.

It’s bad enough being 60 without all this.

I’m so annoyed that I can’t even begin to think of other things just now. This is a shame, as I have many other things to talk about.

If you are involved in the NHS I would just like to leave you with one thought – why not leave this sort of thing a month or two instead of diving in while I’m still getting used to being older than I would like.

Actually, two thoughts. You’ve never yet made me better when you’ve called me in for these age-related examinations – you’ve just added to the list of things that are wrong with me. I can do that myself thank you.