Tag Archives: nurse

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.

 

The Final Countdown

It’s 9.40 am. I’ve already had my first hospital trip of the week and my time is now my own until 7.30 am on Thursday. At that point (fingers crossed) I should enter the final phase of the operation that has now lasted six weeks. Based on previous experience and the scanty information I was given at the beginning I was expecting it to be over in 3 days. Yes, what an idiot I was.

It is now three days until the operation and seven more before the catheter comes out. I am counting…

Although I’ve tended to concentrate on the urological side of things, as there are ready made elements of pathos and low comedy in that, I’m also been investigated for a range of other problems, all identified on my visit in December.

Take the Great Warfarin Farce as an example. I asked for the tests to be left until I’d finished with the operations but the doctor insisted. It involves visiting a hospital on the other side of town twice a week and eating rat poison. They may call it Warfarin and pretend not to know it has another use but I’ve fed bucketfuls of the stuff to rats over the years. It was first sold as a rat poison in 1948 and as a medicine in 1954. I leave you to draw your own conclusions

I went for my first appointment and I got off to a bad start with the nurse by enquiring why I had to give the same information every time I visited and why they couldn’t store it from visit to visit. She didn’t like that.  To be fair, she probably hears it a lot.

Things worsened when I told her I couldn’t make the next date for testing as I would be in hospital. Basically she called me a liar, and supported this by calling up a copy of my discharge letter to prove it said nothing about part two of the operation.

I suppose she thought I just wore the urinary catheter for fun.

“That,” I said, “is the discharge letter from the emergency admission last week. You need the one from 10th April.”

“Ah!,” she said, “I see.”

However, the operation didn’t happen and I had to stop the Warfarin five days before the next operation. That meant I was on Warfarin for five days.

I’ll cut to the chase – on my last test the nurse, a more practical and cheery individual than the first one – said: “I don’t even know why they started you on Warfarin until after the operation.”

So, I’m off Warfarin at the moment, though Julia has intimated she’s at a point where, if I don’t stop whining about the NHS, she’ll be happy to feed it to me, whatever the nurse may say.