Saturday, April 06, 2019

Waiting for Godot

late night email from my friend:

So glad they didn't find anything wrong. Love Chrissie xxx

That is the best thing that can be said about my yesterday. 

I went to see my lovely GP about a mystery symptom, and because of my history he sent me to A and E with a letter so they could give me tests he couldn't do. It would be unlikely I had the thing he was worrying about but he is diligent and cautious and the consequences of his not sending me (if I did have the thing) could have been death. So I went.

It's a 45 minute drive to the hospital. Dave, who was about to go out on his bike, offered to go with me, but we all know how long you have to wait in A and E and I didn't want him to miss the fine spring day as well, so I declined. I'd be fine. There was no point in both of us having our Friday screwed up.

I checked in at A and E at 12 noon, and I left at 9.30. The staff were wonderful, but the waiting, oh, the waiting. The trouble with going on your own is you have no-one to listen out for your name while you go to the loo. You have no-one to fetch you a cup of tea or a sandwich. I'd only taken a bottle of water, a banana and an apple, so thank goodness for the orderly bringing sandwiches round the Clinical Decisions Unit at 7 p.m.  A girl needs her blood sugar boosting while she's sitting in a busy waiting area directly opposite a huge screen that has pop videos constantly streaming, that thankfully said girl couldn't hear. 

After four hours of sitting opposite that screen I can tell you how ridiculous the dancing and writhing on them is when there's no sound, and how sexualised they are. What we needed was wall-to-wall ballet, or David Attenborough, or a travel programme, or sheep dog trials, or anything, anything other than people doing stupid formation dancing, or writhing on this and that while looking at the camera. Aarghh!

Dave kept ringing me up to ask how I was and what was the news and should he come?  "No, don't come," I said. "I'll be finished soon." 

I wanted to say "I'm tired and fed up and I've got a headache," but it felt inappropriate when someone in a wheelchair opposite me was throwing up, and behind that poor man, there was an old woman with a black eye and a bandaged head.

At 8 p.m. when I was still waiting for a scan, I'd given up hope of ever leaving the place. I imagined being there at 2 a.m. still waiting.

The NHS staff were all lovely - of course - from the A and E receptionist to the nurse who took my blood to the X ray man, the Scan man, the receptionist who surreptitiously fetched me a cup of tea, the gentle, smiling doctor who said of course he was still there at 9.30 p.m. - hadn't he said he'd look after me? 

And I shan't forget the 80 year old patient who shared his Werther's Originals with us all, before the sandwich lady arrived.

Hey ho.

The second best thing about yesterday was Dave arriving in a taxi to come and drive me home. I could have managed if I'd had to, but it was a relief to be rescued. My hero.

I do not have a life-threatening illness, just an annoying symptom, so I'm going to celebrate by riding my bike up the hill to see this little chap:


Sally said...

People's kindness really does help but what a terribly long wait🙁! Still, so pleased to hear that you are ok. Is that a Highland cattle calf? What a cutie😊. Sally

Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks, Sally.
Yes it is a Highland Cattle calf.

Lois said...

Do hope that your mind is at rest after your protracted A & E visit. Pleased to hear about the kindly staff and positive outcome!

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, Lois.
I feel so happy to be alive, to be home, to be in the fresh air, and to have a free NHS. Long may all of them continue.

Anonymous said...

Phew! Good news. Very glad to hear it - all of it - yes our NHS staff are doing their very best under difficult circumstances. Northern General is one of the most depressing hospitals I have ever visited. I believe there is a whole nation of people on our planet, at any one time, sitting in waiting rooms (especially airports but hospitals world wide etc ) If everyone knitted one square on each visit - imagine how many blankets could be made!

Sue Hepworth said...

I love it, Jenetta!
How did you guess it was Northern General ? A centre of excellence except in as far as architecture is concerned. The lack of natural light is so depressing. As we drove out of Sheffield last night and saw the trees - even at night - I immediately felt better.

Anonymous said...

Sue - From Hathersage when our mum was in a nursing home, she was blue lighted variously to Northern General and also to Chesterfield which is why I guessed Northern General, have also visited another family member there. Hurrah too for Dave arriving to drive you home.

Sue Hepworth said...

The default option from here is Chesterfield but I think Sheffield hospitals are tops.

Christine said...

How well I know that feeling after hours and hours in a hospital waiting room. You start to wonder if there really is a world outside.