Friday, 21 August 2009

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then I'll Begin...

Bearing in mind I'd been told to report to Queen Alexandra Hospital at 7.30am on 19th August, come with me now back to the 18th; 'Brrring, Brrring' went my telephone...
They were ringing to tell me I'd been moved to the afternoon list, and should report to St Mary's Hospital at 12.30pm.
Alarm bells rang. 'Are you sure it's St Mary's?' said I, confused. 'Yes, quite sure'. The determined voice on the other end of the 'phone assured me that was the right place. Okay.

I ordered a taxi for 11.45am Wednesday morning, and after a relatively wakeful night, was glad to be on the doorstep at last, waiting for the off...
No taxi. 'Phone firm and nudge 'em. Ten minutes late, taxi arrives and by 12 noon we were sitting in a traffic jam, still in Havant...
Luckily, driver knew a few crafty side roads, alleyways and factory backyards (!) and we headed towards Portsmouth. And met another traffic jam. Driver played a blinder for the second time, and took me on a circular tour through side roads until St Mary's eventually looms.

I enter a door marked Same Day Clinic, as I knew I was there for a day procedure.
'Day Surgery upstairs' said the receptionist.
Take lift up to first floor; approach another receptionist. 'Can't find you on the list', says she. Wave hoards of paperwork under her nose. 'Oh, you want Outpatients', was the verdict. Back downstairs, out into steaming noonday heat, limp across large car park to Outpatients. (I'd been a bit enthusiastic on the old exercise bike the day before, and one knee was showing its age.)
Another receptionist. 'Can't find you on the list', was the verdict. By now I was close to screaming, crying or having an apoplectic fit in frustration, as she then said 'You should be at Queen Alexandra's Hospital.


'Just a moment, I'll go and have a word with somebody', interjected a passing bod who had no doubt picked up on my fraught state.
Eventually I got the good/bad news - ' Yes, you are in the right place, but Day Surgery is in the Main Hospital...the other end of this building.'
Limp like a three legged dog through miles of corridors until, eventually, said 'Day Sugery' signpost restores my faith in human nature. . .
Which plummeted soon after, as there was no free cubicle for me to disrobe in. I was ushered into a nurses office with a couple of chairs, filing cabinets, computer and examination couch. Salubrious. They stuck a yellow Post-It label on the doorframe, with my name inscribed, and two plastic labels on my wrist, one with name, and one to signify 'Allergic to sticky-plaster and plastic.' You figure it out.
By some miracle, my blood pressure was an acceptable one thirty over seventy, which only goes to show what a placid person I am in times of stress.

A nurse and an anaesthetist double checked I was who I said I was, and more importantly, who they thought I was, and a lot more boxes were ticked on multi-coloured forms.
Mr Bevan, consultant, came and said hello and made reassuring noises, as consultants do.

Eventually, I was lead out to a cubicle, curtains were drawn and I put on the latest design in gowns - it had a cross-over back, instead of the old, totally open back - what joy. I then spent the next three hours ten minutes in a waiting room with thirteen others (six patients, including me, and the rest their family members) and waited. And waited. I started the day being first on the list, but ended up last - presumably because I didn't need a full anaesthetic, so would be compos mentis and ready to go home faster at the end of the day. At about quarter to five it was at last my turn to walk to the theatre for my one day only appearance, as you might say.

This was a totally fascinating experience. About eight bodies danced a medical ballet around the room, with me at centre stage. I saw yet another inside portion of my anatomy on a screen, complete with offending polyp, which was removed after a local anaesthetic had been injected, and before the hormonal coil was inserted. And that was me done. Off for a half hour or so in the recovery room next, with another medical ballet troupe dancing attendance, until I was finally wheeled to the lift, and down to the ward where I was fed two rounds of buttered toast, and given a jug of water.

Despite warnings about mobile 'phones, once I was the solitary occupant of the waiting room, I'd rung No. 1 Daughter who was sitting out on Southsea seafront, and she'd made her way to the Hospital to pick me up about half six, so I was home about seven. What a day!

All medics did a great job - don't ever knock the NHS -it was the clerical staff that were lacking in finesse, but all's well that ends, well, eh? Hope you all enjoyed the tale...

(P.S. Just realised this will be my 200th post - seems like a good time to tell all!)


  1. jinksy - how on earth do you do it?!! 200 posts firstly - hurray! that's a lot of writing and thinking. then onto today's crazy tale. i'd have been committed to the psych ward after all of that!! yet you remain calm focussed - even kind!!! good on ya jinksy. you're made of strong and patient stuff!!! have a peaceful evening. no i mean that!!! steven

  2. least your experience with the clerical staff made for an entertaining blog for us! I can't imagine waiting 3 hours with other patients and their families while wearing a hospital gown!

  3. Congratulations on your 200th post. And double congratulations on getting the procedure done and over with. Now do you have to wait till they examine the polph to make sure you are ok, or do you all ready have that information? Hope this procedure works for you. Have a relaxing week-end.

  4. Sorry you had such a stressful time of it but glad that you're feeling ok. Congrats on 200 posts!

  5. Hi Jinsky, oh have I been there, done that and worn the gown.....sorry but I am glad it was you and not me this time. So happy all has worked out well and that you have this procedure done and over with. If your like me you may have to go back next year for more fun. Stay well my friend.....:-) Hugs

  6. jinksy....first of all, I'm glad that you are home...and that the procedure is over with...hoping all is well with you.
    Second, thank you for taking us through the 'ordeal'....clerical uh oh's happen everywhere....I thought perhaps you had flown across the pond to get the procedure done. :))
    I do wish you the BEST....take some rest...take good care of yourself....and......congratulations on your 200th post. I love you.

  7. Yeah! Congratulations. Now, let's not have too many of this kind. You are a calm person; by mid trip, I would have been hysterical, so much so, that full anesthetics would be called for.

    The way you tell, this is funny.

  8. Jinksy, oh my can I relate to this, for wot Mum's been going through. You'd think they'd do better to establish communication between all the clinics and doctors...and all that needless running round. And wot's with the two pieces of toast? Mum had the same after her day surgery( that ended up us being there 11 bloomin' hours! ), but no fluids, as she's on restriction for that...

    And cheers to you on post #200! Hope you're feeling better, anon :)

  9. Enough HiJinks(ies) for one day, eh? That's pretty remarkable about your BP. I tend to be low too, but I might have been rocketing by then.

  10. It always seems such a long day for a short and simple procedure, doesn't it? However, as long as everything went well and you still have the important bits & bobs, as you say...all's well that

  11. Well, what a traumatic tale Jinksy! And how calm you remained in spite of it all, and your blood pressure was ok too. Jim's would have been through the roof! I'm glad whatever it was has now gone and stays gone and that you're back home and on the mend. Take care for a few days. Wonderfully amusing account for us to read all the same!! lol.

  12. Wow.. I do admire your spirit.. you actually manage to narrate this traumatic experience with such a flavor of humor! I read the 'fascination experience' a couple of times over to make certain you did indeed write 'fascinating'!!
    Congratulations on the 200th post!

  13. Hello Jinksy,

    You stayed remarkably calm. I can never understand having an appointment system only to keep folks waiting around for hours! When I had to have a procedure carried out a few years ago, I was given a bowl of soup and a buttered roll. Maybe the budget has been reduced!

  14. Hi again Jinksy! Sorry to hear about the volume trouble with Dame Janet over at my place. It is working fine for me. Have another go and please check to see if the speaker level on the You Tube screen is low or off and the volume on your computer too.

    Re; the Prague print. I suppose we could do that but it wouldn't be an "original" then and we've become used to it over the years!

  15. I hate to say this, but I loved how your described your experiece and your spirit with it! It was like reading a fine book! LOL glad you are home, it's over and you can go on. I hate hospitals and procedures--anything to do with them and I used to work in some!

  16. Having been immersed in the NHS recently, due to aging parents and parents-in-law, I have to say I would never, ever knock them, they did us proud every time and with absolute kindness. The odd individual, occasionally the odd whole department, may have been found wanting at times but so much is asked of them and for such long stretches sometimes.

    Glad, after what sounds a bit of a trying episode, you feel much the same.

  17. Well, I am relieved to hear the medical dance team was properly prepared.

    There are few things that gall me as much as poor administrative coordination, especially in a healthcare setting. It's as if we become utterly powerless when we put on those gowns, and in your case, way before the gown even came on! And what we need is advocacy under these conditions, certainly not incompetence!

    Kudos to you for keeping your cool. I'd have been a puddle.

    Interestingly, I, too, had surgery this week. And I'm limping about myself, having had some offending tissue snipped in my left knee.

    Here's to our speedy recoveries and good health!

  18. There are noticies all over my local hospital telling patients to approach the secretary if you've not been seen after half an hour. You'd have broken a record for the times you'd have needed to have a word there!

  19. I'll bet you're glad that dance is over! Congrats on keeping your blood pressure at a reasonable level; I would have been blowing steam, I fear. I do so much detest ineptness in anything. Thank goodness the actual medical team was doing the right thing.

    Congrats on your 200th!

    Love yesterday's poem!

  20. Well congrats on being polypless and on your 200th post!

  21. Glad it went well. Take care and roll on the 500th blog...

  22. Thank you for describing your experience with NHS. It helps me consider the various stories being regaled in US about our health care debate vs. England and Canada NHS. Being a retired medical professional and now with various health problems, I've had similar, but rare, problems in an entirely different pay for service health system.

    My husband, and a half-brother, are treated within our Veteran's Adm. health system; the so-called end of life counseling happened to my half-brother concerning a very bad heart. He was sent home to die in 3 to 6 months, told to get his affairs in order, plan his funeral, and even set up an appointment with the VA hosp. chaplain. He was told there was no more they could do for him. Now it is surfacing the same pattern of service is being written into proposed law. It would seem our veterans deserve better.

    He went to a private medical center which did a relatively simple surgical procedure within two weeks and has no death sentence. He certainly does have a very bad heart, but only God knows his day of death, or MINE.

  23. Congrats on the 200th, of course, but more so on the outcome. Hate to lose someone as nice as you to a random polyp :-)

  24. I had to laugh at Steven's "crazy tale" comment...

    AND, are you saying you sat in the beautiful gown in front of other people???

    Well, I'm glad it's over for you!!! ♥

  25. These clerical mixups do not help the image of the NHS in crisis, Jinksy. So glad all is well with you.
    I am hoping that my apoinment with a great Panjandram goes without a hitch on the 25th of this month, especially do not want to me sent for miles along souless corridors having, as I know I shall have to-walked at least a mile from the car-park having found the only slot-for which I shall have to pay-to be at the furthest outpost of hospital grounds.

  26. You made a not so pleasant procedure into an adventure. Good writing. And glad all is well.

  27. You had me at Queen Alexandra (a name I shall now ask to go by)!

    Sorry for all your trouble, but glad everything came out okay in the end. {Get it?... The end?}

    Anyway, congratulations on your POTD mention from David McMahon. It's a well deserved honor.

    Alixandra Hice

  28. The clerical surgery workers should be demoted for being absent minded without gauze.


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