I was a bit suspicious last week when I received a poorly constructed letter of appointment to attend the hospital for my second Lithotripsy session.
There was a lot of stuff about nil by mouth from midnight the day before, my appointment was for 2 o clock on Monday afternoon, so considering I last ate at 5 on Sunday afternoon, it was going to be a long haul.
I'm quite obedient when it comes to following instructions from the medical profession, but like I said, I was a bit suspicious, because the letter for the first session said nothing about nil by mouth and all the research I did online about Lithotripsy suggested that as this is non invasive, abstinence is not necessary.
I planned to bring it up at the hospital, as to me, the letter looked like it had been cobbled from a template. It requested I confirm attendance, but gave no contact numbers or e mail address to comply with the request. I responded by letter.
Staff nurse Jess asked me to arrive early last time, so I could have an X ray and be on time for this appointment where they could decide whether further treatment was necessary. Did this and fell foul of a long wait, because lots of people were on lunch. Like myself, there was a tired looking Jamaican bloke sitting in the waiting room in the flimsy cotton gown they give you.
40 minutes passed and I went in for my X ray which took all of five minutes to complete. Off to the waiting area for Lithotripsy, it was a quarter to 2. Saw the Jamaican guy again.
2 o clock came and went, as did 2:30 so on... The thing that puzzled me was traffic through the CT scanner suites, Fluoroscopy etc was brisk, but all through my period of waiting, I didn't see anyone go in or come out of the Lithotripter unit, patients or staff alike.
I gave it til 3 o clock and waddled down to the reception in my flimsy gown and white socks. Politely, I said to the lady that I was just looking for some reassurance that there was going to be some Litho action that afternoon. She looked a little fearful and sheepishly said "there's a problem". She couldn't say what, but said she'd been in touch with the urology team and someone would come down to see me.
No one came til 3:30 when the waiting area which was chilly and subject to an easterly wind that had made the Jamaican fellow beg a blanket, was graced by two "administrator" types.
They announced clinic had been cancelled, but they could offer no more information until a full investigation was carried out. I had one question. If clinic was cancelled, why weren't the patients of the clinic which included me, been alerted to the fact saving us the time, expense and trouble of travelling to the hospital, let alone sitting around in a less than dignified state in a very public area.
She had no answer, so I got up and waltzed off towards the changing room where I dressed and left for home.
Regulars here will know that I am a staunch supporter of the NHS and I know fuck ups happen, but there would have been a point during that day when it became apparent the bloke who was pushing the buttons on the Lithotriptor, was AWOL and therefore Lithotripsy was off today's activity list.
I shall await the letter of apology and new appointment and if it says anything about nil by mouth, teddy will be out the pram.
By the time I left, it had been 22 hours since food or liquid had passed my lips. As a diabetic, I rarely suffer lows in my glucose levels, but I was feeling tired, irritable and light headed.
My mood was partially fuelled by the ineptitude I'd encountered. A mood not helped by the information board at University station, due to signal failures, trains cancelled right left and centre. Magically a rather posh train on its way to Nottingham stopped. It was rather crowded, but all trains stop at Birmingham, so I hopped on. I was still there 20 minuted later, obviously some more fucking signals had failed.
Got to Birmingham and I'd a twenty minute wait for the train to Walsall. Gagging for a drink, I dipped in to the in station pub, a filthy dive at the best of times. Ordered a pint of Heineken for which they charged £ 4.25. Heineken is not a premium strength lager, I reckon you pay less than three quid a pint anywhere (but New Street). This did not go down well with me.
Neither did the journey home. A train packed with chavs, filthy, unwashed, foul mouthed, badly dressed ill mannered shits.
By the time I got to Walsall, I was suicidal, homicidal and also could have murdered a pint, so I hit St. Matthews Hall, a Wetherspoons pub in the town which was nice and quiet and charges £ 2.85 for Kronenbourg 1664, a premium lager.
Just settled down in the corner on my own in a deserted room, when a tattoed nutcase sat at a table really close to me, when he had a complete room of tables to choose from and started muttering at me.
Forunately they bought the meal he ordered (looked nice), which shut him up, but just having a nobber in such close proximity put me off my beer, so I supped up and came home only to be entertained for two or more hours by the psycho downstairs. Had to bang a shoe against the skirting board to make a noisy protest back, considering a dirty protest through his letter box or a meat cleaver through his skull very soon.