The next installment in my quest to discover why I am not in full health took place yesterday. Just a shame nobody warned me. I am gradually working my way through a long list of hospital departments and the latest referral letter was due no later than today. With a holiday looming, I was concerned that the letter might arrive after I left, with an appointment for before I returned, so, in the absence of a letter, I planned to ring today to see what was going on. It was 1.20pm yesterday, in a break between exciting #Daisy episodes, when, for no particular reason, I decided I would make that call a day early. ‘Yes Madam, your appointment is today. Did you not get the letter?’ Well that would be a no – if I’d got the letter would I be ringing? No wonder they get so many no shows. ‘What time is it? Have I missed it?’ I ask. ‘I’ll have to find out and ring you back.’ At 1.30pm I am told that the appointment is for 2.30pm. ‘Can you get here?’ I do a quick calculation. I am 16 miles from the hospital and I’d rather not drive myself. ‘Are you coming by public transport?’ Probably not – the next bus is tomorrow. She agrees that they will understand if I am late. I ring the fisherman of my acquaintance, now doubling as the chauffeur of my acquaintance, hoping that this isn’t one of those occasions when he has his mobile on divert because he is out of signal and I end up talking to myself. Things continue to go my way as he is home. 1.45pm and he is at my house and we are on our way. We arrive at the hospital with ten minutes to spare. I muse at the irony of those sat smoking under the very large signs explaining that the whole hospital site is a no smoking zone.
I look for directions to the department I need. I am going to be vague here to protect the guilty but the department is called the x and y department. I scan the very long alphabetical list of departments, nothing under x or y. We enquire. I need the first floor. I have come in on ground level. The first floor is down one. This is the deep south-west, we do things differently here. Turns out I should have looked for the z department. It is all a learning curve. This consultant is very abrupt and dismissive, obviously thinking I am making it up. Some of my medical history is deemed irrelevant and I am clearly expected to be able to discern the difference between what is related and what is not. I am asked if I have any allergies and I name two types of medication. ‘No’, I am told shortly, I am not allergic to one of these, it just doesn’t agree with me. Well pardon me but a reaction that ended me up in A & E with a suspected heart attack seemed pretty allergic to me at the time. After a two minute cursory examination they decide that I have nothing serious but they cannot do anything to alleviate my symptoms. All they can offer is that I may have anaemia. Again I don’t want to give too much away but these symptoms are confined to one side of part of my body. I know I have no medical training but really? Is it possible to have one sided anaemia? Perhaps if I lay on the afflicted side all my red blood cells will congregate to the site of the problem and I will be cured. The consultant clearly thinks I have wasted their time. I feel as if I have wasted mine. I suppose I should just be glad that, despite my feeling that they haven’t looked very hard, they couldn’t find anything serious and that the other medical personnel that I have dealt with have all been lovely. I have now resolved to live with the symptoms, which are painful but not life restricting and stop trying to find out what causes them. I think it is back to the time of Mistress Agnes for me and a quick chew of a herb or three. Rant over – normal service will resume shortly.