Monday, 21 February 2011

Option 2......

.......also led nowhere other than 'it could be this' and 'we know it's not that'. Basically I am to 'have complete rest and take painkillers when you need them.' I have to say, however, that my treatment was a) much quicker and b) existed. My father in law suggested I return to the UK and see someone on the NHS. Never thought I'd hear that advice.

Complete rest. Now there's a thought. One might assume because I don't have a job that it would be easy to get complete rest.  Not so. Shopping, floor washing, laundry, cleaning. I gave it a try.... I allowed the dust and detritus to accumulate; allowed the laundry mountain to grow; allowed the cooker to grease up. It began to feel like the old times when I had a job. Then one day the reality of my approach hit me. One day I'm going to have to clean all this crap up. The laundry alone was taller than me and would take hours on my feet. Stupid me.  What to do? Aha - how could I forget? I have children.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Bastardy gitting 'health' service

Long story short (by about 7 hours), I had a scan which shows quite clearly a broken rib. Or a hair on the picture. But my guess is a broken rib. Spoke to Doctor - he suggests I 'use my discretion' when considering going to an emergency room then drops in 'we don't want a blood clot' into the conversation. My discretion has made its mind up. Now which hospital?

1. One we went to last time (see previous entry "I'm dying", etc)
2. One in next province which has a reputation of short waiting times.
3. One in city which has reputation as good hospital. 

I choose No. 3.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Arrived at 9pm.....left at 4am after not seeing a Doctor. In fact the doctor wasn't seeing anyone in Emergency after 1am because he had '60 other chronic patients - he's the only doctor here you know.' Told (after some badgering) that we won't be seen until after 8am. The 'we' is me, some guy who arrived late at 11pm, a quiet woman who read a lot about the catacombs in Paris, and some old woman who got one of the two nice chairs.  The other guy in the room was obviously homeless as he was able to sleep almost from the minute he arrived in a hard green chair with his bag of bagels as a pillow.

Lack of sleep was my biggest enemy - If you remember I am ill in the ribs which means no position is comfortable for me except sat straight upright, standing or flat on my back. Only one of these is conducive to sleep, but sadly not conducive to hospital waiting rooms. So we left in high dudgeon. With sleepy eyes.

Option 2 today. 

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Obsessiveness and stupid TV

Someone once told me I had an obsessive personality. This person is a friend of mine but I have to tell you that she reads out loud to her cats (the unabridged version of A Christmas Carol every year) so she may not be the best judge of character. The basis for her judgement was that I foolishly mentioned a diet I was considering. Admittedly I have been on ooohhh probably 100 diets in my time, but never actually managed to follow one to its designed conclusion which, in my books, makes me fickle, not obsessive.

However, I can get quite obsessive about TV programmes.  But not just TV programmes per se; TV programmes on the Internet. Why? Because I can watch a whole series one episode after another WITHOUT WAITING. Have I mentioned that waiting is one of my least favourite things, after avocados and Jeremy Clarkson? BUT, not only can I watch the whole series, I can quickly follow that with series 2,3,4...... I admit that my taste in programmes is probably shite most of the time but you can watch them one after another! Without waiting. My latest has been Dead Zone which has, wait for it, 6 series. This is almost as good at '24' in terms of numbers but way, way worse in its quality. But who cares? I have wasted hours and hours watching the one premise of a psychic who was in a coma for 6 years (how exciting is that) finding and capturing criminals with his pal, Walt (who stole his girl while he was in the coma). I hasten to add that I am not completely obsessive - I have interspersed episodes with a series or two of The Biggest Loser and X Factor. 

But, like a good book, it all must end.  Until the next money's on Grey's Anatomy (7 series) or Burn Notice (a sad 4 series but I like the name).

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Doctor's appointment follow-up

So....after the fiasco that was my last 'appointment' I had a call from my doctor telling me that my X-Ray seemed Ok but I could call to see him on Saturday if I hadn't improved. 
Warily, 'Do I need an appointment?'
'No. Just call in.'
How naive can one person be. I trotted in at 11am on Saturday and talked to the last hopeless git's twin colleague. 
'Did the Doctor ask you to call in?'
'Yes. No. Well he said I could call in but didn't need an appointment.'
She put her Disbelief mask on quickly.
'It's because I waited so long on Wednesday.'
Whatever mask.
He said I should just call in.
Irritation mask.
'Well this IS an appointment system,' she muttered from behind her beard.
I was so flabbergasted by this blatantly ridiculous statement I put on my Bugger Me mask.
'What's your address? What's your phone number. Do you have your medical card? You said you were here on Wednesday - we don't seem to have you in the system.'
'I was here last year!'
'That's NOT what I asked you.'
Oh my much more can I put up with? Have they never heard of the service industry? The customer is always right? Or even being pleasant
At that very moment the Doctor came out and said 'I want to see her too' - meaning me. Cat's mother sprung to mind but I was just glad beardy cow face had been shut up.

Now this is where I assumed again. I assumed that because he had invited me in without an appointment due to the horrendous 'service' I had received that week, that I might get a modicum of preferential treatment. Wrong. Unless you call waiting two and a half hours a bonus. 

Oh, and he still doesn't know what is wrong with me. Chest wall damage is his best guess, though he mentioned shingles and mammograms too. Next step - phone him (no visits for me) on Monday if there has been no improvement. Then he hustled me out of the room so the next person could have their 2 minutes of attention.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Twatting bastard doctors surgery.

I know I've mentioned the utterly shite service I get from my local doctor. Since my last blog I have, in fact, become a little more tolerant of the outrageously long waiting times (despite 'appointment times'). When I say 'tolerant' I mean that I have stopped frothing at the mouth. Just.

Background - chest pains, hard to breath, sharp pains in my chest. Obviously very serious (according to Google).

3pm appointment. Previous experience told me that this was a mythical time, but I turned up despite this, with water and a book. I forgot the cushion which might help me avoid the piles.  I scanned the room -ooohhh...only 6 people before me. A record.

I took out my book and settled in on my left cheek. 

I glanced at the clock between chapters. 3:25pm. 4:04pm.  A man I recognised from my last marathon in the green plastic-seated waiting room arrived and I overheard his '4:30 appointment'. I glanced up.  4:15pm - ha! he had a good couple of hours to wait. I shifted to my right cheek.  Time dragged on. Ribs ached. Bladder chuckled and pressed. Young and old coughed in my air intake zone. I steadfastly tried to concentrate on my book and ignore the fact that I was WAITING.

Out came my Doctor..."Mr. HooJaa". I looked up and the old guy who had the 4.30 appointment was shuffling forward. What? He just got here. Is this Old Appreciation Day? I looked at the clock...5:05pm. Enough.

'Erm, hello? Can you tell me if I will be seeing the doctor soon?'
' Your name?'
No, 'I'm sorry, could I have your name please?'
'It's Higgins. 3:00pm appointment.' I looked at the clock pointedly. She didn't notice.
She looked puzzled (stupid)....'Oh yes, I can see your appointment, but you haven't been checked in. Hmmmmm.'
Let's go back...this was the exact same woman who had checked me in. She asked my address, name and taken my medicare card (which has my full name on) when I arrived in plenty (PLENTY) of time at 2.45pm. 
She peered at her oversized computer screen and then gave me the 'don't worry, love, I'll get you in next' look. Or that's how I interpreted it. It was apparently the 'I fucked up and I'll make sure you are last for pointing that out' look.

So...having spent over 3 hours waiting, seeing people who came in hours after me going into the doctors, being in some considerable discomfort AND being pre-menstrual...well, I snapped. And I snap with volume.

'Am I going to see the doctor today at all?' I demanded at 60% volume. By this time there was only 1 person left in the waiting room except me.
Stupid words No.1 - 'What's your name?' 
'Higgins. 3:00pm appointment!' (70% volume).
At this point I saw that she saw that I was not a happy fucking bunny. Despite this she said,
Stupid words No. 2 - 'I called for you twice.'
Ka-boom. Bitch. Twat. I'm going to kill her.
At last she did something vaguely approaching professional and steered me away from the crowds ( the last guy waiting) and into a back room. 
'Come this way Eleanor.'
OK..I'm a little hard of hearing. On this occasion, due to three and a half hours of 5 year olds coughing in my ears.
'What did you call me?'
'Eleanor?' She is stupid, but even she realises that my tone might suggest she's got something else wrong.
'MY. NAME. IS. MAGGIE.' If she says 'You're not Eleanor?' I will murder.
She scuttles. Doctor arrives and, unbelievably, he asks me how I am.
'Pissed off, actually.'
He's apologetic, nice, blah, blah,blah. But I want to let him know exactly why I'm pissed off.
'I don't mind waiting (actually I do) but I do NOT like not being checked in, being taken for the wrong person, being told I had been 'called twice', and being ignored.'

And what did he do? He was nice and patient and nice and my anger ebbed away. I hate it when that happens. 

I'll get her back.  Soon.

God bless the UK National Health Service.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Grenaaayyyda, not Greanaahhhda.

I used my husband's 50th birthday as an excuse to go somewhere gorgeously swanky, and hot. You must understand that Narnia is only fun in the summer; in the winter the White Witch freezes your snot and turns your extremities blue. The Caribbean is fairly close but I didn't want to go to the rather common Barbados (where all the WAGs go and suck in their stomaches for the paparazzi. I intended to let my girth relax and expand), or the equally over-visited Jamaica. The Dominican Republic, as well as being the Blackpool of the Caribbean, is also harbouring disease thanks to the gaps in their 20 foot wall keeping the poor Haitians out so that was out too. After many hours of surfing about surfing I stumbled across something called The Amazing Holiday. Pretty hard to live up to and, of course, I saw this as a challenge. I swallowed the bile that rose when the total cost came up and pressed 'book it'. It has actually been relatively easy to hide the visa bills which I must remember when I see something shiny I desire.

So......we arrive. Picked up at the airport in a limousine. Cool. Room right on the seafront. Cool. Four poster that doesn't squeak (that's another story). Cool. It was going to be the perfect holiday.

Day 1: Husband gashes his foot within minutes of getting in the pool. He gets out and sits in the sun and gets second degree burns on his face. I kid you not. On the other hand I had an exfoliation/massage thing so the Day wasn't a complete wash-out.
Day 2: I woke up next to Quasimodo. I have never before seen anyones face swell and morph before my very eyes. He stayed in the shade and dabbed at his weeping blisters. I sunbathed. Again, not a complete wash out.
Day 3: Uh oh. The vaguely irritating bites from what turned out to be sand flies have become a leprosy on my lower legs. (Funnily enough, a side effect of sand fly bites is a leprosy-like illness. Well, not that funny really). Husband remains in the sun. We taxi to the 'capital', St Georges. I say 'capital' because it doesn't really merit the title in the modern sense of the word where we think bustling city, headquarters to businesses, cultural centre,etc. Essentially it is the main town because that's where all the cruise ships stop, spew out their old people for duty free shopping and a trip to the beach, then make their cumbersome way on to the next island. Oh and it has a market which seems to only sell pre-packed spice gifts (this is, after all, the home of nutmeg), and baseball caps. It does, however, retain it's charm and the sellers are all friendly and not at all pushy.

Our mission is to buy medication for blistering leprosy and swollen heads. Once mission is accomplished we slather ourselves immediately and pray for respite.

Day 4: Lulled by a slight lessening of the pain Husband is happy to go on a bike ride. We bought a big cowboy hat to shade his face (and I secretly planned to buy him some leather chaps at a later date) and got on our bikes. Safety being paramount our guide started to show us how to manage the gears, the brakes, etc. As he was explaining Husband turned his bike towards me and, in slow motion, toppled over, like a giant redwood being felled. Like a 5 year old who burns his finger after putting it on something he knows he shouldn't and pretends all is well, Husband jumped back up, wiped the blood from his knee and declared himself 'fine'. Off we went for an hour and a half ride. All seemed well. 
Nope. By about 9pm bloody knee was starting to swell and become really painful. My leprosy was getting better though, so not such a bad day. 

Day 5: Knee definitely swollen and hobbling/moaning was the order of the day. One nice guest (who I'd previously tagged as a knob because he was from daan saaff and asked stupid questions of the staff in a nasal voice) gave us a knee support and another guest gave us ibuprofen. When I say us, I mean us, because for some reason (I blame the coughing from my recent man flu) my ribs had become so painful that turning over in bed made me moan almost as loudly as Husband. Almost.

Day 6: Hold onto your hats - no further ailments. Admittedly we still had the knee/rib things going on but no NEW injuries. It may have been this night that we got a little tipsy on cocktails, perhaps celebrating getting through a day without breaking a limb, and videoed each other making our eyebrows dance to the band a la that Cadbury's advert. My inability to move my eyebrows independently meant that I basically frowned then looked surprised but Husband was pretty good at it. I'm saving the video for his office Christmas party.

Day 7: Our last night and by far the most memorable part of the night was the bottom of the singer in that night's band. As we sat down late we ended up in seats that gave us a pretty good view of what can only be described as fantastic. By that I mean it was unbelievable. And by that I mean it didn't look real. It clearly was as she was shaking it about as she sang and it kept in time, but it seemed to sit in the middle of her back. That's the best way I can describe it. Sadly, we forgot the video camera that night - it was definitely better YouTube fodder than our eyebrow dancing (frowning). No idea what she sang.

So....despite the injuries we laughed and enjoyed the week. Husband did mutter something about never going on holiday with me again, but I'm sure that was the swollen face talking.