14 December 2019 (Saturday) - In A&E

Yesterday I mentioned that my left hip had been giving my grief. I woke at three o’clock this morning in absolute agony. Bearing in mind that the hospital is (usually) not that busy in the small hours I got "er indoors TM" to run me up there.
I arrived and found two other patients in the waiting room; one bloke who was fast asleep, and a young teenage girl who was whining and howling about how much it hurt. (I never did find out what it was that hurt)
I went to the counter, gave the nice lady my sob story and sat down. Half an hour later I was called into the triage room where I repeated what was wrong with me. They measured my blood pressure and sent me back to the waiting room where the lady behind the counter had struck up a conversation with two other members of staff.
After half an hour the whining teenaged girl was called. She then stopped whining about how much it hurt and started whining about how she’d got comfortable and didn’t want to move. So her mother went off with the doctor instead.
An hour later I was called by a nurse. I repeated what was wrong with me (for the third time) and I was then moved to another waiting room. Here I was lumped in with two deaf old people and three vagrants openly hoping for free drugs from the NHS. All of us were watching the antics of a chap in a side room. The door of this side room was open; there was no attempt at privacy. This chap had been found on the train (stark naked) and had been detained in the side room by British Transport Police. He’d been there some time, and his medical history was no secret; one of the coppers was loudly telly everyone and anyone this chap’s business.

Eventually (just before seven o’clock) I was called by a doctor. She asked what was wrong with me. I explained for a fourth time. This doctor was either deaf or didn’t understand me as she repeated each question three times. She then mauled me about and said I needed an X-ray and a blood test. I agreed. I suggested that the triage nurse might have arranged these at half past three, but my suggestions fell on deaf ears.
A nice porter took me round to the X-ray department where a rather foxy young radiographer asked if I would like to drop my trousers for her. Such a shame that my hip was that bad that I could hardly move…

With X-rays done I sat about for half an hour after which time I was told that they’d forgotten about me. I was then wheeled back to the waiting room. Blood was taken at quarter to nine, and for some reason they took the blood via a cannula which was left in my arm. I asked why it had been left in my arm; no one seemed to know.
Bearing in mind I know blood-testers I made a phone call, and was assured that the results were available by quarter past nine. I told the nursing staff that the results were available; they assured me they weren’t.

Finally at half past ten a doctor called me. He mauled me about again, showed me the X-rays, told me that the blood tests were normal, and announced that I’d ripped a tensor muscle in my leg and this was aggravating an arthritic hip. He also hinted that I might (just possibly) be above my ideal weight. Pain killers, weight loss, not slouching and light exercise should do the trick.
"er indoors TM" picked me up eight hours after she’d dropped me off.

It is customary to praise the NHS. As an NHS worker myself I don’t like hearing anything bad about the NHS. But (it has to be said) I was not at all impressed with my experience. Had the triage nurse ordered the X-ray and the blood tests then I could have been out at seven o’clock rather than eleven o’clock. And for all that the staff might have been busy, they made no attempt to get out of the public’s gaze when they were spending half an hour (I timed them!) gossiping.
As one of the deaf old men said, they were treating each patient as though that was the first patient that had ever been treated by the NHS. There was no method or system in what they were doing.

"er indoors TM" drove me to Timpson’s where I got a walking stick. I can’t say I like having the thing but t does help.
We then drove up to Leybourne where a gaggle of us met up for a rather good meal to celebrate Tracy’s birthday. It was rather good to catch up with friends we hadn’t seen for a while. We would have liked to have stayed longer at the geo-meet that followed, but time was against us and visiting the most recent fruit of my loin was on the agenda.

With "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" visited we came home. My hip’s still tender, but the pain killers are working. The doctor says it will be as good as new in a month…

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