Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Paddington Bear and the Monster Nurse From Hell

Well my desire for a stress free holiday lasted into the third day. Today it all went horribly wrong.

It was my first warfarin clinic since my RHC and as far as I was concerned I'd done all the right things, notified them when I was going into hospital and again when I came out. I told them how long I'd stopped the warfarin for and for how long I'd had heparin injections instead, I even told them my INR reading on leaving hospital. Today as I handed over my book at reception I was fixed with a glare and asked why I hadn't notified them that I'd been in hospital. I explained that I had over the phone and was taken aback when told I should have notified them in person or by letter with a letter of admission as proof. They then demanded my discharge letter as they wanted to know exactly what I'd had done. I told them I didn't have it as it was with my GP and if they wanted it they'd have to contact him. I do have my own copy but I'm not handing that over besides I didn't see what business it is of their's really especially as my INR was carefully monitored while I was in the Brompton.

To my delight my old ladies were in and there was a seat right in the middle of them. In between moaning about the weather the main topic of conversation was the Jubilee.
Grace: I don't know why the Queen didn't sit on those chairs on the boat, I wouldn't have stood all that way.
Doris:Yes but you are not the Queen.
Ethel: Didn't it rain.
Grace: When, on the jubilee or yesterday.
Ethel: Well both really.
Grace: It wasn't as bad as the rain in 2001
Doris: But that was in Devon
Grace I know that, I'm just saying
Ethel: The snow in 63 was bad too

And on and on they went, for a time I almost felt like I was in an episode of the Vicar of Dibley. Eventually their numbers whittled down as they were called one by one into the room for their tests until I was left with just one. To my surprise she suddenly lent over and whispered to me 'I've been a bit naughty so I've got to wait for the sister, I've been here since half past nine. I wish she'd get a move on.' She introduced herself as Nancy and told me that she'd had a bit of a tipple over the jubilee weekend and had basically carried on celebrating until this weekend sending her INR levels haywire. I've only seen the sister a couple of times, for being naughty in exactly the same way. That was in the days before having a glass of wine didn't render me unconscious because of my other meds.

We continued chatting then Nancy told me a funny and poignant story about a friend of hers who recently died of cancer. Nancy and her husband were bowls fanatics and belonged to a local club. When Nancy's husband died, Bob, who was friends with the couple, became her bowling partner. Ten years later and during a game Bob complained of pains in his chest and was taken to hospital. It was found that he had cancer and it was too advanced for anything but palliative treatment and Bob was sent home. A couple of months later Bob was readmitted. The cancer was around his aorta and was now pressing on his throat making breathing and swallowing difficult. Eventually Bob was on liquids only and then mostly through a tube. Nancy visited him regularly and secretly fed him gin and tonic at Bob's request. One day close to the end she was giving Bob his secret tipple when the doctor arrived but instead of telling her off told her that a little of what Bob fancied was fine and asked the nurse to supple some ice. Bob died a few days later. What a lovely story, I felt sad but happy at the same time and realised that I was speaking to a kindred spirit because that is exactly what I would have done if my best friend was dying.

Talking to Nancy the time passed quite quickly and it was coming up to eleven when the sister rocketed out of her room and called Nancy's name. I was in the process of helping Nancy up when the sister shouted, 'come on, come on, I haven't got all day, I've got things to do.' Well that was enough for me and it was a case of light blue touch paper and stand well back. I turned and shouted back 'Do you really think we haven't got things to do?' I waved my arm to indicate the other patients waiting. 'Nancy has been sitting here for an hour and a half waiting to see you, how dare you tell her to hurry up!' The sister's face was a picture but fair play she did apologise to Nancy. As Nancy went past me she gave my arm a squeeze. I think I've made a friend.

After Nancy left I sat back down waiting for my turn. Idly I scanned the room looking for people who were ahead of me in the queue for reception so I could work out how much longer I might have to wait. As my eyes wandered over the rows of seating they suddenly stopped and swung back to the reception desk and then it registered. Coming very, very slowly around the desk was a hat, not just any old hat but exactly the same hat in colour, shape and condition as that worn by Paddington Bear. I sat up and craned my neck to see what might be underneath the hat. Eventually a little old lady with a walking frame emerged and to my delight she was wearing Paddington's coat too. I was so tempted to take a picture but decided that I'd already upset the staff enough for one day so resisted. As she came closer I notice the coat was ankle length so it was even the right size. I just couldn't take my eyes off her and it came as a bit of a relief when I was called in because I was so, so close to taking that picture.

Back home Peter has a cold. He came in from work with it yesterday and it is a real stinker. Now we are playing the 'keep as far away from Hazel as possible' game. I may have started my holiday off feeling well, it doesn't look like I'm going to finish it that way though. It is bad enough trying to avoid bugs at work but when you live with a big factory you've got no chance. If I'm not also streaming by Friday I'll be very surprised indeed.

I took Andrew with me to do the grocery shop and to my shame ended up with two pot noodles, chip shop curry flavour, in the trolley. Is it just me or are all teenagers programmed to eat total rubbish?

Tomorrow I have the joy of putting my car through it's MOT, wish me luck.