It was Goose Fair time yet again. That could only mean one thing. The Park and Ride was out of action. I had an appointment at the QMC for 8:30am for my pre- op chat. Now because of Goose Fair, my usual route in was blocked. Normally I park at the Park and Ride and glide in by tram. In my usual parking space was a tall tower with capsules at either end. The tower would spin vertically while the capsules would rotate to much screaming inside. I don’t think my eye appointment would be quite so adrenaline pumping. But you never know…
So how to get to the QMC? Driving, like for most of hospitals up and down the land, was out of the question. My husband mentioned I could always park in the special, secret parking space. Everyone who regularly goes to a hospital has one of these. My husband’s one was about a fifteen-minute walk from the hospital. Plus, I don’t think it was that secret anymore. So, what to do?
Another reason why I was also feeling anxious was also due to my appointment letter. I had a purge of burning my hospital appointment letters after the barrage of MRI scans that I had in September. In the purge, I had foolishly burnt the appointment letter for my eye op. Not to worry. The hospital sent me a text reminding me of the appointment. However, the text said I had an appointment at the QMC at 8:30am. Where in the QMC, the text couldn’t tell me.
“Go and ask at reception.” Said my husband.
“But what about data protection?”
“It’s YOUR data for Christ’s sake!”
So, I arrived by magic carpet at the QMC and ventured to the reception by the Main Entrance. They were perfectly happy telling me where my appointment was. We did the usual pre-flight checks.
“Ooooo… summer of ’76 eh? That were a hot one…” said the receptionist who then preceded to tell me her memories of it. The only thing I contributed to the conversation was, “I think I spent most of it in my nappy.” which wasn’t great.
Anyway, my appointment was in eye outpatients so off I trotted. When I got there, I was met by a queue of five people and a harassed looking receptionist, searching files. All of the five people in front of me had appointment letters. Not good. The man in front of me in the queue was smartly dressed, wearing a blazer with and RAF pin on the lapel. I’m not too sure what he was expecting from the eye clinic, but I had the feeling that he might be disappointed.
My turn came and I was shooed around the corner to the pre- assessment part of the clinic. I went around the corner and was greeted by a huge, empty waiting area. On the far wall was a huge TV showing Heartbeat. Strange choice for half eight in the morning. After about five minutes, a professional woman in a business suit appeared.
“I’m afraid the clinic doesn’t open until nine.”
“Well, my appointment is for half eight.”
“That can’t be possible.”
“Well… it is.”
I was dreading the obvious next question regarding a letter. But I was saved by a jolly looking nurse.
“Oh! You must be my first appointment. Please take a seat and I’ll just get my bits together.”
I smiled smugly and the woman bustled off.
Soon I was shown into a small windowless room. My height and weight was measured as was my blood pressure and temperature. She asked me a lot of questions as to whether I had any illnesses that I had never heard of. The life-threatening illness I did have wasn’t mentioned at all. It soon raised its ugly head when the topic of regular medication came up. She believed Herceptin wouldn’t affect the sedative. Phew.
She described what would happen on the day. I would check in, have the op and then recover on the ward. Once I had eaten and passed urine after the op, I was then free to go. As I would be wearing a gown, she strongly recommended that I bring in a dressing gown and a pair of slippers. The way she described it, it sounded like a visit to the day spa in Centre Parcs, rather than an operation. Here’s hoping….
The discussion took a strange turn when she outlined what happened after the op. For twenty-four hours after the op I couldn’t drive, use heavy machinery, use electrical items like kettles or microwaves or sign any legal documentation. Urm OK…
“Do you have a responsible adult at home to look after you after your op?”
“Well there is my husband…”
You could tell she had heard this joke many times before. I didn’t need to finish the punchline. I signed something to say that I had understood what was going on and off I went. Spa day at Centre Parcs. That’s all it was…