Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Thought Picnic: Many trials and seven vials

Amsterdam seriously and fleetingly
It is a whistle-stop visit to Amsterdam and it will cause offence to the many it would have been nice to see but I cannot because of the shortness of time and the many activities that one has to complete before returning.
In some ways, I miss Amsterdam, I lived in this beautiful bijoux city for 12 years and a good few things that have become part of the narrative that is my story happened here.
I did not come to Amsterdam by chance; I came on purpose and for a purpose to rejuvenate a sagging career, a bored existence, a broken relationship and obtain a new lease of life.
I suppose I obtained 3 out of 4 and the one that appears to matter the most once the other three are taken care of is one that is of the heart, of the mind, of the soul and just so important for wellbeing – I don’t do the conventional, those who are so concerned will just have to learn to live with that.
Bloods of travel
In any case, it was the day of the bloods and it meant my medical consultant did not have much data to play with apart from the more general questions.
As usual, the journey to the hospital no matter how mundane is rarely without event, this time since I was travelling from out of town, the trains were not running from the nearest station, had I followed my deepest premonitions, I would have stayed on the bus until the central station; eventually, I got a train to get me to Amsterdam and it even had free wireless Internet connectivity which made for a few Twitter exchanges on my way.
Getting the Metro from Amsterdam Centraal Station - the 'aa' is typically Dutch, I got off at Weesperplein and considered walking; the guide gives an estimate of 9 minutes, rather than waiting for the tram but within minutes I spotted the tram from afar and waited to board it.
A rotten survey
At the hospital, after registration, I was given a Dutch survey on archiving our medical information online and the kind of access people should have to the data. The first 4 pages I filled in with ease but by the fifth page, I was lost and I believe many others will be too, the questions have taken on an air of bizarre Dutch official-speak, I was on the verge of writing as an observation - This is a bad survey when my doctor came out to fetch me.
Submitting the half-filled form, I told the nurse that it was both difficult and bad in Dutch before following my doctor to his office where he introduced me to an intern and understudy.
The final note on that survey is that the apparatchiks will implement whatever they want having convinced themselves they have done due diligence, it will be a rotten implementation and in the end it will come to grief.
Teaching the future doctors
I have never had issues with interns sitting in on our consultations, they are usually briefed about who will be coming in and they have opportunity to observe matter, conduct, conversation and banter that makes for the consultations I have - it is important that there are others who can carry on with knowledge that my doctor shares for the benefit of others who might need the kind of care I am receiving at a future date.
A dossier of my medical history was created in the event I might want to use doctors in another country and we talked about my situation, my health and other related issues and he was glad to see that the partial facial paralysis I had complained of at our last meeting in August had gone.
The drag of losses and gifts
Before getting to the hospital, there was a lot on my mind, little niggly things that seemed to compound a situation I was still coming to terms with - I realise that the circumstances might be difficult to articulate but I have to find the right tone, manner and words to raise the issue.
It got to a point that I almost felt physically sick but at the same time, I had to arrest myself from the grip of that situation before it become psychosomatic.
Health readings miscellany
As the meeting closed, my doctor wrote out my prescription with instructions to the pharmacy to give me a 6-month supply of drugs and an appointment was made for 4 months hence.
The scales showed a weight I was not comfortable and my blood pressure has remained quite healthily steady over 9 months of measurements.
I bumped into my treatment consultant who was tanned having just returned from some triathlon activity in the Canary Islands, we chatted about the changes and expectations promising to keep in contact.
When it came to give my blood for testing, it was 7 vials; the results will be posted by email to me in two weeks.
Other people
An acquaintance from my old neighbourhood was at the hospital with his partner, it so happened that the last time we met, I had taken my curtains for cleaning at the rotten local dry cleaners where I was charged a fortune by people who are really clueless about the difference been a suit and separates of a jacket and a pair of trousers. We chatted from a few minutes and he had also moved away, it was quite uncanny to learn he was also from the Black Country, what you learn from a brief chat.
I did not get to see the Catholic pastor; he was in a group straining their vocals practicing Christmas carols for the Christmas Eve service at the hospital chapel.
By the time I left the hospital, I had lost my gloomier self but I did wonder about how I might eventually get my point across, or maybe I'll just write about and get it completely off my chest.

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