Here and there
The tale of the bloods that provided much excitement when I was a Netherlands resident hardly offers any such fun in the UK.
As I have noted before, the clinics are so hospital-like as to be almost in a hospital and dangerously inimical to health. But for the presence of my friend, the event would have been all the more depressing. I am so thankful for his warm company.
So, a month ago, having booked a day return to London, I overslept that I was in danger of missing the train I was supposed to travel on. The ticket stipulates such strict conditions and offers no refunds.
Half-running and half-halting, I made it to the station concourse and the platform appeared to be empty as I panted in agony and crestfallen pallor asking the conductor what had happened to the train.
Thankfully, it was running quite late and as she heard I was going for a hospital appointment, she cleared the way for me to get a seat on the concourse and said she will let me know when the train arrived.
10 minutes behind schedule, the train arrived, passengers disembarked and then we got on, leaving 15 minutes later than planned and because of problems on the track, when we got to Nuneaton, the nuisance of Nuneaton would have crawled faster than the train and I was getting worried that the 90 minute cushion I had planned for my journey from London Euston to the hospital will leave me with little time to make it.
We arrived some 40 later than the usual journey duration and I had forewarned my friend to bring in his Oyster card because in my rush to leave home, I had forgotten mine.
Being over 30 minutes late, triggered a 50% refund of my outward ticket.
As I got to the clinic, I asked for the bloods to be taken for tests, then my blood pressure and finally, I was weighed, the numbers always lead to the covering of eyes, I am not succeeding in losing weight as fast as I will like to.
The consultation was brief, not many options to consider but a possible referral to another consultant. I left with 4 months’ supply of pills and we went into town.
We discovered there is now a third Vapiano restaurant in London, in Soho and went for a late lunch, a quick trip to Fortnum and Mason's to stock up on tea and then I wended my way back home.
Once again, the train journey was over 30 minutes longer than scheduled, this triggered another 50% refund on the cost of the return ticket.
Applying for my refunds was easy on the Virgin Trains website and within a week I received vouchers covering the refunds.
Now that I reside in the UK, I am getting fed up of comparing the quality of healthcare between the Netherlands and the UK, but it is beyond doubt that there is room for great improvement on the UK side of things.
Communication, interaction and ease are essential to one's well-being, the absence of such comforts of concern, compassion and understanding at times makes the whole hospital an excursion of trepidation rather than hope. Yet, where I can, I tried to find the hope that helps me feel better.