Friday, 24 March 2017

Hospital: That was brutal

What a start
Wednesday could only have been termed brutal in more ways than one, I returned home from the hospital and just went straight to bed to sleep off the feeling.
It was my biennial check-up, the one I was prepared to go for a month ago, only to realise that it was a month later. I got my appointment card and called an Uber cab to take me to the hospital and that is where my physiological problems began.
The Uber driver in the quest to cut out traffic ran into road blocks and other traffic that the 40-minute leeway I gave to getting to the hospital was being eaten up that I was getting anxious. The journey only takes 20 minutes, I arrived, just in time.
The pressure of the world
Then through the labyrinthic corridors to the Out-Patients’, I wended my way, half-hobbling and almost reduced to panting when at the reception I realised that I had forgotten to put my appointment card and treatment journal in my pocket. Though I did not need that to identify myself, I was at that point flustered when I was directed to sit in the waiting area.
Minutes later, I was called in for a weighing and blood pressure assessment. My weight has been going down, but the numbers that came up for my blood pressure were astronomical, both the systolic and diastolic measures in the 3 figures.
We tried the other arm, but I was already in a state, the numbers did not radically change. The nurse opined as did the doctor later on that certain patients have a white-coat syndrome that heightens their blood pressure in a hospital setting and that hospitals are rarely the best place to take blood pressure measurements.
A doctor I miss
I did not think I had a white-coat syndrome, I have known the inside of hospitals from the day I was born, there had to be other factors. My little sleep, the Uber ride, my forgetfulness and any other factor that is as yet undetermined. I did measure my blood pressure in the relaxed setting of my home yesterday and the numbers looked within the ranges of normal.
I was meeting the doctor for the first time, he introduced himself as a registrar, I have lost count of the different faces that make up this department. The head of this department when I first attended this hospital some two years ago, an affable and friendly man with a gentlemanly mien and comforting bedside manner had retired and was out in Burma doing charity work. I last saw him in October and he was the one who suggested I had a big do for my 50th birthday.
Then I had had the opportunity to research the incoming head before I met her in the middle of the last year, we got on quite well. However, as the new doctor began to go through my notes, his apparently calming assurances left me in more discomfort and anxiety than I have ever felt meeting consultants in the last 8 years.
The whole works and working over
Maybe it was a confluence of events, but by the time I had seen a few more unpronounceable names to do with my liver, my kidneys, my gall bladder and my bile ducts, none of which on further research back home presented an alarming set of circumstances, I felt like I had gone in for acne and ended up in intensive care.
He was being thorough, at least that is what he told me and invariably, my drug regime might be modified in 6 months’ time based on cost, and I have a battery of tests to follow, bloods, liver scan, cognitive impairment and a ‘non-judgemental’ review of my sex life. Then he put my numbers through QRISK to determine my susceptibility to cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years and having stopped smoking 33 years ago, I was denoted an ex-smoker rather than a non-smoker; technically, he was right and thorough, if not pedantic. It was the full works and brutal.
I took copious notes and at the end, we did not even have a customary handshake before he was out to pick up the notes for the next victim, sorry, patient.
That was brutal
I put in my prescriptions at the pharmacy and joined the long queue at the phlebotomist’s, where a bit of gallows humour appeared to lighten up the day. When someone asked if they had lunch breaks, I quipped as to whether vampires ever took breaks from bloodsucking.
When I finally got home, I just went to bed, too much had happened in such a short day. Yes, it was brutal, by all standards. I am not looking forward to meeting this doctor again and it is probably nothing to do with him, I was just completely ill at ease chatting to him.

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