Tuesday 14 April 2020

Masking all attempts at convenience

Preparation and depilation
And so, came my biannual visit to the hospital, one of the excuses you needed to be out and about. The usual consultation that heralded such visits had been conducted by phone two weeks ago as my consultant had informed me early last month on Twitter that this would be the case in view of the then developing Coronavirus pandemic.
The specialist nurse brought my scheduled visit forward 8 days to allow for phlebotomy whilst registering an update for my prescription to be collected at the same time. A separate room had been assigned from the blood work as some other patients had expressed concerns about being on large communal spaces in a hospital.
For my visit, I acquired an FFP2 (N95) respirator mask and to ensure it was close-fitting, I had to shave my whole beard, and I included my head, to return to the look I last had in January before I donned my Corona chic. I planned to get the tram, but the modified timetable did not give indications of transport to meet my prompt arrival at the hospital, so I took a black cab taxi instead.
Just keep calm anyway
On arrival, I got a hand sanitiser from the dispensary before I was met by a gatekeeper at the main entrance who I gave my appointment card to pointing out my scheduled appointment, but he flipped through the pages and pointed out a date from 2015. I held my breath as I remonstrated, I handed you the correct page with my appointment, why are you nosing around?
Indeed, I had arrived early for many reasons including the need to keep my blood pressure normal as it does shoot up if my arrival is delayed and I am anxious about making it on time. I offered to sit out until he was ready to let me in according to his arbitrary concept of promptness, but he ushered me in.
Pricks like Jagger
At the reception, I was informed the phlebotomist had not arrived yet, that it was better for me to collect my pre-ordered prescription first, which I did and then returned to wait for the phlebotomist. He was as tall as trees and definitely did not move like Jagger probably because he was Nick rather than Mick. I then had to wait because of the administrative issue of obtaining the required blood tests from a computer system he apparently had no access to.
When I was called in, neither of my veins on the right or left arm was ready to yield any blood. He asked if I had ever had blood drawn from my neck. God, not today, not ever. He stepped out to get another phlebotomist, she successfully filled one and a half vials before it ceased, moving the needle around a bit with attendant discomfort, and new vials inserted without much luck, eventually, 5 vials were satiated with my life fluids and labelled up for analysis.
Shopping and hoping
I was fortunate, I did not leave the hospital looking like Swiss cheese. As a detour before going home, I decided to go by the ethnic Manchester Superstore, which was about 2 kilometres away, the directions took me through parks and back roads until I reached familiar surroundings. I stocked up on the essentials and waited just under 20 minutes for the tram back home. By which time, the sufferance of the mask had exceeded any comfortable feeling, leaving indentations on my face.
What I could do with a nap after a few useful calls. The morning and the evening will have become my own interesting Tuesday.

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