Saturday, June 27, 2009

Asleep at the back

Private hospitals versus the NHS, should, technically, be a no contest, but for some reason unbeknown to me, I was on the receiving end of a massive cock-up by a private hospital called The Woodland Hospital, which is situated between Kettering and Rothwell. On the 27th May, I had an MRI scan on this pesky shoulder of mine. After the scan, the nurses told me to go to reception and book a follow-up appointment. I went there and spoke to a woman called Patricia (I remember it because it was my mum's name), who called Helen, my consultant's secretary, but she was busy, so she said that she would contact me directly with the follow up.

I waited a week, then two and then 3 and then I started to think something was very wrong. But because I'm sometimes a great procrastinator, I waited until almost a month before phoning the Woodland Hospital and finding out what the bloody hell has been going on.

I have to say that I haven't been apologised to so much in years, if ever. The initial receptionist apologised, the woman in x-ray apologised and then apologised again when she handed me to a third person, who in turn apologised and said she couldn't understand what had happened. All the time, I stayed calm, collected, slightly miffed, but generally good natured. Then I was told that Helen would call me directly to book a follow up appointment. It was when she phoned that it all got a bit nasty. You see, I don't like being lied to and this is exactly what Helen did from almost the first words out of her mouth. She literally started the conversation by slagging off the people on reception and saying they weren't doing their jobs properly. I just saw red and this is what I said (slightly paraphrased because I can't remember it verbatim):

"Excuse me, but please don't lie to me. On the day of my scan I went to reception, spoke to Patricia and she in turn phoned you. You told her to tell me that you were busy and you would book the appointment and let me know. I remember this clearly. I think its wrong that you should pass the buck here, especially as I'm the person who has been let down here. I've waited for an entire month for the results of my scan, as a consequence, my doctor has signed me off of work for the last month, my clients have suffered, I've been going out of my mind with boredom and you're trying to blame someone else. I think that is very poor."

I got silence from the other end and then eventually, another apology. I also got my follow up appointment, it's at 6.10 on Tuesday 30th - I hope they haven't lost the results.

Ironically, things seem to be sorting themselves out. I think that a month of inactivity and gentle swimming have been extremely beneficial to my health. My shoulder is still causing me grief, but not as much as it did and I have more movement in it than I have had for a month. Yeah, my back still aches, but that's probably going to hurt for the rest of my life; yes, my fingers ache and I struggle to write freehand for more than ten minutes; and yes, various other parts of my body are beginning to show exaggerated wear and tear, but I actually feel good; in fact, I feel better than I have for about 18 months - physically, at least. It might be because of the warm dry weather, it might be the latest concoction of drugs I'm on; but for fuck's sake Carpe Diem!

Swimming has been a revelation; that and the mixture of a sauna, a steam room and a spa bath. When I started I could barely muster a length of the pool, now I'm doing between 10 and 20 a session. Now, I'm not a brilliant swimmer, but I wouldn't drown if I got out of my depth, but I am exercising more than I have for years, plus I'm doing some aqua-aerobic exercises which have been helping strengthen up my back and legs. Did you know that attempting to jog up and down a swimming pool for 10 lengths is the equivalent of running a mile? Unfortunately, the pool I use is looking like it might be hit by cuts, so I may have to find a club to do my swimming, as the only other pool available to me would be at a place I used to work and frankly, I wouldn't want to swim there...

Anyhow, the upshot is that if I continue through next week feeling as positive and a ... supple... as I do now, then I'm going to be looking at going back to work.


I have to say that I'm about as ambivalent as an ambivalent thing regarding the sudden (and I don't think unexpected) death of Michael Jackson. He was undeniably a talented guy, but he was also quite possibly a paedophile and this seems to have been overlooked while we get blanket news coverage of his death. Yes, it might not be very proper to discuss this rather sordid aspect of his life, especially straight after his death, but we have to face facts; he paid off one family to keep him out of court and he only failed to be prosecuted by the other family because they turned out to be not very credible; he admitted in an interview that he shared his bed with kids and he was, essentially a walking freak show. I just find it a little distasteful that he's being beatified. Jonathan King, Chris Langham and Gary Glitter all must be hoping they get the same treatment when they die... Oh yeah, they got convicted, big difference.

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