Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Should have stayed in bed

After a week of cabin fever I finally left the warm(ish) and safe confines of the flat this morning to go to my first Physio appointment. My pre-ordered taxi arrived on time at 8am and Lisa helped me down the many, many stairs and waved me off on the door step in her dressing gown with a look of concern across her face. I felt like it was my first day at school or something.

The taxi was in fact, rather confusingly so, a minibus and the driver was ever so helpful as I struggled to get in the passenger seat.

“Easy now” he half heartedly muttered.

He was in his early sixties, and had Reg Varney type Brylcreemed hair and the aura of some one who is, or was a heavy smoker. Should you ever had attended my school and were unfortunate enough to get the Acheason’s busses-namely the Knox/Jennyfield ones as I did and recall Ken and Ken then you’ll know where I’m coming from.

I’d given myself 45 minutes to make my appointment but hadn’t counted on my driver not knowing his way around Liverpool and he took me the longest way that was possible. Not only that but he insisted travelling via the notoriously busy Queen’s Drive. The conversation was okay until he started to slag off the Council and the City of Culture. Although I kind of agreed with most of what he was saying but after 15 minutes of being stuck in traffic with a painful knee and some oily cabbie shouting from his soap box I’d had enough and tactfully changed to conversation to the weather.

It became clear after twenty five minutes I was going to be late. So I tried to call the hospital to let them know, but my cabbie chum told me we were just around the corner and not to worry, so I hung up before anyone answered. After all I’d never seen this Hospital before so could only take his word for it.

Ten minutes later and we were only ten feet closer to our destination, I decided to call. As I dialled he started banging on about the state of the road and the lack of decent car parking facilities for the local people. I gestured towards my phone to indicate that I wasn’t being rude, but I needed to make a call. He didn’t stop gassing though. Eventually after waiting for a polite moment for me to make the call I just dialled the number, held the phone to my ear and waited for an answer, all the while he was still bemoaning the Council’s so called efforts to get the city’s roads road worthy. When the receptionist answered I couldn’t hear her because of the combined noise of the mini bus’ engine, the radio, his taxi C.B and his incessant chatter. I told her my name and appointment time and apologised that I was running late and that I couldn’t quite hear her.

Ten or so minutes later we’d arrived at Broadgreen Hospital. I told him the name of the building and he calmly told me that I’d have to go to the main reception. I paid him (£8!) and thanked him before struggling to get out of the taxi. I almost slipped and fell.

“easy now”

“cheers!” and called him a dick head under my breath.

I was 15 minutes late and was sure that they’d have given my appointment to someone else. As I walked- well crutched (what word describes the motion of moving under the aid of crutches?) my way to the reception I started to concoct excuses in my head.

The receptionist, a pretty thing in a black polo necked jumper was on a phone call and put her hand over the receiver when she saw me.

“Therapy Dept please?”
“Down the corridor turn left then right. You can’t miss it”

I followed these directions but ended in the Osteoporosis Department. I had to wait in a queue for five minutes before being told that the receptionist was crap and that I was on the wrong side of the building.

I raced off as fast as I could down another generic hospital corridor over a bridge, down some stairs and down another long corridor past the blood transfusion department to the physiotherapy section, but even going as fast as I could took ten or so minutes. I raced past the elderly gentleman on a Zimmer frame and almost collapsed with exhaustion at the reception.

“Hi- I’m sorry I’m late…I’m here for my 8.40 appointment”
The chubby but pretty faced receptionist looked up at the clock which was at 9.10.
“The taxi driver was a buffoon and your main receptionist is hopeless” I gasped still trying to catch my breath.
“That’s okay- did she send you to Osteoporosis?”
“As a matter of act she did?”

“That sounds about right. I’m sorry about that- you can’t get the staff these days. Okay, what’s your name and the first line of your address please?”
I gave her all the necessary data protection answers she asked.

“Hmmm; there’s nothing on the system for you. Are you sure it was today”
I grimaced and pulled out the piece of paper I’d written the info on after they’d called me last week.

“Yeah- today at 8.40am"

“Can I see that?”

“Sure…I guess?”

I handed her the scrap of paper which was by now covered in doodles and other messages and the word ‘MILK’ written in huge ink letters that Lisa had scrawled on as a reminder to herself along with my details for my staple removal of Friday. I couldn’t see why she’d want to see this it was hardly evidence.

“Hmmmm” She said examining it closely.

She stood up walked over to chat to another clerk who was in the ‘record room’ located behind the desk.

The other clerk came over and asked me the same questions and I responded with the same answers-patiently I may add. She eventually went and checked in a massive tower of paperwork.
“Ah ha! Found it!” She exclaimed after thumbing her way through this truly impressive stack of paperwork..

“Phew- thought it was going to be one of those days” I said to the chubby receptionist who reciprocated my relieved smile.
“Oh- it says this appointment was cancelled by phone toady”
She walked over with the appointment sheet with ‘cancelled by phone 26/06/07’ written across it.
“I never cancelled it” I said stubbornly.
“Are you sure?” asked chubby.
“Oh- quite sure”
“I don’t know how this could have happened? ” She called out to a man with a white shirt and awful Daffy Duck tie on.
“Have you taken any calls to cancel any appointments today?” She asked.
The man shook his head.
“Not today…why?” He replied walking towards us.

By now my good leg (ole righty) was hurting from taking all the weight from my left leg and I could feel my temper getting shorter and my eyes were starting to roll.
“Does it matter? I still want the appointment” I asked politely and hopefully.
“Of course, do you want to take a seat please sir”

I duly obliged and slowly sat down in the waiting area.
They were still discussing the cancellation and a rather large black woman tottered over to join in. She looked annoyed and turned around to me.

“You phoned up half an hour ago to cancel”
“Nope. ‘fraid not” I answered.
“Yeah you did, Matthew yeah?”
“Yes- but I never phoned to cancel. I called to say I was running late because of the traffic”
“No- you definitely said ‘to cancel the appointment’ as you were unable to make it”
“Sorry- I think there’s been some confusion. When I called I was literally around the corner. Why would I cancel when I was so close? I was just trying to be courteous.”
“Well it would have been more courteous if you’d been on time!” She said emphatically and walked off.

I tried not to let it get to me, but it had. I sat there twiddling my thumbs looking over at chubby and her cohorts.

“We’ll try and fit you in soon Matthew” she said apologetically.
“thanks….sorry about the confusion” I said and regretted apologising instantly.
“Yes well can you try and make it on time next time please?”

After nearly 45 minutes of waiting the Physio called me in.

I ‘crutched’ over and sat on the bed.
After three simple manoeuvres, she asked me to continue doing what I was doing and to book an appointment for next week.

“That’s it?” I asked.
“Yes, unless you’ve got any concerns you want to ask me about?”
“Errr…oh yes! When can I get the wound wet? I’m dying to take a bath”
“Well I’d leave it at least a week after you’ve had the staples removed.”
“Okay then…thanks”

She helped me put my trainers back on and led me towards the reception.

“After next week we’ll try and get you using your crutches less- a bit more weight baring on it- but if you want you can go swimming- front crawl only though!”
“I thought you said I couldn’t get my knee wet?”
“Yeah….oh? Erm…actually don’t go swimming. See you next week!”

‘How reassuring’ I thought.

She left me with the moody black woman to book another appointment.
“Next Thursday okay?”
“That’ll be great thanks…what time?”
“Okay thanks…”
“..Better make it 10am, as I know you find it hard to get out of bed early in the morning”
“I…oh, okay. Ta” I said shaking my head with contempt.
I hobbled down the corridors and to the main reception where the fit girl in the black polo neck jumper was still on the phone and filing her expensive looking nails.

“Is there a taxi rank anywhere please?”
“Just go out the door and turn to your left…you can’t miss it!”
I walked out and turned right finding the taxi rank within seconds. As I waved it over I realised that I’d left my piece of paper with the info regarding my staple removal at the reception.

“FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!!!” I thundered.

Reluctantly I hobbled slowly and angrily back down the corridor over the bridge, down the stairs and down the annoyingly long corridor past the blood transfusion department to the physiotherapy section.

Chubby was sat at reception.
“Back again? What did you forget?”
“I gave you a piece of paper with some info on it- which I need when I get my staples removed”She looked blank at me the clicked her fingers once the penny had dropped..
“I remember! Just give me second, though I think I may have thrown it away”
She searched in vain for a minute or so on her desk.
“No sorry. I must have thrown it away.”

I thought about asking her to look through the bin, but realised it was futile, after all as she said ‘you can’t get the staff these days!’ Anyway, surely the NHS treatment Centre where I’m getting my staples removed would have all my information on their system…surely?

When I eventually climbed wearily into the taxi drenched in perspiration I realised that I’d have to go through this rigmarole on Friday and imagined the scenario “I gave the info to a chubby woman working at Broadgreen!!” and shuddered and the prospect.

“Where to hop-a-long?” Said my cheerful cabbie.
“Stationary Box! And step on it” I replied.

1 comment:

Mark said...

o the trauma of 'a run-around' at the hospital when you've had something done to your knee. Loath as I am to get into a 30-something knee discussion - what did you get done again? "I had an arthrosocopy and removal of colateral ligament and never looked back [etc.]"