A hospital is no place to be sick…
Picture it – an early(earlyish, for a retiree pensioner) start to the morning. Picture it. Someone was going to shove a camera up my willy to check my bladder for – things. No pre-admission instructions, but I read up on Dr Google and Dr CHatGPT, and just like last time I had a flex cystoscopy it was “no restrictions, empty bladder before procedure.”
Too easy, I can do that. But I was also going to get an antibiotic this time because I get infection complications every time. I decided to go easy, just a sip of coffee and a mouthful of food to get my blood sugars out of the gutter. My only other instructions were from the Pre-Ad people, to be at Day Surgery by 08:45 so they could test me and get me through quickly.
Showed up, was told to go sit in the corridor outside DS until called. So at 08:40 I did that, and waited. Passed half a dozen people on my walk to DS all but two not wearing masks. And they were all hospital staff, on duty.
And waited until I got sick of it (08:55 and the pun is entirely unintentional I swear) and pushed the door to the front desk open, said I’d been asked to come 15 minutes early and sit and wait outside and was now worried I was late.
“Well then you’re a bit late sir. And no, Reception shouldn’t have told you to wait outside. And hang on – we have you booked in for an 08:00 start anyway so a nurse will call you for the RAT test in a minute.”
I fired off a message on the elephant app to have a bit of a vent, “Nurse Jenny” (not their real name of course) took me to shove a swab up my nose, then put a LOT of drops on the test, which turned purple all the way up and down in protest, and then – … Well, it never really recovered from that drenching actually and just the control line darkened. (And I’m still pissed off that they’ve already mucked me around multiple times by this stage so I’m in no mood to have another swab shoved up my nose and another wait. You don’t wanna mess with me, all!)
But I knew I was clear, Nurse Jenny seemed a bit risk-happy, and so I get to change into the “Medical Haute Couture du Jour” and put my stuff into the bag I brought with me. Then the lovely “Nurse Nice” went over my paperwork with me in her office, and it turns out they do prefer you to not have eaten or drunk anything beforehand despite giving zero instructions about it, but by this stage I’m getting used to the idea that this organisation makes a computer look lame when it comes to creating chaos.
Next, “Nurse Shortie” took me to the waiting area (where she got my name and allergies wrong twice) and sat me down, walked out, walked right back in again, called my name – and was seemingly surprised when I got up to follow her to Theatre. Make that three times the tiny nurse proved she’s seemingly also short on memory. Probably had COVID and doesn’t realise she’s now short-staffed in the brain department as a consequence. At least she’s wearing a mask.
Now I have Nurse Shortie, “Nurse MrBeginner,” “Nurse Tall,” my urologist, and – who the fuck is this? Turns out to be “Doctor I’mNewStillLearning,” who’s going to be driving the endoscope. Only by now, I’ve been fucked around from pillar to post, it’s cold, and I’m having An Invasive Procedure. There’s a definite unwillingness on the part of The Honourable Member to rise to the occasion. I ask them if they have a microscope instead. No-one gets it. Oh well. I’m not here for an audience for my “stand up” comedy anyway…
The procedure starts and it’s clear that Doctor INSL really is a beginner, as I begin to feel dickpunched and feeling invasive pain stabs where a bloke shouldn’t get stabby pains – o noes – never! – and have to keep reminding the new driver to – ouch! – keep his mind – owww! – on the controls please. The surgeon’s also talking to Dr INSL, explaining how to drive the seeming telescope they’re using.
“No. Don’t take your thumb off that. You need that to…”
(I get to suppress a little scream as I work out that perhaps he needs the thumb on whatever "that" is to actually steer the damn thing , because the business end of it keeps crashing into the barriers like me trying to play Mario Cart)
“…see and direct the camera, see?”
A few more crashbarrier crashes – and squeaks from me – and then this cross between a coral and an octopus appears on the screen – WTF-IS-THAT-OMG-AM-I-GONNA-DIE? – and Surgeon Surgeon says
“and there it is, nothing malignant but we’ll book you back in to have that out under general anaesthet – NO, KEEP YOUR THUMB ON IT and now you can invert it – see? – and withdraw and see on your way out, see how that’s now inverted? … umm general anaesthetic sometime in the near future.” and by now I want fucking danger money and a wage appropriate to a Surgical Training Dummy First Class…
I remind Surgeon Surgeon that I’d like a script for the antibiotic to take care of the inevitable infection, and he says “Oh we’re going to give you it by IV injection” and it’s off to Recovery where the place is packed with old fellers all bemoaning their woes. TBH I sympathise with them too, their waterworks issues are all a bit more serious than a squid attaching itself to your water balloon.
Then Nurse MrBeginner (serious expression over the mask, almond eyes, speaks fluent English so I’m guessing he was born here and has done all his schooling here, good on him for going into medicine in these times) gets the kit for the antibiotic – which as to be IV so he has a full IV kit there. I sense that this is a bit new to him so I point out the vein by the wrist that everyone ends up going to after not being able to find another one.
“I’ve had fewer fluids than normal, so I’m likely to be a bit dehydrated and veins hard to find” but he keeps gamely looking for one in the elbow crook, finally goes to the one I pointed out – it’s very prominent – and cleans up, puts the cannula in and – … Pushes it in one side and out the other, an immediate blowout. It’s only my second blowout ever but I keep it light for his sake, “wipe it off, apologise, and slap a patch on it, I’ll keep pressure on it.” He looks a bit perturbed but it looks like he’s cracking a grin under his mask.
Five minutes later an older Indian nurse wanders over and says she’ll do the cannula in other arm, and proceeds to do it flawlessly, dribbles the antibiotic in ultra-slowly and flushes it through, done and dusted in a few minutes. I wonder if she or anyone told Nurse MrBeginner his mistake was not stabilising the vein so that it rolled and that’s how he found the other wall instead of the clear space he thought he was in. But the hospital doesn’t seem to be teaching him much, poor guy. And never mind him, pity me – I got two learner drivers in one procedure…
Even with all the hiccups I’ve been in and out in under two hours though which is great – but the Plague Rats walking around without masks is troubling. It was bad enough when customers were walking into the chemist’s stores without masks and seemingly oblivious to the irony of walking into a place made by science and medicine, and then totally ignoring the science and medicine that says that masks are A VERY GOOOD IDEA. And then suddenly we had some chemists not wearing masks, and now, seemingly, also some hospital staff.
I’m not saying the majority of the human race is screwed. But these are nurses, orderlies, a cleaner, two managerial office types, and a fucking surgeon. We’re back to Sam Goldwyn’s observation, after only fifty years.
Hey medical people: You know the score with COVID19, so why are you spreading it? Job security? What’s your IQ worth? Your heart? Your brain? Get over your precious selves being inconvenienced – I have COPD and emphysema and I wear a mask every time. Every. Time. If I can do it, so can you.
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