Friday, November 11, 2016

Hospital Appointment For Carol

Carol had to go for a hospital appointment this morning. She went into the Academy as usual, but walked home at around 10.45. The actual appointment was 11.30. As the hospital is so close, there was really no point driving, because we'd only have to pay to use the hospital car park, and it would be quicker to walk, what with traffic. It's no more than a ten minute walk there, along the Redway behind our house and then straight through to the path that runs beside the road. The only problem was that it was threatening to rain, a miserable undecided sort of day on the weather-front, overcast and cold.

We had to walk around the front of the hospital complex, to the Maple Centre, which is near the entrance for Accident and Emergency. In through the front entrance and we were inside a typical N.H.S. unit. Why do they always have that air of depression, the same rather strong smell, clean, but unpleasant? Is it the cleaning material they use, or what is it? Over-clean, I think. Obsessively so. It's difficult to see immediately where you have to go. So many signs, go here, co there. Reception desk, do you sign in or not? I would have come with Carol anyway, but in the letter she had for the appointment, it said that she needed to bring someone with her as they would put drops in her eyes as part of the procedure and she wouldn't be safe to drive afterwards and, as a result, also have a pair of dark glasses as her eyes would be sensitive to bright light. At the reception desk Carol gives the woman behind the counter the letter she was sent and the information is put in the computer. Signed in and told to sit and wait. We go and sit in the Yellow Bay. A lot of old people sitting and waiting. It's even more depressing. Nobody talks. Nobody wants to give anyone eye contact. Which is ironic, when you think it's the eye clinic. Carol is here because she's recently been diagnosed as diabetic and they have to check your eyes to prevent eye problems which might result. The place is decorated white, cold, typically N.H.S., standard paintwork. Why can't it be done in more bright and colourful colours? Surely it wouldn't cost anymore. As people walk about the floor seems to move. It's got a strange sort of movement, as if the place is built on springs or something. Why is it like that? The Carol gets called to go in to her appointment. I make notes in my notebook I try to take with me everywhere. This is a good place to study characters, people's behaviours. A woman comes in with a baby in a stroller. I'm not actually sure what you call these things- stroller, buggy, baby-carrier. Anyway, a complicated machine with wheels, lots of levers and handles and the actual bit into which the baby is inserted, padded and comfortable, with straps and looking to me like a sort of coal scuttle. I think it disconnects so it can be put into a car, with the baby safe within it. Then a second lady arrives, and it turns out she is the sister of the other lady with a baby. Why are they here? Is it her appointment, or the babies? Difficult to know.

The Carol calls to me from another waiting area. Green Bay. She says, come in here and sit with me. She has to wait for 20 minutes for the drops she has had put in her eyes to take effect. Green Bay is even more depressing than Yellow Bay. I don't see how you differentiate between the coloured bays, but Carol says it's the door-frames, painted different colours. The green paint in Green Bay is rather insipid, not a proper green to my way of thinking. The place has posters all over the walls, rather too many for my liking. Don't do this, don't do that, information over-kill. They tell you that, if you use a mobile phone, to respect other patients privacy. As if you'd ever not. But I suppose some people have no idea about 'respect.' Probably use their mobile to take a 'selfie'. As if you'd want to in a hospital. There's free wifi, so presumably it's alright to use a mobile. I was always under the impression you weren't supposed to use your mobile at all in a hospital. Something about the radio signals they use interfering with the computers and other equipment. But there is no evidence that this is true.

It's so gloomy. Nobody wants to talk to you. People being lead about, rather like the blind leading the blind. More deep irony. We just want to have a laugh. Why are the people in here so miserable? I know, a hospital isn't a particularly laugh-out-loud sort of place, and especially a department like this.  But please, just lighten up. I think I'd go completely nuts if I couldn't have a laugh. So many old people, just looking miserable, is enough to drive you completely doo-lalley. There's not even a television to watch or a coffee machine. Nothing to while away the time.  A pile of ancient magazines, most more or less past their best before day, if they ever had one in the first place. Can't the N.H.S. employ a stand-up comedian to get people to at least SMILE? laughter- supposedly the best form of medicine. Then Carol gets called back into the room to have a chat with the clinician or whatever he's called about her eyes. They take photographs of her eyes, which is why they put the drops into her eyes so that your pupils dilate which makes taking the photographs easier. I had this done when I had my eyes tested the other week.

Which reminds me, also on an eye-related matter. I have been to SpecSavers, on Wednesday, in Milton Keynes Shopping Centre, to have the prescription I got when I had my eyes tested the other week, and I'm having two pairs of glasses made up, for £69 (a really good offer.) One pair will be for distance work (for example, driving, watching television etc.) and another pair for reading, using the computer etc, more close work.) These will be ready next Wednesday.

So, having been back in to chat with the clinician, she comes back out and we leave. It's a matter of finding your way out into the hospital campus and trying to decipher the various conflicting notices, some saying 'Exit' and 'Way Out.' It's bright sunshine when we get outside and Carol puts on the dark glasses she bought with her. We stroll back home through the hospital grounds and back into Eaglestone and along the Redway and home. 
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