This is how our day goes.................... for a doctor appointment at 10.30 we have to be there at 9.30.
7am I get up and get the wood-burner cleaned out and laid, grab some breakfast, bring in a load of wood to fill the wood basket. Then I make a flask and pack some food to take with us.
Col has a flask, mug, tea bag and a little milk in a jug overnight in his room so he can have a cuppa as soon as he likes. Then I take him some cereal and juice for his breakfast in bed and then he gets up.
He has to rest again due to being worn out getting washed and dressed while I wash the dishes and wipe up if there is time.
About 8am we set off. Its a couple of miles to the A140, down that road for a couple more miles then the A1120 for 5 miles to join the A14. Then 28 miles keeping up with the traffic at 70mph until a truck traveling at a preset 57mph pulls out to overtake another truck traveling at a preset 56mph and, because it's only 2 lanes, everything slows down to 57mph for as long as it takes!
|One truck decides to overtake another truck going up a hill!|
Around Newmarket it turns into 3 lanes for 9 miles and then we turn off and head down the A11 - back to dual carriageway for 8 miles and finally an ordinary smaller road for another 5 miles to the hospital. By which time it's usually heading toward 9.30 as the last few miles to the hospital are very busy with traffic lights holding things up.
When we first started going to clinic after his transplant we drove straight into the multi-storey car park and after getting the wheelchair out of the back I'd have to push him all the way into the Oncology and Heamatology Outpatients clinic. When he got a bit better I'd drop him and wheelchair off at the drop off point and he got himself in while I parked and then caught up with him just inside to push him to clinic..... which saved me a lot of pushing. Now I can drop him and wheelchair off and he can prop himself up and push the wheelchair right round to clinic, so that by the time I've parked and walked from the car park to clinic he's usually already checked himself in and had his blood test.
They do a ticket system so that you check in, get a number and when called go round the corner from the waiting room to the blood test room. Then into another area to be weighed. He has to have his Hickman Line flushed and dressed each week and they do this by letters of the alphabet cards and when your letter is called you go and get this done by a nurse in another room. Next is the pharmacist who is there to see everyone who needs repeat prescriptions, she sends the prescription request on-line to the pharmacy.
Then we wait to see the doctor and we wait and wait..............and wait some more. There would always be an hour wait because the blood test results have to get to the doctor but usually it's 2 or 3 hours.
We've always got our flask and snack and there's a water cooler there too (There's also a (W)RVS coffee shop adjacent to this clinic but they are blinkin' expensive so we put up with the strange looks we get with our flask and mugs!).
Last week we were put in a little room to wait (and wait) because according to his blood test from the week before he was carrying a flu virus! which is odd as he's had no flu symptoms at all.
Unfortunately the chairs in the little room were more uncomfortable than the main waiting room. He sat in the wheelchair and I went back to the main waiting room for some of the time.I did suggest he laid on the examination couch but that would have been even more uncomfortable!
While we are waiting I toddle off down to the Outpatients pharmacy to collect his tablets. It's run by Lloyds Chemist and usually very busy.........not really big enough for the size of the hospital Outpatients departments. First queue on the left to check in and they look on their computer and then give you a numbered ticket and tell you how long the wait is likely to be.......30 minutes is the norm. I either sit in the waiting area and wait for the number to come up on the screen or go back to the clinic. Then once the number is on the screen it's another queue on the right to collect prescription. We are so civilized with all this queuing! But you do hear a lot of moans and groans by people for whom this is their first time and don't realise just how long they have to wait. I was almost shoved out of the way one week when a lady's number came up on the screen and she thought that because her number was there she could push her way to the front! " Sorry, it doesn't work like that" I said and showed her my ticket number which had appeared on screen a few minutes earlier.......... she stood behind me and moaned for the next five minutes!
The wait in clinic is livened up by a browse through the book cases in the corner where they have lots of secondhand books for people to borrow or buy for a donation. Two of the weeks recently we've been entertained by a lady Harpist which is such a nice idea......... Harp music is very restful. There are some jigsaw puzzles laid out and started on tables but I don't often have a go at them. I also do a lot of people watching - Cancer does affect all sorts of people - it's a great leveler. It's interesting to see how different people deal with the waiting. Sometimes I'll go and browse through all the magazines in the shop by the main Outpatients entrance - and other days wander right up to the other end of the hospital and go the the Bank - the only Barclays I know without long queues, or maybe nose around the gift shop, the clothes shop and Body Shop or the M&S food shop....... but I don't need to buy anything. ...... always amazed at the queue at the Costa Coffee shop!
If I'm into a good book that I've brought with me then I tend to stay and read rather than wander.
Eventually we, or Col on his own if I've gone off somewhere, get called to see the doctor and hope he doesn't decide to prescribe some other sort of medication which would mean repeating the Pharmacy wait all over again.
When the doctor says "any more questions?" we usually answer "please can we go home!"
Then it's a big push up to the car park or he walks a little depending how he feels. Get the ticket checked to get the discount, pay at the machine and Hooray.... at last we are out and on our way home. Sometimes we get in by 3 o'clock often it's nearer 4. Neither of us feels like doing much for the rest of the day, so it's get the kettle on, light the fire and then something on toast for tea.
Repeat all over again next week.
PS Welcome to follower number 280 and thank you for jug comments. This new jug is a bit bigger than some of my other jug collection so was put straight into use.......after a good clean..........as the jug in which I put some full fat milk watered down ½ and ½.....roughly......... for me to use.