Next please ….

My friend Martin never normally makes voice calls.

It’s normally connecting by e mail or perhaps a short text.

So when he called me on his mobile phone on Sunday afternoon I was rather surprised to see his name appear on my phone screen.

“How are you?” I said cheerfully.

“Not brilliant. Are you free at the minute?”

The bottom line was that he had fallen over on his patio in his garden and had hit his right leg on the stone step.

As it had swollen almost immediately he phoned his local doctor who advised him to get himself up to his local hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department as soon as possible.

I immediately drove over to his house to give him a lift and to give him some company for his A&E visit.

A&E reception was bursting at the seams, full of people, with every seat taken.

We queued up to register and, amidst the high level of background chatter, Martin managed to get his details across to the receptionist behind the glass screen.

We luckily found two seats free in the same row but a few spaces apart.

Some kind patients in between offered to swap seats so we could chat easily.

And we did.

For about 2 hours, in fact, before an impressive male nurse with a clipboard called out his name.

We rushed up to meet him and his look told us that he was surprised to see us.

He was surprised because he has called out the name Margaret and not Martin.

Full marks for his observation.

No marks for our hearing.

We were sent back to our seats, now taken.

Eventually we went in to see the specialist.

She was warm, amusing but professional.

She tested his leg and his ability to move his ankle and knee.

All seemed ok so she asked if we had any questions.

“I have two questions” said Martin

“Will I be able to swim with this leg?”

“If you could swim before with this leg, you should be able to swim with it now” she said with a smile.

And the second question?

“Will I be able to take part in the pantomime we are showing at my local theatre next week?”

“Especially so if it’s Treasure Island and you are playing Long John Silver” she said with a wicked smile.

We both came out into the main A&E reception laughing and joking.

Other potential patients waiting nervously for their calls must have wondered what we had both been prescribed ….

Waiting Room Blues …

This is not a song or musical genre.

It’s just that I’ve been in a couple of hospital waiting rooms supporting some friends lately and it’s been interesting.

I expected to see queues of people and overworked reception staff.

I was therefore not surprised as we lined up, almost out of the door, to check in.

I marvelled at the calm receptionists who were handling patients arriving late, in the wrong place, demanding attention.

Being difficult, looking stressed.

Phones were ringing everywhere (many from patients in the queue), hospital staff were barging through with trollies, with papers and clipboards.

People were trying to register their car number plates into the new parking permit system and banging the touch screen because it was not responding.

Nurses were coming out calling patient names over the general hubbub and patients were straining to work out if the name was theirs.

On one occasion the nurse called for a Mr White and two gentlemen stood up at the same time and tried to work out what Mr White she really wanted.

It’s easy being a support when you are not in the firing line (not literally) – you can practise your yoga breathing and reflect.

You can offer some observational humour.

Words of support too of course.

I’m not sure if I would feel so reflective as a patient though ….. on my side of the fence it’s so damn easy.

Queueing Theory …

The doctor’s surgery is always an interesting place to just watch life go by.

People rush in, gasping for breath, probably late for their appointments, and head straight for the auto “check in” TV touch screen to save time in actually queuing to see the reception secretary.

They punch the screen, not literally, and work through the screens (and their memory) typing in surname initial, Birth Month, Birth Date, and then wait for the magic confirmation of check in on the screen.

Some are not so lucky.

Rejected by the machine (why me? they cry in their heads) and now with strict orders to go and speak to the reception lady or gent to book in manually.

This can involve a wait.

Sometimes a long wait.

Sometimes at the end of a long queue.

Standing anxiously in the queue they are already cutting it fine on their appointment time I guess.

They then sit down and wait for the large TV screen near the ceiling to chime, showing their name (plus your Doctor’s name plus their surgery room).

If you blink you’ll miss the screen prompt.

If you are chatting you’ll miss the chime.

Off you go you have been called!

Just barge your way to your doctors room cutting through the long queue of people who are waiting to manually book in to reception.

Then try to remember the room number that was shown on that large TV screen a few moments ago.

You probably now realise you have forgotten this in the elation of being called.

You certainly don’t want to be feeling ill to face this process ….

Hang in there …. just saying