Death by Powerpoint

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My doctors surgery is modern despite the magnolia walls and brown carpet tile appearance. They have a self booking in service, online repeat prescription ordering and screens in the waiting room that play a loop of information about the staff and services they offer. Having spent the best part of 8 months in and out of that waiting room, I am very familiar with the info-loop. I know all of the appointment times, the costs for travel jabs, emergency telephone numbers etc. Although I know each of the 37 pages off by heart, my eye is still drawn to it. On Friday I experienced this info-loop in a whole new way.

It was on Friday that I sat opposite Blue Clogs and her husband while they discussed each one of the slides in turn. It would not have been so bad if they were just reading aloud but as each new slide appeared, they would stare at it for a bit before one of them would jab the other on the arm and say “oh, they do late night appointments on the third Thursday of every month”, followed by a lengthy discussion, only interrupted by the next slide.

When a boring slide would appear detailing only the doctor’s name, their year of graduation and an alphabet string after their name, Blue Clogs asked then answered her own questions. Are your glands up? Mine are up. Do you think the nurse is running late? I think she is. Are you cold? I’m cold. Do you want fish tonight? I want…….. oooh, they do routine appointments from 7:30am on a Tuesday.

“Oh you simply must go swimming”

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Normally don’t mind making small talk with fellow waiting room furniture. The limited literature, the state of the surgery car park’s pot holes (which have now been filled by the way), waiting times and, very occasionally, the weather.

On this particular occasion, I was having a sublimely sterile conversation with Pleasant Hat about her garden and how she struggles to bend now-a-days when Nosey Twin-Set got involved. She suggested, no, insisted that Pleasant Hat should swim regularly. From previous experience of swimming helping with certain issues I would agree but Pleasant was in her late 70’s at least and was wearing a cast on her foot.

Pleasant remained pleasant, pointing out the cast. “Oh which would you rather, a healed ankle or to be able to enjoy your garden?” replied Twin-Set. Seriously? I was unable to remain as polite as my temporary companion. “So she should ask to have the cast removed prematurely so she can go swimming?” I couldn’t stop from leaving my lips.

Further enquiries, possible due to long waiting times previously discussed, meant I found out she thought the answer was yes and that dressings were simply “a state of mind” and that with healthy eating and exercise “one could simply heal naturally”. The large, twice operated on, heavily packed and dressed hole in my back begged to differ. Luckily Twin-Set was then called in. She obviously lost and  mistook this surgery for her local pool.

Easy mistake I suppose

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Ordered replacement pads from my TENS pain-relieving machine from Boots. Clueless-but-Helpful placed the order for me and would call when available.

Imagine my surprise when I turned up to collect them only to be faced with Tena pads for incontinence. Clueless seemed unfazed by this insisting the urine absorbing pads were the same as the electrical pulse transmitting TENS pads I was actually after.

When I had spent 5 minutes detailing to Clueless why this wasn’t going to be possible, she instead just tried to sell them to me anyway. Not today thankyou.

Blame the new girl

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How difficult can setting an appointment be? I turn up to the hospital for my 11:20 to find that the consultant is in a completely different hospital. There was a a new girl on last week apparently, she didn’t know the booking system. Dorothy Perkins at the desk doesn’t seem to have any idea why this would be an inconvenience.

I politely explain why this is a problem. The wasted 23 mile round trip to get to the hospital, the fact that I’ve taken time off work and will need to do so again for my new appointment, I now need to phone my surgery to get my dressings changed because I was going to get it done here, additional parking costs and another 23 mile round trip.

Something in my demeanor seems to tell Dorothy that I’m not a happy camper. Maybe it was me telling her I wasn’t a happy camper.

Will I get £200 for selling my story?

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I’ve had an ongoing need to visit the surgery regularly for dressings, they’ve fitted me in at various times that are not normal patient times because I’m a regular and a 5 minute job I’m grateful but it means the waiting rooms are often empty when I’m there while the doctors are either on their rounds or making telephone calls to patients.

I heard that confidentiality was a good idea within the medical profession. Maybe it’s over-rated. Trouble is, it’s a small town. Not banjo, pig-squealing small, but there is still a chance you bump into at least 3 people you know while walking through the high street.

The doctors seem to have ignored the fact I’m sat in the waiting room and are making their various calls and having their various colleague discussions with me sitting there. I now know that Mrs B has a very bad case of thrush following the birth of her third child; Mr F’s piles would benefit from a salt water bath and Miss S should stop her antibiotics if they are interfering with her asthma medication.

OK, nothing I’d ring the News of the World about but I may know Mrs B, Mr F and Miss S. I just hope that Mr D gets the some help with his suppositories as the repeated walk through over the phone do not seem to have helped. “No, you need to remove the foil first Mr D. That’s why they are not working”.

Clinic had to go back in time to be running this late

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Clinic started at 9a.m. My appointment was at 9:15. I arrive just before my appointment to see a note on the board informing me that the clinic is currently running 50 minutes late. How??

A blonde lady who, for reasons known to only her, is wearing pink fairy wings on her back and too busy colouring in the cast on her arm to be aware that the waiting room is filling up with more and more people but no-one seems to have been called in yet.

At 9:45a.m. we start to move. Is-that-me thinks it’s him regardless of whose name is called. at 10:30a.m. the novelty of this has worn off. Purple-toes is getting agitated because a person who arrived after him has been called in first. Is-that-me thought it was him. The nurse is having difficulty explaining to Purple-toes the concept of appointment rather than arrival order.

Fairy-wings is practically floating out of the clinic on her way to x-ray. Purple-toes eventually goes in grumbling something about this not happening during his day – whenever that was.

As I walk out of the clinic at 11:45a.m. Is-that-me finds out it is.

“You’re not on my list.”

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I’m ringing to see if you have any idea what time my community nurse will visit today as it’s getting a bit late and I really need to go out shortly.

“You’re not on my list.” –  Well I’ve been seen by a district nurse every Sunday for the last few months now so I should be on your list.

“Well I don’t usually work this patch. Do you normally get seen on the weekend?” – I’ve been seen every Sunday for the last few months.

“I’ve already been to your village this morning. As you’re not on my list are you sure it can’t wait until Monday?” – I’ve been seen every Sunday for a dressing change for the last few months because it doesn”t last until Mondays.

“Do you think it will last until Monday this weekend?” – Well now that you mention it, I’ve clearly been wasting the NHS’s time these past six months. I shouldn’t have put my life on hold waiting for community nurses to visit on the weekends and not been able to visit friends and make plans. I’m glad you suggested I wait until tomorrow. You know what? I think I might just make it until Mon….. hang on…. No. What time will you be coming?

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