Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Six Days Of Stress And Anxiety Amid The Already Existing Stress And Anxiety

I'm fuming. Here's why.

I went to the hospital yesterday. For the THIRD Tuesday in a row. This time it was to have a blood test following my nephrology consultancy last week. I should have had the test done last week but I was late for a meal with the family for my Dad's birthday so I sacked it off, not knowing that this type of test can only be conducted on Tuesdays. Like fucking bin collections or something. So back I went yesterday for the blood test.

The blood test itself is no big deal. Apart, that is, from the 45 minutes to an hour it takes for your turn to come around once you have taken your ticket from the machine and found a seat among some very sick looking people indeed. The problem comes afterwards because what they are testing for apart from kidney function is potassium levels. I have a tendency to get high potassium. I can't eat bananas. They're like Kryptonite. It's all kidney related but anyway if you get high potassium they ring you straight away and demand that you call into your local A & E to do a lot more waiting, a lot more blood tests and finally, if it comes to it, to have seven kinds of shite pumped into your veins in a manner that is time consuming as well as weirdly uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

It's an unpleasant business, so heading home after any blood test for me means spending the rest of the evening looking at the telly but not really watching it because I'm expecting a phone call from some crazed, panicked doctor to tell me that I need my potassium levels reducing right now lest my heart explode. And that's when you get the treatment. So I waited, and I waited, like a really long and boring Guinness advert and the call never came. I went to bed at about 11.00 last night and still there had been no call.

Now ordinarily this means that there won't be a call. High potassium is a grave enough concern for them to insist on ringing me as a matter of urgency, so when I awoke this morning I assumed I had dodged the bullet this time. The morning passed uneventfully (and oh, equally as boringly as any A & E department) until the end of my lunch break when my doctor, the otherwise personable Dr Chow, rang to tell me that unfortunately my blood samples had been mis-handled and would I mind awfully going back next Tuesday to take another test? You're ahead of me if what you are thinking is 'oh, but doesn't that mean another evening of anxiety and possibly time consuming and weirdly uncomfortable treatment?' Well, yes it does. She confirmed that they did not get a read on my potassium levels but stuck to the story that this type of test can only be conducted on a Tuesday afternoon, which maths fans will have worked out is fully six days away. I could go to A & E, but if I do that they probably won't get the actual kidney function results that they also need. Not that my kidney function has changed much in the last 10 years since they started pumping me with 50 shades of shite to stabilise it.

So there now follows six days of stress and anxiety, waiting to have the test which will then determine whether I again need to have the treatment. In the meantime, if my heart explodes (highly unlikely but I have been feeling a bit palpy recently which is why I didn't just dismiss the idea out of hand) then at least it will mean I won't have to go back to A & E for any time consuming and weirdly uncomfortable treatment. I don't mean to moan, you know. I really don't. I recognise that there are people far worse off than me but I just think that the way they have been handling my situation recently is an absolute piss-take. A couple of weeks ago they informed me in the waiting room that they had cancelled my nephrology appointment without informing prior notice. Must have been because of the bank holiday, the nurse told me. This shows me how much of a shit they do not give about the state of my health, but show them an even mildly threatening test result and they are rushing about like Charlie Fucking Fairhead on speed.

In addition to this ranty, desperately unfunny blog I have written a long, boring and futile complaint to the people who deal with this sort of thing at nephrology at the Royal Liverpool. I remember making a similar complaint about the way I was treated during a hospital stay in 2013 and having precisely nothing done about it. Yet we should rest assured that they are striving to improve their services. Now you could argue that I am the common denominator in all of this complaining and it is fair to say that I don't get all that excited about hospital visits. But it does not help when the incompetent plebs who pick and choose when to worry about your imminent heart attack can't do something as simple as correctly handling a blood sample.

It is customary to end pieces like this with the phrase 'rant over' but I like to think myself a proper writer so I am not going to do that. Instead I shall simply say 'sod off' and hope for all our sakes that I am not writing any more angry rubbish like this for some time to come.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Flaming potassium is like Goldilocks and the three bears. You're screwed if it's high or low, the only way to have it is just right.
Hopefully when you finally get your blood tests you'll be OK for now at least.