I have said it before and (at the risk of being boring, which would never do) I will say it again. There is a very good reason why patients are called, well, patients.
Standing at the bus stop at what was to me an unearthly hour, I practised being patient. This turned out to be necessary because the 8.07 Pulse bus failed to turn up, leaving me to worry whether I would make it to hospital
in time for my appointment with Someone Important in the Orthopaedics Department. There was, I then decided, no point in worrying, buses being buses, don’t you know? It started to rain and a fellow passenger came charging along the road. I knew she was
a fellow passenger because she kept stopping to look over her shoulder to check whether the bus was coming up behind her - I recognised this behaviour, being guilty of it myself. “Have I missed the Pulse?” she asked me, breathlessly. I thought
of remarking that, if the Pulse had arrived on time, then I would have been on it - instead I asked her if she would like to share my umbrella and get out of the rain.
For a split second she looked as if she might refuse what I liked to think of as my Act Of Random Kindness, then she thought better of it and moved closer. I think she probably took a look at my umbrella and recognised it as being a Most Superior Brolly,
decorated as it is with pictures of London landmarks. I am extremely attached to my brolly, a present from my Little Sister and her fella, though I am always afraid I will leave it somewhere when I take it out and about with me.
The 8.17 Pulse arrived, followed immediately by the 8.07. You may wonder how I am so certain about the order in which the two buses arrived at our bus stop but that’s because our driver made
sure every passenger knew, when they climbed aboard his bus, that he was the one who was On Time, it was the Other Fella who was running late. The two buses drove in convoy into town, occasionally one bus would overtake the other bus, depending on which was
flagged down at which bus stop or forced to stop by inconsiderate passengers wanting to alight.
As it turned out, I arrived at the hospital in plenty of
time - enough time, indeed, to admire the model penguins on parade in the small courtyard, all kitted out in knitted hats. As in, the penguins were wearing the hats, not the courtyard. For goodness sake.
In no time at all I was having X-rays taken, after which I met the Really Rather Wonderful Ms K who put my poorly shoulder through its paces. “Well, that’s rubbish!” she commented, each time my arm didn’t
manage to do either her bidding or mine. Occasionally she rang the changes: “Total rubbish!” she would say, cheerfully. Her unusual bedside manner boosted me no end. I mean it, it did - there’s something totally refreshing when a doctor tells
it as it is, but with more than a hint of humour.
Could I, she asked, keep my legs straight, bend over and put both hands flat on the ground? You know me, I’m
very obedient, so I did my level best. “That’s a Fail then!” remarked the Wonderful Ms K with a twinkle in her eye.
Apparently the good
news is that something can be done about my Problem Shoulder. The Not So Good news is that it will mean more major surgery. Ms K is keen to investigate my notes where she hopes to discover more about my shoulder’s chequered history over the last fifty
years since I first dislocated it playing badminton. In the meantime, she wants me to have MRI and CT scans. Why have one scan, I always say, when you could have two? (I mention the badminton, incidentally, because I am probably the least likely person to
have ever suffered an injury while engaged in Sporting Activity. It marked my first - and last - venture onto a badminton court.)
So far, so speedy but it
was a different story in Pathology, where I had a long wait for a Vampire to take my blood. The wait, however, was somewhat enlivened when the nurse whose job it was to check everyone’s name and date of birth before entering the Vampire’s Cave,
confessed she couldn’t always remember her own name. As a result, every patient, when called, asked the nurse what her name was before she could ask them the same question. It doesn’t sound quite so funny, written down like that, but when you are
number 44 on a long list, every little helps.
I treated myself to a coffee and a Danish pastry in the hospital café before I headed home on the bus to tell
Mr B the news. I thought I deserved a treat for being such a very patient patient…