Tuesday 2 October 2007

computer says no

To Chase Farm Hospital this morning. Started well with the immediate find of a parking space – no mean feat now they’ve sold off every spare inch for private development. Even better the ticket machine was broken – probably smashed by a frustrated visitor who spent an age finding a space then lost the plot on discovering they didn’t have the required £63 pounds in spare change. Being NHS territory it was downhill after that.

My appointment letter directed me to the ‘women’s unit. There are no signs, anywhere, for said unit. I take a gamble and head towards maternity. A temporary sign overhead says ‘women and children’. And not a lifeboat in sight.

When the receptionist arrived she spent 20 minutes banging her computer into life. Despite having a letter detailing today at 9.00am for an appointment with the consultant, Ms J, the receptionist couldn’t understand what I was doing there. Ms J doesn’t have a Tuesday clinic; therefore I was not on the list. I should not be here. But here I was. With a letter. Telling me to be here. We quickly reached a standoff and she asked me to take a seat.

She spent the next 30 minutes dealing with other people’s problems: women who also should not be here, a man who’s wife couldn’t get through on the appointment line, and women who should be here but had no consultant (he was in an emergency).

I waited for a lull before asking did she have any suggestions? She asked me to hold on and promptly disappeared, presumably to take some Valium or something stronger. Luckily she hadn’t done a runner (as any normal sane person would have) and upon her return directed me towards another unit.

Despite having neither need nor desire for a coloposcopy I went to the unit as directed.
Their waiting room seemed a less likely candidate for issuing super bugs and the very kind-not-at-all-on-the-edge manager, after some confusion, offered to resolve my problem.

She came back a couple of times for more details as despite being treated at this establishment a number of times over the past thirty years, they had no record of my existence. A new IT system was installed in July. After 2 and half hours I was eventually discovered. On the old system. Twice!

A different consultant agreed to see me so back to the women’s unit I trot. The scary/scared receptionist didn’t seem at all pleased to see me again. We got off to another bad start when she said she really don’t know what I was doing there. I am ashamed to say I did lose a bit of my calm exterior and some of the bubbling frustration inside me, because I hadn’t waited three hours to see a registrar who wasn’t even attached to my consultant (although for all I know they may very well be attached).

Anyways, Mr M, the consultant, finished with his emergency, saw me and the old charmer took three whole minutes to persuade me into having my womb micro-waved. Doesn’t that sound delicious?

And this coming so soon after my decision to have lasered eyes. Well deciding to have an appointment to discuss the possibility of having lasered eyes. I’m hoping my long distance vision will be restored to its full former glory and that I won’t be the 0.3% for whom it all goes horribly wrong. So I shall be able to see the faces of the people before they knock me out and do the old stab stab zing thing.

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