Never Say Die

What the NHS should do, see, is put together a new Word document template for Harry & I. It’d save them time in the long run.

Dear Mrs. Hairy Farmer,

Further to your outraged phone call of { }day {  }th of {  }, we can only offer you our most insincere apologies. We acknowledge that you/your son [delete as applicable] have been unacceptably pissed about, and we shall be assiduously seeking out an explanation as to why our unmotivated and lacklustre administrative staff have, once again, presided over a balls up of your medical affairs.

Kind regards,

The National Health Service.

This is utter tedium:

I was given a date of Monday 6th September by {secretary’s name redacted} after my original February surgery date (scheduled almost exactly a year ago) was cancelled because of my back-to-front heart that eventually turned out to be nicely front-to-back after all. Then I was briefly pregnant, which confused things, and then the Consultant finally noticed that I was fat, so I trudged away and lost 2 stone. I needed to lose 3, but heigh-ho. I called a month ago to enquire if we were still on for the 6th, and {redacted}’s junior flunkey told me to come in for a pre-op session. So, I sorted childcare and dutifully drove the 62 mile round-trip to be interviewed by a nurse, have my nose swabbed for MRSA, pee in a pot, and give myriad vials of blood for various unspecified tests.

By last week I had heard nothing, and was consequently darkly and deeply suspicious that Something Was Wrong, but I was also Too Bloody Busy to ring and sort it out. I finally rang up this morning, to be greeted by {redacted}’s answer phone message saying she was back in the office Monday 30th August, and to please leave a message. I demurred. This ansaphone is a prodigious promiser of patient contact that never materialises, so I kept dialling other numbers until I eventually found V, and unloaded my problem onto her. She told me that my file was certainly sat on {redacted}’s desk (who, V told me, left for a fortnight’s holiday on Friday 27th August, and will not be back until the 13th Sept…) with a post-it saying ‘anaesthesia review required.’ Furthermore, I was – get this! – not in the theatre diary for Monday 6th.

V did her best. She tracked down VIP Consultant, who is performing my Lap/Hysteroscopy in tandem with my own Very Nice Lady Consultant; he told her that as I was not his patient, she would need to see VNL Consultant, who is absent this week. He was of the opinion, however, that I would indeed need an anaesthesia review before surgery. (I interpreted this as ‘still too podgy’, which is absolutely fair comment if so. I’ve lost very little weight from around my middle at all, and my tummy looks 7 months gone still. Not ideal flesh for poking keyhole-surgery probes through.)

V relayed this to me, and followed it up with ‘Oh! I’ve just seen another post-it that says you really need the date confirming for definite because you were supposed to be going on holiday that week and you didn’t want to cancel if you didn’t have to!’ 

So, they DID know that it was meant to be Monday 6th, then.

I judge that I probably made the blameless V take enough of a rocket for her team in order for her to pass it on with gusto, while keeping her sufficiently on-side to take pity on me. She said that October had plenty of scheduling space, so let us hope that the correct alignment of weight, reviews and surgeons can be achieved before November. I’m not getting any younger here, peeps.

This pissing-down cloud does have a silver lining.

My wondrous parents – who don’t get lauded nearly enough on here, btw, because they are The Best (Grand)Parents, Ever – have booked a holiday cottage big enough for all of us for a week from this Saturday. My plan was to go in for surgery on Monday, and stagger down to Falmouth on Tuesday, clutching painkillers possessively to my chest, absolutely irrespective of what shape I was in, having missed half the holiday. Now, I get a nice full week in dry, sunny Cornwall. Annnnd that is what we call a Hint. Are you listening to me, Met Office? Are you?

So, all in all, today could have gone better. Much better. I have a rotten sore throat again, a printer that I spent 2 whole frustrating bastard hours I won’t see again trying to fix, a to-do list that is laughing at me, a toddler with half-a-day-spent-at-home cabin fever who is Very Spectacularly Not Getting The Hang Of Pants but who can (for instance) illicitly capture a large pack of chocolate sprinkles and make (pretty good, actually) faces on the floor with them, did I mention the really sore throat, a barn-sized pile of laundry avec an extra bucket of aromatic urine-soaked-and-shit-stained pants and trousers that I have only had time to quickly rinse, a bruise from where I was kicked when Harry didn’t want to share his gluesticks while we were making an (autumn!) leaf collage, no internet on the main PC and no working landlines downstairs for complicated telephone-line fault-resolution reasons, two part-time jobs that both need a full-time week at least spending on them, (except I can’t telephone anyone because of the sore bloody throat and the line fault), a little boy (taken to the park by a despondent, despairing mother at 4pm) who is desperate to pal up with, giggle with, and chase other small children but can’t keep up because he keeps falling over when he runs, and who doesn’t know what to do when they ask him ‘Why don’t you say anything?’, and a whiny post that I initially wrote at 3.3opm but promptly got eaten by bloody WordPress and necessitated me having another go, because I do so enjoy a moan!

I sat quietly down in my favourite armchair a couple of hours ago with a sigh of profound relief as John took Harry up to bed. I was minding my own business – and was naturally immediately stung by my first ever wasp.

It had obviously read my last post. Well, I had the last laugh, anyway, coz I killed the cheeky bugger. Except… it didn’t quite… die.

You’d think having your head removed from your thorax would slow you down, yes?

Not necessarily! This is a little peculiar, but nevertheless, I bring you… a wasp snuff flick. Enjoy!

Never say you don’t get variety from me.

18 Responses

  1. *Kicks NHS bureacracy sharpky and repeatedly in the shins*

    A certain secretary is asking for a Piece of My Mind. That ‘V’ found a note confirming that they KNEW you were supposed to be on the list, and SOMEONE just waltzed off on holiday without sorting it out first? I hope SOMEONE gets stung by a wasp.

    As for the rest of the day, BLEAH.

    (Heart throbbing for poor Harry. Probably (hopefully) throbbing more than Harry’s was/is. But still. SOME parents remind their kids to wait for the one tagging behind, and SOME parents remind their kids that you don’t need to talk like A.C.-frikken’-Grayling to be fun to play with. So. Boo to OTHER parents. *sniff*).

    And, I told you, wasps are creepy, also Undead.

    • I’d put his new protective helmet on (received 12 months after we really needed it!) to go to the park, not only to protect from falling injuries, but also as a very visible signal to other parents and children not to assume that Harry will behave completely as they expect. He can be so single minded that he does tend to leave smaller kids strewn behind him like orcs behind Aragorn! I feel the helmet gives my apology a head-start, somehow.

  2. Interesting home movie…
    NHS organisation is pants. Perhaps a swarm of decapitated, zombie wasps should be sent to the secretaries’ office to “encourage them to do better”??
    Poor Harry. Hope he finds a friend soon.

  3. To be pernickety, I would say that it had ‘slowed him down’. Just a little. Perhaps.

    Hang on in there, till Falmouth, which will be lovely.

    • John does always say I exaggerate!

      Although, it was definitely on the shuffle off this mortal, etc, by the time I wielded the camcorder; it was positively jiving 5 minutes previously!

  4. My. Oh, my. Sending warm thoughts for a wonderful vacation and a happy Harry. And a wasp attack on a certain someone.

  5. I will be sending that secretary a plague of NYC bedbugs plus the French mosquitoes that have covered my legs with unsightly red weals. Although I think you will be having a much better holiday sans post surgical recovery.

  6. Bloody NHS are now sending wasps out to harass people who dare to complain about them. The Bastards!

  7. Ugh. Wasps. They are ugly and their stings hurt. Why do they even exist? Our strategies for killing them: At work, people like to spray them with alcohol (the denatured stuff, not rubbing alcohol. So, vodka would work) to get them drunk enough to stop moving. Then they put them in jars to suffocate them. Clearly some people at my workplace do not have enough to do. Also, we have a TON of wasps flying around throughout the summer. At home, the husband sprays them with the hose and then smashes them. I prefer to just find some footwear and chase the bastards down.

    As for Harry and the other kids…it will work itself out eventually. You may not have encountered the right kids yet, but he’ll find the ones who are open and flexible.

    I hope the NHS can get its act together – that would make me INSANE (uh, not that I’m not already insane – see above wasp commentary).

  8. The bloody, bloody, bloody NHS. With all the caveats that they are really wonderful and caring. But for fuck’s sake.

    And I totally get that too busy to ring earlier. I have been putting off chasing a date for an appointment in November. Only, if I am honest, it has less to do with being too busy, and more that I know the process will drain me of the will to live. (Unlike the wasp).

  9. It’s hard to read about the playground difficulties–I wish I had an answer. I do harbor many hopes that as Harry grows older, the difficulties he has now will become background noise at worst, or perhaps even become more or less unnoticeable. I suppose only time will tell. But, regardless, I think he will find a community and network of friends, to whom it would never occur to judge; I suspect you’ve begun that already.

    I haven’t watched the wasp video. Too frightened.

  10. Backing up your hints to the Weather Gods for sunshine and relaxation down in Cornwall, wish I was going with you as it has been pissing down rain here all week as well!

    Also wishing an easier ride for Harry on the playground friendship front.

    And death to all wasps. Nasty savages that they are.

  11. You’ll NEED the holiday after that run of utter incompetence. NOVEMBER?
    Blooming Nora.

    Poor Harry. I hate to think of him being left out, poor mite. Though as May says, hopefully he doesn’t perceive it as a slight – in any case, a well-deserved holiday for the HFF, then! Enjoy most thoroughly.

  12. You should move here. The health system is eerily similar.


  13. Just wanted to say, good luck for tomorrow in Bognor. Am so sad I can’t be there. I feel I’m missing all the fun. I would have loved to meet you. Anyone who can make cakes like yours, and video a decapitated wasp, must be a good dinner table companion. I’m sure it will be great fun.

    All the above assumes you are going…

    Anyway, good luck.

  14. […] Today, I once again drove the 61-mile round trip to Big Regional Hospital for an anaesthesia review. Seemingly, this was the last barrier between Ann and the operating table. If the Consultant Anaesthetist was prepared to knock me out, All Systems Were Go for an early operation (plenty of scheduling space in October, remember?!). […]

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