Doing battle with daily dragons

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Adventures in Medicine

So, I’ve not been completely well lately and I went to my ever efficient local surgery to find out why.

I am a month shy of 30, a woman, a non-smoker, and, while not as fit as I should be, not so grotesquely unfit that people make oinking sounds at me in the street. There’s really not much chance that there would be something wrong with my heart, but my GP said I had a “twitch”. Everyone has had a strange muscle twitch that they couldn’t stop for love or money. One in the eyelid is especially socially unacceptable as it makes people think you’re winking at them which can be either advantageous or dangerous, depending on the wink-ee.

Well, supposedly, I’ve got one in my heart that will, I’ve been assured, go away on its own. “It’s just a muscle, like all of the others,” said my slightly wet GP. However, a discernable heart twitch that makes you feel like the whole damn show is about to stop is much more worrying that a fluttering eyelid for the individual concerned, so, to make both of us feel better, she ordered an ECG.

The timeline of my ECG:

  • Take off shirt.
  • Get little sticky suckers stuck all over most ticklish areas possible.
  • Nurse realizes she has no idea how to use the machine, as it is new, unfamiliar and laden with technological foreboding.
  • Gets other nurse, while leaving me lying topless, cold and sticky-suckered on table.
  • Other more surly nurse arrives and explains that she’s done it all wrong and has to re-do the whole thing.
  • Ripping off and re-sticking on of sticky suckers resulting in little tears forming in the corners of my eyes. Jiggling of cables.
  • Patient in next room over collapses because the silly bastard came in to have a load of blood taken without eating breakfast first, so am left again lying topless, cold and sticky-suckered while nurses attempt to revive him and comfort his traumatized 3 year old.
  • Original nurse returns, presses a button, smiles, and says, “You’re done.”

Imagine my total non-surprise when I returned to my GP to find out the results and she informed me that the scan had been lost. Upon my return home, I was contacted by the not- quite- sheepish- enough surgery.

Secretary: We really are very sorry about all of this. When would it be convenient for YOU to come back to have to scan again?

Me: How about tomorrow?

Secretary: There aren’t any slots open tomorrow.

Me: How about Thursday?

Secretary: There aren’t any slots open on Thursday either. How about Friday?

Me: I work on Fridays. So this really isn’t about what’s convenient for me, is it?

Secretary: I’m sorry?

Me: Nothing.

Secretary: We can fit you in on Monday.

Me: That’s dandy.

NHS, WTF.