I can’t help feeling that the Lothians NHS system is out to get me. My whole week has been like a pantomime. This is a long story and if anyone’s bored, of a delicate disposition or suicide-prone, they shouldn’t read it.
Last Friday, I woke up to find that my ear was blocked, and after trying to unblock it I came to the fairly logical conclusion that something must be stuck in there. So I thought I’d play it safe went to the university doctors that afternoon instead of having a go myself, and she peered inside to see something white (probably a cotton bud). Still no idea how it got there, it’s pretty strange and one of the stupidest “injuries” I’ve ever had before – although I did once break my toe ‘fixing’ an arcade game machine. So the doctor tried to take it out with a pair of tweezers and failed, pushing it back in. She then referred me to the ENT ward at St Johns, which is about a 2 hour bus journey away, because she didn’t feel so confident doing it herself, not being a specialist.
I got on the bus, and in true pantomime style the driver was going about a million miles an hour, and the old lady sitting next to me kept clinging on to me for dear life as we went round the corners. I arrived at St Johns, thinking I’d be there for an hour at most and then I’d be on my way back home to enjoy my weekend revising. No, there I was, alone in the waiting room for over an hour, when I got called in and a very junior doctor straight out of med school tried to get it out with a sucker tube thingy. That didn’t work either and it hurt like hell. I’ve been there for almost 2 hours now and it’s not budging, so the doctor says “I think it would be a good idea if you stayed overnight so a more senior doctor can look at you in the morning.”
I’ll be damned if I’m spending a night in hospital on a throat ward with spluttering old men keeping me awake all night when I’ve got work to do, so I said “I’d rather go home, I’ll come back here first thing in the morning”. In hindsight I should have just stayed on the bloody ward, but I failed to see how a doctor with an extra letter after his name would be more qualified to get something out of my ear, surely a mechanic would do a better job. 2 hours on the bus later I got back home and got on the internet, to see if there was anyone in Edinburgh who might be able to help me, not 2 hours away, and to my horror I discovered that Lauriston Place, not 5 minutes from my flat, has an ENT clinic. So I thought I’d ring them in the morning and go there instead of St Johns.
So I rang the next morning and the person on the other end told me that the appointments office is only open weekdays. I looked at my watch and it was 9.30am, too late to get myself down to St Johns in time to catch the senior doctor. No matter, I can wait till Monday, I’ll call Lauriston then and get an appointment.
So Monday comes around and I call Lauriston first thing hoping I’ll be able to get an appointment that day. No. The jobsbody on the other end says “oh you can’t book an appointment here, you’ll have to go and get your GP to ring St Johns and get an appointment at the clinic here…”. So with a funny feeling I was going around in circles, I went back to the university doctor during open access that morning, and they got me an appointment at Lauriston for this morning, Thursday. So after another 3 days of not being able to hear anything that goes on on my left side (not ideal for a barman), I went there this morning.
Would you believe it, I got the same junior doctor at the clinic who couldn’t help me at St Johns. I’m banging my head against a wall here and she still can’t get it out, but luckily there’s another doctor next door who she thinks can help. So she goes and gets him and he’s one of those old school patronising bastards who treats both me and her like 4-year old schoolchildren, but at least he’ll be able to help, I’m thinking. Again, no. He takes a look and after noting that I’ve got very strong cerumen glands, haven’t I (why yes doctor, I suppose I have), he puts some weird jelly stuff in my ear that will supposedly reduce the swelling, and gives me an appointment on Monday when hopefully someone’s going to do something about my friggin ear! Meanwhile I’ve got an oral exam tomorrow morning, which won’t be fun because I can’t hear half of what people are saying to me in English, never mind Chinese.
Just a bit of a rant.