I had a phone call last week advising me I had a CT scan on my heart booked. They’d found something they wanted to look at deeper on a previous ultrasound scan, despite getting the all clear, the girl on the phone explained. “That’s fine! I’ll be there. No drama! Cool beans!” I responded. The rules were spoken to me “no caffeine for 12 hours beforehand” was one of them. My reply? “But people will die!”
Anyway, I arrived at the hospital early, so to be sure I’d have adequate time to park and find the right department amongst the labyrinth of colour coded corridors and unpronounceable medically named suites. To aid me, the text they sent with the instructions said “Radiology department, level two, yellow zone”. Sounds simple enough, right? Don’t be so stupid. Of course it wasn’t simple. None of it was simple.
Could I find a parking space? Could I fuck. I drove my house around for half an hour. Oh there’s one! But could I fit in it? Again, could I fuck. Right, let’s see if I can fit in the multi storey carpark. I sat in the queue to the entrance, trying to use my super human X-ray vision to see through the wall to see if there was a height restriction. Nothing so far. I fitted through the entrance with ease. There’s ambulances in here! Yes! I can park! But alas, it was parking only for ambulances. Public parking was up the ramp. In the height restriction. Could I fit under? Could I fuck. So I followed the the ambulance route out again and did the stupid one way loop once more back onto the main road. And POW! A space! A double space at that! My luck was in! I quickly did my perfect parallel park, gathered my change together for the meter and skipped the 16 mile trip to said meter. Could I put my coins in though? Could I fuck. A little label covering the slit said “sorry, card payment only”. Every single meter said the same thing. I skulked back to my van and tried to phone the department to tell them why I am now 20 minutes late, despite arriving half hour early. Could I get through? I think y’all know the answer to that already...
I messaged Kerry to tell her I won’t be having the scan and why (I only had cash so couldn’t pay by card) as she was understandably concerned. I wasn’t concerned at all. Just another life hurdle to me! She demanded I send her the payment details and sent me on my way to radiology! Bless her little cottons!
I hunted high and low for yellow zone level two radiology but could I find it? Could I fuck. I found level two alright. And I found the yellow zone. But no radiology department. I asked four different nhs staff where radiology was and each time got sent back the way I came. I felt like I was in some cruel game show. “Contestant number 27, you’re going in the wrong direction. Still.”I eventually found it, quite by accident. In the fucking orange zone! I explained to the gig on the desk why I was now 4 years late and his words? “That’s not our problem sir.” Jesus mother of Mary god. I mumbled as politely as I could “it’s not my problem if I die. I will neither know nor care. Because I’ll be dead. But your boss my have a problem with it.” He said “I’ll be right back” and two minutes later “they’ll see you right now sir”
I donned the gowns, one on the front and one on backwards and walked the seven yards to the scan room and was asked to remove the gowns. Yeah, I know... I laid on the scanner table bed thing and they “sharp scratch” stabbed me in the arm with a cannula and stuck electrodes on my chest. “Your heart rate is very high” no shit. No fucking shiiiiiiiit! “We’ll try and bring it down with a beta blocker and some breathing exercises. Oooh! Breathing exercises? I’m good at breathing. I’ve been doing it successfully for 45 3/4 years! 4 doses later plus a weird undissolving tablet under the tongue and 6 lots of breathing exercises my heart rate was still over 110 bpm. “I’m very sorry but we’ll have to move to protocol two” the chap said. “What’s protocol two?” “Oh erm we will have to use a high amount of radiation instead”. Fine. Whatever. Nuke me. I’ve always wanted to have laser eyes anyway. The table bed thing slid in and out of the machine whilst dye was pumped into my arm via the cannula, making me feel like I’d pissed myself. Then a voice came through the speaker “we have to do it again sir”. Excitedly I shouted back “does that mean I’ll be able crush bones with my bare hands as well as burn them with my laser eyes?” I was duly ignored. I pissed the table bed thing again as the dye coursed through my veins, and then all was done. CT scan over. I was free to go.
I said my thank yous, waved goodbye and I was on my way with a headache the Coneheads would be proud of. Thank you NHS, despite me being very late, you still saw me and did what you had to do. I took the punishment for being late on the chin and I promise it won’t happen again.
I shall leave you with this gem of a fact:
There are only two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious."