Friday, December 10, 2010

Down Under - an illuminating visit to the hospital

This week has been a bit surreal. Fragments of strange dreams cling to my consciousness every morning. Last night, I dreamed that Mom was still alive. I was at a party, and there she was. She’d been pretending to be dead. I was so angry that it hurt.

The hospital visit was a damp squib. It was interesting nonetheless. First the runarounds from pillar to post to get a file: queue here, queue there, upstairs, downstairs then upstairs again.

At last, I settled down for the hours of waiting. Women of all ages and conditions waited for their gynecological examinations looking nervous, shuffling their feet like schoolgirls waiting outside the principal’s office.

I read most of Bill Bryson’s ‘Down Under’ while I waited - an amusing title considering what I was waiting for, and an amusing book into the bargain. I recommend it (the book, not the waiting).

I was eventually seen by a short Frenchman with a heavy accent. In private care, they didn’t bother to tell me anything about the sonar. He explained everything very well, and convinced me that I don’t have too much to worry about... yet.

There was also a nasty examination involving a torch – the same sort of torch you can get at the Chinese shop for about 50c US. It had a picture of a soccer ball on it.

They couldn’t do the biopsy. There was something wrong with me that needed clearing up first, and there was something wrong with ‘the machine’. I didn’t look at the machine too closely. I’ll see enough of it on Tuesday.

At the dispensary, it was more relaxed. Strangers struck up conversations, the woman behind me was laughing about something till tears ran down her face and I had to laugh too even though I didn’t know what it was about.

Verdict: crowded, but clean and efficient. Not worth paying ten times the amount for private care which, as far as I can see, only eliminates the queues, gives you piped music and lino. Oh, and their machines probably work, and they have very likely got more expensive torches, but I bet no-one laughs till they cry in the pharmacy.

Today’s pic: something illuminating


  1. Good Morning, Adrea! Hospitals are huge and I always felt successful if I could find my car after whatever it was they were doing to me. I could never get Franz Kafka out of my mind. This all had to be a mistake! Wat too much paper work and I was sure it wasn't mine. You are taking your humor with you, never leave it.

  2. I agree with stonepost. HOSPITALS ARE A PAIN IN THE ASS !

  3. That sounds way better than most of the local hospitals here. Maybe I should seek healthcare in your neighborhood.

  4. I had to have a similar type of biopsy done years ago. Considering the area, it's not as bad as you would think it would be. For me the worst part was the fact it was a teaching hospital so everyone and their dog was looking up the old address.

    I understand how nerve racking the whole thing can be, so no worries on Tuesday.

  5. Mm what can I say? Love your pic and your story. Think that dreaming of your Mum tells me she is close by. You are outstanding! Have visions of the torch with the soccer balls and I am laughing. The power of observation!

  6. Thank you so much for posting about this today. You've been in my thoughts-- I'm grateful for the update. What a gift you have to write about this with the distance of a writer. A pleasure to read, so much healing in between the lines.
    I'll keep sending positive vibes your way.
    On another note, we might be getting snow this weekend and I'll bet you are wearing shorts. I'm jealous!

  7. Oh Andrea... I am not sure what to say... the dream sounds tough, the hospital visit seemed tougher... i'm sending you a great big ole canadian hug! and some smooches, even though you probably don't want them!

  8. I have heard and it's true that hospitals are more depressing than cementaries.

  9. Being an arthriticky old bastard, I have to visit my local hospital every thre months or so. You're right - they can be a pain in the arse, but the person whose example you should be emulating is the Laughing Lady. bevause while hospitals are usually busy-bordering-on-chaotic, and filled with sick people, and have an annoying smell... they're also bloody funny. I mean - what the staff have to do, every day! Ob-Gyns who have to peer up a plethora of "old addresses" (loved that), heart doctors who have to elbow aside a score of manneries to hear a pump wheezing away, joiont doctors who always look as though they need one, and let's not think of the poor old proctologist. At least s/he always has the tools of the trade with them...
    They are funny places. Rejoice in the humour, and go to your local video shop and hire "Green Ward", the superb and pitch-black hospital comedy.

  10. Hmmm..hospitals seem to be the same everywhere. The waits are enormous, for those least up to waiting. It's funny, for my day job, we were in an older building and all the tenants were so friendly - I would talk to them in the hall and have great fun, even though there would be roof leaks and occasional feces smell through a/c vents (so that our sec'y had a new duty to flush the unused toilet in the room behind her desk on a daily basis). Anyway, we moved to a more expensive building and all of the tenants are unfriendly (snooty) and walk right past you - don't say hi. Except one guy - we would say hi to each other. One day he turned to me and said, "you know you are the only one I ever pass in the hall that is ever friendly?" Just we too. To big for their britches, the rest of them. I prefer the place that stunk.

  11. Stonepost: My file is still quite skinny, but I can see it will get fed more soon!

    Heff: No, they didn't do anything to my ass at least.

    Grant: We always mutter and mumble about healthcare in SA, but I think it's because it's fashionable to do so!

    TK: The kindest and funniest comment from you! I must say, that if i aims to set my mind at rest, it succeeds!

    Chez: It had a cigarette lighter on the other end, thank goodness he didn't use that side of it! Thanks as always...

    PAMO: Weekend weather just doesn't play along! We'll have 35km an hour winds all weekend with fog and rain, and then on Monday we get lovely Sunshine!

    Average Girl: I welcome smooches! Hugs too!

    Israel: Yes, one spends more time in them - conscious time, that is. Cute typo.

    Aotea writer: not only are you posting 'Paper Heroes' again, but you further delight me with your comment. I am in stitches here - the non medical sort. Thanks for making the effort and thanks for making me laugh!

    Dan: I suppose a bad smell is probably conducive to sense of cameraderie - thank goodness you found a kindred spirit in the soulless and odourless building you've moved to! Enjoyed your story no end.