I have discovered that chalk and cheese really do exist, and not just in the flippant words of someone desperate to visualise to the world. Yesterday, for me was without a doubt, the cheese, well, to me, cheese is always the good side of that phrase, as I have never had a great use for chalk. The trip to and from the breast screening clinic went without the slightest hitch. In fact, we were actually home again, before the time I had been given for my appointment. I know that doesn’t sound right, but trust me it was. The ambulance arrived incredibly early, it wasn’t long after 9:15 am when it pulled up outside the house, my appointment wasn’t until 11:58. Luckily, the system in all NHS units in Glasgow is the same, as soon as possible, if you have arrived by Hospital transport, you are seen. I know that may not sound fair on those arriving on time for their appointments, but it is the only way that it can really work. It would be pointless having ambulances arriving to take people home if they are held up in the waiting room. So we are always in and out, even though we often have to wait hours to get home again. Today though it worked the way it always should, dropped off and picked up again an hour later. And yes, the stairclimber worked perfectly both ways, down and up again without a hitch. Well, just one, my top is one of those that actually comes down to your knees, but when I sat down, I forgot to pick up the free material, and it caught in the wheels. Just as they had just gone down the first step, when everything came to a halt. My top now has a tiny hole in it, but at least it didn’t cause the stairclimber to breakdown as it is so keen on doing. I did though have that horrid sinking feeling, as it flashed through my mind that we might be stuck, just as we were last week.
For those who haven’t been for breast screening, it is the simplest and most painless process I have been through for years. I had been for a screening once before, about 20 years ago now. Back then, you entered a room to be faced with this huge piece of machinery that was daunting, to say the least. It has now been changed for a far more streamlined version that doesn’t clunk and whir but is totally silent. It isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, to be stood there with one breast clamped to the machine by a see-through plastic vice, but it is nothing more than a sensation of being squashed, and each image takes second for them to take. 20 years ago, you were clamped by what felt like an iron vice as your breast was squashed by a metal plate that contained the x-ray film. Somehow, being able to still see your breast, even though it is in a way and shape you’ve never seen it before, is slightly more comforting. But, for me, it was the second time that morning that I had that sinking feeling, a flash of doom being stood beside me. As I said, I had to stand for them to be able to take the x-rays, and as you know, my legs aren’t exactly trustworthy. I just had this horrid image in my mind of them suddenly giving away, and the question of what would happen if they did. Well, you can’t blame me for wondering for just a second, how tight that vice really was, and which was stronger, my skin, or its hold. Trust me, I did my best to get rid of the image.
I now have 6 to 8 weeks to wait, before I will hear the results. Because of Adam’s mother having not long ago gone through the exact same test, I know that if they find anything wrong, you hear a lot sooner than that. So in a way, the longer you wait, the better the odds that its good news. By the way, his Mum is doing really well and seems to have made a full recovery from her mastectomy. She has had the results back as well from the pathologist and no more treatment is required. They say that there were no signs of cancer spreading outside the actual lump, so she won’t even have to have chemo, which is brilliant news.
As the clinic is actually in the city center and not at our local hospital, we had the chance to chat to the attendants. It is actually quite good getting to talk to different ones in a short period of time, as you start to build a fuller picture of the truth of what is happening in their work. There is no secret that they NHS is doing it’s best to deter people from using the ambulances service unless they are really needed. In the last week, I have heard of people who have insisted that they need someone with them, just for their carer to go and do their shopping, while their so-called charge, is actually in the hospital. Not quite what they are there for. Adam comes with me, as I am inclined to get very unsettled and at times distressed by the whole process. The hospital transport system is there for those who can’t get to their appointment any other way. Even being in a wheelchair, isn’t really a good enough reason, as every black taxi in the city can take wheelchairs. If you are hard up, well all you have to do is hand in the receipt, and the NHS will pay for it, it’s far cheaper than the cost of an ambulance. The unfortunate truth, of many people’s view of the NHS, is that they have either paid for it in their taxes, or that it’s free, and there to be used. Is it any wonder that the entire system is under stain.
According to the crews we have spoken to in the past few days, they are about to outsource the hospital transport side, to the red cross. I personally find that a little daunting, not that I expect them to be unable to get me out of the house or to the hospital on time, but I am concerned, just as the crews are if they will be up to the demands of the role. The NHS have years and years of experience, and even their systems are just creaking at the edges, but all the way through. We have lost count of the number of trips that have been canceled, or there haven’t even been any ambulances available, for the date of my appointment. So OK the red cross is huge, but is it big enough in Glasgow, to do the job? I know only time will tell, but it is so wrong that it is happening at all. The people of the UK have to start understanding what the NHS is there for, and how to use it, or we are going to loose all of it.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 02/06/2014 – A factual conclusion
I went to bed last night feeling truly awful, it was one of those times that if I had laid down and died, I actually wouldn’t have been too surprised. I know to some that will sound like a shocking thing to have even thought and many will say why didn’t you call for help, well that is easy to answer, it happens frequently and thanks to a previous post, I know I am not alone. Last night thought I had more than just a feeling to go on, or the fact that I was feeling ill, all day I had put up with……