The surgery nurse tracked the oxygen down...it's waiting at the hospital apparently and I can pick it up when I see the consultant next Wednesday...doesn't that sound slightly odd to you? I'm wondering if the consultant et al have changed their minds about how long I need to use it each day...seems slightly unlikely that they'd be handing over big cylinders...I'll ask the respiratory nurse if she knows anything when I see her tomorrow...no doubt all be revealed in due course.
The consultant isn't the smiley, a bit mad, Kathryn...it's another one who treats me as though I'm mildly retarded and has perfected the art of being patronising...actually she's horrible. When I was in hospital in January, there was a woman on the ward who had end stage COPD and was dying. She asked the consultant one day if she had much longer to live...her answer was...'That is up to God to decide dear'...the cleaner was vacuuming under my bed at the time...her eyebrows shot heavenward and my jaw dropped with a clunk...we looked at each other totally aghast at the way she'd answered the poor lady who looked like a wraith and was only barely conscious most of the time...
This pronouncement wasn't made quietly you see...she bawled it out as she strode down the ward so everyone who wasn't actually comatose could hear perfectly.
Perhaps she was once a nun...you can usually spot them easily enough because they walk around with their hands tucked into the sleeves of their cardigans and wear skirts that are not exactly maxi length...just a fraction too long for fashion or comfort. And they often wear white ankle socks and sensible lace up shoes...
She probably wasn't a nun 'cos she wore awful calf length brown boots bedecked with gilt chains...a touch of the kinky if ever there was. Unless she was just releasing her inner urges after years spent in cloisters...
Time was when all Doctors wore white coats...not now they don't...half of them don't even have a stethoscope draped round their neck, much less an important looking watch pinned to their upper regions. Their I.D. badges are usually upside down so they are impossible to read and one, who appeared like a genie by my bedside, was chewing gum and smelled absolutely delicious from some expensive cologne...it seemed a shame to ask him about my swollen ankles.
There are a few who ought not be allowed out on their own just yet...one such came to take my blood gas...now that is a blood test which has the average person biting their tongue and willing themselves not to either thump the Doctor or let out a high pitched scream 'cos it hurts like hell...he was totally hopeless. Absolutely hopeless. Prodding about with a scalpel round my wrist...it's taken directly from the artery you see...and then fiddling around with needles and bits of tubing and plasters and heaving heavy, heartfelt sighs every so often. I asked him how many he'd done before...you are the first he replied.
Eventually he laid my hand carefully on his thigh and taking a deep breath and reciting the age old mantra of 'just a little scratch' he suddenly sliced away with his trusty scalpel and released a torrent of bright scarlet blood while frantically holding a test tube under the flow...it did take several large sticking plasters and me pressing down like grim death before the blood stopped and he could wipe his hands...my hands...his trousers and the edge of the bed and the test tube...and the floor. 'Don't worry' I said in what I hoped was a kindly and maternal tone...'it'll get better the more you practice'...he gave me a wan smile and said thank you...you've been very patient...like I had a choice.
I had purple bruises for weeks afterwards.