‘Blood, sweat and breakfast on a Friday morning’

Fasting blood test.

Curious how, after eating a dinner that would usually have proved perfectly satisfactory, the knowledge that you mustn’t eat anything for twelve hours makes you incredibly peckish.

I got through to bedtime by drinking gallons of water every time I felt the need to nibble. That, of course, had a knock-on effect throughout the next seven hours.

Between the toilet trips and hot flushes, it was not a peaceful night.

Seeing to the dog first thing proved to be something of a distraction; canine kibble does nothing for me.  More water and then the dash to the hospital in the hope that we beat the crowds.

My blood is sluggish and my veins dive for cover at the first sight of a needle so blood tests have to be done by the heavy-end phlebotomists in the outpatients department. On the one occasion I let the nurses at the health centre have a crack at it, I was put into a taxi and sent off to the hospital after my veins and I had reduced three nurses (and myself) to tears and my arms looked like pin cushions. It was when they suggested immersing my hands in a bucket of very hot water in order to make the veins ‘pop’ that I rebelled.

So now I go to the nice ladies at the hospital. They see me as a challenge and are determined to fill their vampire vials with as little damage to me as possible.  They have an almost unblemished record.  There was just the one occasion where an over-enthusiastic trainee went in one side of the vein and came out the other.

Black and blue but no lasting damage.

So, armed with another bottle of water  – dehydration slows down blood flow and it is always rather warm in the waiting area.  I clutch my form and a pink ticket that says I am number 43 and I people watch.

It seems that the whole world wanders down this corridor; elderly people with sticks and wheelchairs and helping hands, schoolchildren stringing it out so that they miss maths, pregnant women passing through to ante-natal, a bunch of us middle of the roaders  and pyjama-clad patients returning from the shop, the cafe or a crafty fag outside.

It is the staff that are the most fascinating to me.  They conduct their conversations as if we are invisible.

“You know all the rearrangements we made for Dr B’s clinics? Well, she’s only gone and changed everything back to the way it was before! All those sticky labels I printed! She’s so ungrateful!”

An older lady totters down the corridor pushing a trolley loaded with files; she is beautifully coordinated  in animal print but her stiletto shoes are falling off the back of her heels with a curious sucking noise. The trolley wheels squeak as she staggers into the reception area and unloads.  The empty trolley makes a different sound as she returns and the lack of ballast makes her even more unstable.

“Grandma, Grandma!  What wobbles up in the sky?  A jelicopter!”

Laughing now, the same small child had been grizzling a few moments before; she did not enjoy going into the phlebotomist’s lair and watching  ladies sticking needles into people.

Another member of staff sashays past.  She is wearing a skin-tight red dress with a very visible panty line but is apparently oblivious with regard to  her rear view.

Young doctors hurry past with their stethoscopes swinging.  Consultants amble by; venerable and aging briefcases dangling loosely while they have important conversations about the school run and shopping on their mobiles.

My turn.  I have been clenching and unclenching my fist ever since number 40 was called in.  The optimum position for getting blood out of this stone would be for me to hang upsidehttp://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/news/11143065.New_look_for_Warrington_Hospital_food_court/ down from a trapeze but I have already discussed this subject on a previous visit and we came to the conclusion that the flimsy curtain rails would not be sufficiently weight-bearing.

I have a sensible phlebotomist; she goes for the outside vein and I barely feel a thing.  The needle is removed, the cotton wool and tape are in place and I am out of the door.

Breakfast in the hospital cafe.

Bacon and egg on brown toast with hot chocolate.  There seems to be a mini-feud going on between the woman on the till and the two women serving up breakfast.  She has to keephttp://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/news/11143065.New_look_for_Warrington_Hospital_food_court/ asking them what the prices are; they are very snippy with her and in the end one of the women opens up the other till and flamboyantly shows off her speedy till skills.  I steer my tray to the first woman and speed through because she has been deserted by all the other customers.

It is a good breakfast though.  The high cholesterol and sugar content is somewhat at odds with the poster-covered wall advertising eating a healthy diet in order to avoid cancer. I turn my back to the wall and munch my brunch with a smile.

This could be the cause of the internal conflict ……. competition from Costa and Subway looms …….




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