scribbles tagged ‘social infrastructure’

Forgetting to remember

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

City HallTo enrol for automatic payment of Wendy loft property taxes, I had to find the right website, print a form, find a pen to write on it, find an envelope to put it in, find a stamp to put on the envelope, then it get it to a snail mail address at the Gotham city style country treasury office

They send an annual invoice with a 2 date payment schedule. The first instalment is due 6 months after the invoice

I forgot to remember to pay my first instalment

The county has a reminder system, but you need to know that you have to sign-up for the reminders. I didn’t sign-up, I assumed I would be reminded

They’re not making it easy for me to give them money on their schedule

rate wendys scribble

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Gotham city (hall)

Sunday, April 5th, 2015 | tags: , , , ,  |

City HallMy brother renamed Minneapolis to Gotham city, as lightening danced across the black cloud encased sky. Gotham city. The city hall, with mayor, fire department, courts, CSI, District Attorneys and other city administration would have existed when Batman first appeared on the dark streets of Gotham.

 

The sunshine of day leaves a taste of the electric night. Surreal juxtaposition of city hall from last millennium and a skyscraper thrusting upward with no ‘twiddly- bits’ to distract from it’s line of action.

 

City HallCity hall has been beautifully maintained, restored. It’s a living museum that still works for it’s original purpose. The civil rights office is empty today. Letter boxes on the doors half frosted with glass to borrow light onto this big building, giving us a shadowy glimpse of what might be going on behind those doors. The lady Major’s name is painted on the glass of her door ‘Betsy Hodges’. I like her already.

 

The long corridors are lined in white marble and pews provide rest places for those who have to wait. I saw no one waiting, the city staff must be doing something right! City Hall

 

Stained glass lights the marble coated entrance hall. Statues, plaques, column all attest to it’s significance. I’ll definitely be visiting again to find out what happens behind the court doors, where my camera cannot go.

 

Quite right to leave the people in  courts to focus on the serious business of legal things.City Hall foyed

Gotham city (hall)
2 votes rating 5

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testing, testing, 1, 2…

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 | tags: ,  |

You know how much I LOVE driving. I bought myself that road trip, Route 66, in a red convertible as a 50th birthday present.

State law requires people to secure a local driving licence within 60 days of arriving. I booked myself a local driving exam, how long is the wait-time? First ‘behind-the-wheel’ test on February 9th. Online knowledge test, walk right in anytime. I passed the online  test in December without any studying.

The results of the ‘behind-the-wheel’ test. Were a little more surprising.

How do you think you did?” asked the examiner when we pulled up at the end of the test.

I could have stopped nearer to the curb, only just got within the 12″ and I had to make a significant adjustment when reversing around the 90° corner, other than that, I’m not aware of what I did badly

“Placement in the road, moving between lanes, you’ve failed, you need to practice moving between lanes and choosing the right lane to be in. Minimum of 1 week of practice before your next test

FAILED?!  “but am I allowed to keep driving here without a local license, there’s a 2 month wait list for another test?”

“It’s up to the discretion of the police officer

I weighed up the risks. I’ve never been in a car accident and I’ve driven in the USA for over 8 years in total. The reason that police officer will be talking to me is because of some other idiot, so I’ll probably get their discretion. Especially given the advantage of my English accent and a little humility and respect thrown into the mix. These people carry guns, that lures my humility and respect front to the fore.

Lexus. CarA perfect reverse parallel park, a perfect reverse into a tight 90° turn (pseudo parking space) showed my ‘handling skills’ were good. I realised that the mock road system I’d been driving on was supposed to all be dual carriageway. The lanes weren’t marked. I’d driven as-if it was an ordinary single lane in each direction. That meant I was never in the right lane and never indicating to move between lanes. Doh! No wonder I failed.

I didn’t argue with the instructor about the fidelity of the road markings, or ask to do the test again – there and then-  because I hadn’t heard the examiner tell me this feature of the road set up at the start. Examiners probably have to deal with lots of weird people being obnoxious when they’re failed. Plus:

  • I don’t like being uppity
  • Retest should be a doddle.
  • I don’t get charged extra for a retest – flat fee of $25 – Bargain

Though, the embarrassment of telling everyone I’d failed my test was pretty high.  Because I knew the driving course and why I’d failed, and I can drive, the result of the 2nd test, March 23rd, wasn’t a surprise

‘massive improvement. Passed’

My main shortcoming was not looking over my shoulder enough before changing lanes. But I was the only car o the circuit! It’s so easy to forget that you are pretending to be on a real road with real traffic when the is no traffic, NONE at all. I know there’s nothing behind me. Looking in the mirror is habit, looking over my should is to check for traffic,  I do it a lot when changing lanes on real roads. I didn’t’ say anything. I was happy to have passed.

Now, when I go on my holiday to France this September I can choose to take either my British or American driving license… choices…I’ve never driven a stick-shift on that side of the road…

testing, testing, 1, 2…
5 votes rating 4.8

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1949 Modernism in Minneapolis

Saturday, February 28th, 2015 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Eliel Saarinen Lutheran ChurchCoincidences in the suburbs.

Eliel Saarinen designed one of my favourite buildings, Helsinki central train station. One day I’ll ride the line from Helsinki to St Petersburg with a layover at Viipuri, my fathers birthplace. Eliel Saarinen also designed the Viipuri train station. Train stations are fabulous places, they are the door to adventures, they bring loved one’s home.

Eliel’s last building was a Lutheran church in Longfellow, a suburb of Minneapolis. One of the earliest examples of a modernist building in the USA and listed on their national register of historic places. It stands in very stark contrast to the surrounding classical wooden, suburban, homes. No more of a contrast than the pseudo-gothic, often Germanic, red stone churches in most other districts.

Eliel’s son Eero appears to have worked with Charles Eames, clearly knew both Ray and Charles. Eero also designed the educational annex on the church, added to the building in 1962.
minneapolis residential street
On the Saturday morning that I spontaneously  visited, all the doors to the church were locked. No sign of life inside, no opportunity to see the wonderful light streaming through the cleverly placed windows to fill the space for worship. The door design is simple and beautiful. Ashame that someone felt the need to add the instruction to “Pull” the door handle which already displays all the affordances of being ‘pull-able’ more than ‘push-able’.

Eliel Saarinen Lutheran ChurchThough far more beautiful, the outside design reminded me of the Danish church in Hull that the House family occasionally visited when staying with Hull branch.

I’ll be back, with some locally rounded-up fellow building-lovers on an official, docent-led tour day

1949 Modernism in Minneapolis
3 votes rating 5

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Post it!

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 | tags: , , , ,  |

Minneapolis Post OfficeIn the cold.

Cold is stuff below 10°F

I wandered out from my heated car, 30 paces, to the heated central post office in downtown Minneapolis.  The post office has an amazing exterior. I’ll photograph the exteria in the summer.

The inside was like walking into the deserted 1920’s. There were a few people around, but not many given the size, capacity, of this building. The brass panel in the ceiling that hid recessed lights, the wooden, marble and brass wall panels. This building reeked of celebrating the postal service as a service for everyone. Fabulous.

I love the social responsibility of the locals and their city governance. I feel really at home here. Which is good, because this is my new home.

Post it!
3 votes rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

white lines

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |
Dropping curb and adding house number and name sign

Dropping curb, adding house number and name sign

This year I discovered that cars could legally park in-front of my driveway entrance. I discovered when a person on vacation in the USA left her car across my drive blocking my car in.

I took the bus to work, £25 per week bus fare seemed very expensive, a lot more than the £10 diesel costs. Not knowing when, and if, I’d be able to use my car was very disheartening.

It was also disheartening that a person would choose to block my car in, it seems such a mean spirited thing to do. When I’d knocked on my neighbours doors to see if they knew the car owner, could contact her and ask her to move, they were all wonderfully outraged on my behalf. Some had seen her before, none knew how to contact her. One neighbour offered to park her car so close to the offending car that it would be unable to get out without knocking on neighbours doors. We decided against this potential emotional escalation path, and giggled.

The council wouldn’t put their white lines “Access Protection Lines” (APL) outside my drive until I’d dropped the curb. This is when I discovered that every time I drove in and out of my drive I was breaking the law by driving over the public pathway. Oops. Myself and rather a lot of my neighbours were all breaking the law.

To avoid breaking the law I needed to arrange to drop the curb. To be able to ask the police to remove people parked in front of my drive I needed APL. I gave the council a cheque and some sweet-talk – you know so much, you’re so good at your job, I’m just so ignorant of all these things etc.  The road workers were at my place before the cheque had even cleared, 2 days later, at the weekend! Sweet!

  • 4 road workers including  “Mr. Reading” a local looker. He did compare favourably with Brad Pitt.
  • A compact digger
  •  A truck
  •  Pick axes, spades and all sorts….

It took them a day to rip-up the pavement, half a day to lay the concrete foundation and half a day to lay the surface tarmac. Less than an hour to paint the APL

Hooray! Confident, legal and easy access to my driveway has been established. Peace of mind

Then, I added a house sign to the mix. The name and number of my home with an arrow to help people see which way to go to find the Wendy House. My neighbour used his cable-less drill to fix it. As he fixed the sign he told me stuff I didn’t know:

  • People deliver mail for my house to their house and they then bring it round to my home and post it through my door.
  • People knock on their (3B) door to ask where 3A is because it’s clearly not between 3 and 3B.

He’d been suffering without telling me, so English, he was thrilled that I’d decided to put this sign up.

Front of house access sorted.

white lines
5 votes rating 5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

cant be bovvered

Monday, November 19th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

4 pony-tails(superciliousness warning)

I’m one of the minority that voted in the Police commissioner elections. The Guardian reports the elections as having the worst turnout ever. It’s hardly surprising. Prior to normal local elections candidates will canvas voters, promote their positions  and encourage people to engage with the system.

In advance of this election I received an election card through the post. It didn’t contain any information about how to find out more about the candidates. What? I have to actually do my own research?!

Just providing the right type of information isn’t enough. A capitalistic society sells ideas, products, to its consumers. The candidates were not sold to the voters. This is totally counter to the expectations of the electorate.  How could anyone expect this system to work within a developed capitalist system? It’s hardly surprising there was such a low turn-out. It shouldn’t be news.

I’m very grateful for my ability, right, to vote. I will show my appreciation for this right by using it wisely. I did my research and found a succinct central information source that pointed to candidates own web pages, twitter feeds and provided a summary personal statement for each candidate. Really easy to find local candidates by entering my post-code. Excellent service. Research was easy and left me feeling adequately equipped to make an informed decision.

The low election turnout suggests that my belief in my social responsibility (to put thought and effort into exercising my vote) is not a common belief.

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victoriana

Thursday, October 4th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Sick Note From RBHThe UK provides “Statutory Sick Pay” SSP to provide people who are temporarily unemployed (up to 28 weeks per annum) due to ill health with an income – becuase employers are not required to pay them while they are ill. Small and medium sized businesses cannot afford to give thier employees the benefit of normal pay during illness.

The standard weekly rate for SSP is £85.85 a week. Try living on that!  My weekly living costs, even without work related travel are substantially more than £85.85 per week.

My sick note is for 4 weeks off work from the date of the operation, 5 weeks after the accident. If I took that time I would have to live-off my savings. I started working again before my savings were touched.

I can’t afford to be sick

victoriana
6 votes rating 4.5

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it’s just a twist to the right

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Physio Excercises

12noon 7th September

18 days after surgery Jess walked me through my exercise regime – to be repeated once an hour for 15 minutes. That’s intense, almost no room to do anything else!

  1. Lie forearm on a table. Keep the elbow still and roll forearm left then right as far as it will go.
  2. Move thumb across the palm then away from the palm – as far as it will go.
  3. Move each finger back as far as it will go and hold for 20 seconds.
  4. Curl all fingers  into a grip position – squeeze a foam ball
  5. Move hand from wrist – backwards and forwards, side to side, as far as it will go.

Massage the skin around he scar with a good moisturizer to encourage healing and blood flow.

It feels like a ritual, casting a spell…

it’s just a twist to the right
3 votes rating 4

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No, No, No….Yes

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Repeat 3 times:

me: Hello, my name is Wendy House. On Wednesday 29th August during my appointment at the fracture clinic the Dr told me that I would have my first physiotherapy session next week, which is this week. The receptionist told me that I would recive a letter with the appointment time – I haven’t recived a letter and I’d like to check what time my appointment is.

I’ll forward you to the [name] department.

Reach the Physiotherapy department and eventually get a good result:Physio

They shouldn’t tell you to phone us.

me: They didn’t. They said I’d get a letter, and I haven’t so I decided to phone you.

They shouldn’t have said that – we don’t send out letters.

You’re not on my system. Hang on while I look at these files.

Oh! you’re right on the top with a note to phone you and make a direct appointment – broken arm. It will take some time to enter all this data but I can make the appointment now. Will 11.40 on Thursday suit you?

me: Yes. Do I go to the same place as before? The fracture clinic on Floor 2.

No!  Go to physiotherapy.

me: So I’ll walk in the main entrance and ask reception to point me to physiotherapy?

No! They could send you anywhere. Are you driving?

me: (giggles) No, I’m on foot

Go to accident and emergency, stand at the entrance facing the main car park and we’re on you’re left

me: Thankyou

No, No, No….Yes
1 vote rating 4

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that’s neat

Friday, September 28th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Wrist - stitches removed4pm 28th August: 6 inch scar revealed

10 days since the operation, with my arm in a cast, I returned to the Fracture Clinic for my first follow-up appointment. The statuesque painted blonde nurse admires the neatness of my scar and stitches as she removes the cast. The petite naturelle orthopeadic physiotherapist also compliments the neat scar that’s healing well.

Is that all you can move it?

It hurts quite a lot….

The physiotherapist demonstrated a regime of daily exercises.  Our schedule involves weekly physio check-up sessions and an overall progress check in mid October. After explaining this she just stood up and left the room.

I sat there in silence for a while, It was a wierd segue. Was this the end of the session? Was she coming back? Was someone-else coming in? Should I leave now? The statuesque painted blonde nurse wandered in and gave me a ‘sick note’ for my employer – so they can claim my Statutary Sick Pay.

Do I leave now? Will the appointment times be sent to me?

Go to reception, they’ll sort the appointments

The young receptionist was flustered. She couldn’t work out how to book my Physio appointments. I was the 3rd patient this afternoon that had asked them to arrange this type of appointment….

The patient behind me in the line laughed:

I used to work at this hospital, there’s a 2 week waiting list for a physio appointment, you wont get one next week!

The young receptionist looked bewildered, earnestly asking me:

Do YOU work at the hospital?

No. I’m just a patient. The blonde nurse sent me here when I asked if the appointments would be sent to me.

Oh, if you don’t mind waiting I’ll go and ask them

Thankyou, I don’t mind waiting at all

She smiled, her wonderfully humble and respectful way added a little joy to this otherwise dour place.

that’s neat
1 vote rating 3

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out of Theatre

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

6pm (ish)  18th August *

Hospital WalkwayI can’t be sure of the time when I came round. I wasn’t screaming. A nurse noticed me gain consciousness, she was prepared with my request for a pain killer

This is the equivalent of drinking a bottle of Vodka, but it doesn’t taste as nice

A porter wheeled me back to the ward where I greeted my fellow patients and happily climbed back into bed 26. As I started to snuggledown ready for a drug-enhanced dreamy sleep

Stout Agency Nurse walked over with a big smile:

You can go home now

Instant tears. She pulled the curtain around my bed as I spouted all the reasons that I felt that I couldnt go home now:

  • I wasn’t stable –  I could hardly stand up!
  • I would have to use public transport which the patient guide recommended that I should not do (no lift arranged until tomorrow)
  • there is noone at home to look after me for the critical 24hrs after the surgery.

She told me that I had misunderstood. Naughty me misunderstanding while I’m drugged-up. She wasn’t sending me home right now. I asked her to leave me alone, which thankfully she did.

Then I climbed out of bed, opened the curtains to my neighbouring patients who were all real sweeties gently teasing me about this and that.

out of Theatre
2 votes rating 4

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finding the Theatre

Monday, September 24th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

3.30pm 18th August

The stout nurse bought over 2 of those ‘operation gowns’ – knee-length, short-sleave baggy jackets with small ties. She asked me to wear one with the ties at the back and one over the top with the ties at the front.

Where are your ID tags?

I ‘ve never been given any

You must have ID tags

She wandered off and returned with 2 plastic strips showing my name and date of birth, attached one around my good wrist and the other on my ankle. Strange dresses and plastic wristbands?  Just like going to a festival!

We’re walking to the operation Theatre? Should I wear my sandals?

Stout nurse grabbed my arm and used this, unnecessary, technique to steer me down the corridor towards the Ward’s reception desk. At the reception desk she confirmed the name and route to the operating Theatre. I didn’t take notes. As we walked the hospital corridors where other people were fully dressed stout nurse explained that she was an agency nurse so she didn’t know her way around this hospital.

We got lost.

Stout agency nurse asked directions and we found the right set of swipe-card operated doubledoors. The nurse told me that she had meant to borrow a swipecard from the ward reception, but forgot.

I started crying.

Are you in pain?

A flood of words burst through my tears about how disconcerting it was when you have to walk in a silly dress amongst fully clothed people, how scarey it is to have surgery, and how getting lost then being locked out of the operating theatre just adds to a general level of distress.

You’re not in pain?

Normal pain for a broken and dislocated tibia

She didn’t understand. I put some effort into quelling the tears, wiping my face on the sleeve of the operating theatre gown. A lady’s face appeared in the round window of the secure doors. She wore green and a little hat. Her body-posture inspired confidence.

The anesthetists assisstant greeted us. She looked me in the eye as she told me her name, her role and started explaining what was going to happen. I gave the agency nurse my sandals as I climbed onto the operating table. I told her about the times before that I’d had a general anasthetic and how I was scared of waking-up screaming in pain like my last operation. The last thing I remember before waking up was her reassurance that I wouldn’t wake-up screaming in pain….

finding the Theatre
5 votes rating 4.8

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waiting

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

 8am 18th August: on the Trauma ward

Healing with the NHS feels like one long ‘wait’ punctuated by the occassional specialist randomnly dropping gems of information.

I woke on the Trauma ward as a young chap with glasses and a neat short-back and sides arrived.  Ed, Mr. Powell-Smith, with his side-kick scribbling in a note-pad by bed 26. My bed. Ed explained that he was the Royal Berkshire’s expert hand and wrist surgeon,  I was scheduled for a 4pm operation but that might be delayed if someone with more urgent surgical needs arrived during the day.

The day passed way too quickly for a girl who’s terrified of surgery. It passed interestingly enough, too quickly.

The kindly lady in bed 24 was recovering from an appendix removal last night.  She wanted to use the commode (wheel chair with a toilet in it) rather that the bedpan (Cardboard bucket shoved under your bum in the bed). It’s a dignity and comfort preference.  More comfortable and dignified to sit up. For the staff its more awkward to find the commode; wheel it to the patients bed; help the patient out of bed onto the commode; wait; help the patient back into bed afterwards then empty the commode. The stout ward nurse argued with the lady in Bed 24. The nurse didn’t want to let the lady use the commode. The lady started crying, the nurse bought the commode.  Afterwards I listened to the lady in bed 24 tell me about her illness and her family. She wasn’t tearful when she was listened to. She was witty and bright.

The lady in bed 25 was a retired costume designer for Hammer films. She told me how Marlon Brandon used to phone her at home and what a naughty boy he was.  Nicolas Cage was an arrogant idiot with an unnecessarily oversized entourage! We all became lost in her wonderful stories about film stars dead and young.

The stout nurse came round. She didn’t believe that I’d seen the surgeon because there was no mention of it in my hospital notes. Can you see a theme emerging here? She started arguing with me. Again, it felt like I was being blamed, accused of lying, when hospital notes are incomplete. I stood my ground without tearing-up:

I don’t know why it isn’t in your hospital notes, but he did come round and he did talk to me. I can describe him, he’s short and young with a neat haircut and glasses. I’m on the operating schedule for 4pm.  I made a note of it in my book, would you like to check my note book?

The stout nurse looked grumpy, she didn’t want to see me notebook, she harumphed off. To the lady in bed number 27.  When the stout nurse left the lady in bed number 27 – the lady was crying. I bought the lady in bed 27 some hankies and fresh water for her jug. Not terribly helpful but it showed we all noticed and cared.

I shivered as I wondered whether the stout nurse’s talent, for making patients cry, gave her pleasure

waiting
3 votes rating 4.33

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the sound of sadness

Thursday, September 20th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

9pm 17th August: check-in

Friday night on a Trauma ward was set against a background chorus of quiet crying, distressed mumbling and snoring. A blanket of private sadnesses reverberating through the ward.

Royal Berkshire Hospital

The lady at Ward reception wasn’t expecting a patient to checkin. She went off to find someone who might know about me. A 2 inch thick folder of patient notes lay on the reception table facing me. I read my name on the cover. Mainly empty forms, no X-Rays, no notes, a couple of interesting letters from my GP. The lady returned.

Bed 26, follow me

The silver haired patient in bed 24, opposite, smiled and nodded in a silent welcoming way.

the sound of sadness
1 vote rating 3

4 bits of fabulous banter »

I’ve got a date, approximately

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

2pm 16th August: Hospital check-in arranged

Patient informationAfter nearly 5hrs witing at the RBH fracture clinic a young lady wearing a white jacket and stethoscope tells me what’s going on. Hooray!

There’s a hand and wrist specialist surgeon on duty covering Accident & Emergency over the weekend. Since the operation will be tricky they want a specialist to do it so they’re going to book me a bed in the Trauma ward for the weekend and the specialist will operate on me inbetween the accidents coming-in.

So, hospital checkin on the 17th August after 7pm.

Meanwhile, I provide Pre-op information to a nurse in another building. The nurse gives me a large glossie brochure about coming into hospital.

Don’t you just want to climb onto that trolley?  So welcoming…

I’ve got a date, approximately
1 vote rating 3

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quite serious

Sunday, September 16th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

12.30pm 16th August

colourful fingersAfter the X-Rays I retrurned to my normal status of main corridor fire hazard. A nurse came out from the back rooms, moved a child off a chair and sat me down in that chair.

The consultant has seen your X-Ray’s, he thinks they are quite serious and you need an operation. He’s called our hand and wrist specialist who agrees. So please wait here.

As she leaves I start crying.  I’m not sure if it’s because:

  • of the relief that RBH have actually considered my injury.
  • a nurse has been nice to me – rather than treat me as an inconvenient object.
  • reaffirmation that my injury is quite serious – I’m scared of surgery.
  • I’m developing a bad habit – cry way too easily.

Luckily this time I’ve been accompanied by two large monogrammed white (mens) Hankeys that can handle the waterfall

quite serious
1 vote rating 5

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incompatible systems

Friday, September 14th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

12noon 16th August

my broken wrist before surgery Wrist in plaster of parisnurse: you must go to X-Ray

wendy: have they seen the X-Rays from Worthing?

nurse: the consultant wants so see today’s X-Ray

wendy: ok

Waiting outside the X-Ray room I chat with a shy Welsh man on crutches. He’s holding a CD from Pontypridd.

Were you on Holiday in Wales?

No, visiting my daughter who lives there now

He explains that the Reading hospital system can’t view his CD copies of his X-Rays, so he’s having the X-Ray’s done again. I suspect the same is true for me, but my nurse was focussed on what can and should happen rather than what doesn’t work.

The CD contains an executible file for a small program that views the X-Rays and enables them to be exported into standard file formats. It was easy to view on my PC. I suspect RBH’s system prevents users from being able to run exectuibles from CDs – for security reasons.

incompatible systems
2 votes rating 3

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standing-on-crutches-room only at the fracture clinic

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

handwritten sign11am 16th August

A nurse announces that the clinics for 2 specific doctors are running 90 minutes late and 2 hours late. I have no idea which Doctor I’m seeing, no paper appointment.

Another nurse moves the people with fractures out of the main corridor to allow hospital traffic to pass. She explains to us that standing in the corridor is a fire risk.

I’m the only person with a fractured arm, everyone ese has an injury to thier legs. Standing on crutches in the main hospital corridor.

I grin at the man who has a mini plaster cast on his toe. He looks suitably embarressed.

standing-on-crutches-room only at the fracture clinic
2 votes rating 5

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you’re not on OUR lists

Monday, September 10th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

Transferring "PID"4pm 15th August: RBH are not expecting me.

I wandered to the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) to

  • find out where I needed to go.
  • personally doublecheck tomorrows appointment time.
  • hand-over my Worthing Hospital CD of notes and X-rays.

The Royal Berkshire Fracture Clinic weren’t expecting me.  They had no appointment booked and no record of a phonecall about me. They didn’t want my CD to check my notes in advance of the non-existent appointment. I felt betrayed by Worthing hospital not having clearly established the appointment with RBH.

The RBH Fracture clinic reception staff were not happy at my turning-up, unannounced. They tutted and huffed at the inconvenience. I quietly cried. They ignored my tears making it easier to let those tears flow.

They double-booked me into the a clinic on the morning of the 16th.

you’re not on OUR lists
1 vote rating 3

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leaving Worthing

Saturday, September 8th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

1pm 14th August

Worthing hosppital gave me a CD with my data on it. They told me this includes notes and X-Ray. I was to carry this information to the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) in Reading town. Apparantly, human hand delivery is more secure and reliable than using a cloud based system or encrypted email….

I was impressed that the two hospitals use compatible healthcare software so they can share electronic data. This assumption was wrong. I thought I was being transferred.  This assumption was also wrong. I was told that the RBH fracture clinic was expecting me at 8am on the August 16th. Guess what? Sigh…

view from Worthing PierTime to catch a few busses and a few trains…

When you’ve got a broken arm everything takes longer and people are more able to offer help… an elderly gentleman helped me to carry my small bag onto a bus.

 8pm 14th August: Arriving in Reading

Home with my cuddly kitty, fresh bed linen, and tea on tap. A wonderful sense of relief.

A long journey in less than 2 days and more to come…

 

leaving Worthing
3 votes rating 2.67

7 bits of fabulous banter »

missing drugs chart

Thursday, September 6th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

PJs12noon 14th August

ward nurse: I can’t find your drug chart, you don’t seem to have a drug chart!

She looked flustered

wendy: I’ve made a note of what drugs I’ve been given and the times they were given to me, if that helps?

The nurse looked more relieved as I read my notes to her. The Worthing hospital team never found my drugs chart. From what I’ve seen of their documentation it omits many key details and is frequently inaccurate – for example the name of my GP is wrong and I repeatedly pointed this out. They normally replied by telling me it was actually accurate on some other document that I hadn’t seen. As if getting the information right on one document makes it ok to have it wrong on this one. This is frighteningly poor reasoning for people that are looking after my health.

When I was let out from Worthing the junior doctor (F2) said that I didn’t have a drugs chart because when I was admitted (reported to reception of the A&E) I’d said that I wasn’t

  • normally taking any drugs
  • allergic to any drugs

I was impressed by how this explanation actually implicitly blamed me for the fact that while in hospital, where they gave me drugs, no-one bothered to keep a written track record of what drugs I’d been given, in what doses, and at what times. Their blazé (not our fault) attitude to their behaviour that produced a major patient safety risk was quite Flabberghasting!

missing drugs chart
4 votes rating 4.5

6 bits of fabulous banter »

Consultant ward rounds

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

8am 14th August

A flock of Doctors swoop into the ward and bounce from bed to bed with the senior Doctor asking the more junior doctors for thier opinions and quizzing the patient.

By listening to thier garbling I managed to find out that:

  • I need surgery.
  • Worthing will not be able to operate on me before Thursday and most likely after that depending on what other emergencies arrive.
  • Worthing want me to go to my local Hospital (Royal Berkshire) because it’s more convenient. I cried, I felt like I was merely being shifted off thier lists…to start again on another list…
  • Doing the paper work to let me physically leave the hospital takes 5 hours.

 

Consultant ward rounds
2 votes rating 3.5

6 bits of fabulous banter »

getting a bed

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

A&E entrancemidnight 13th/14th August

By midnight I’m tired, in pain, lonely, nowhere to go, no book to read and with the prospect of 10 more hours of this.

Barely holding back the tears of temporary, pure, sadness.

I’ll feel better after a good sleep. I’m a talented sleeper. I can sleep almost anywhere. I lay my jacket on the floor against the wall in a quieter part of A&E, then gently lay myself on top of it and started drifting into much needed sleep.

This action removed my invisibility-to-hospital-staff cloak. Staff started waking me up to ask me what was happening.

I don’t know….

mumbled between my tears

Within 10 minutes they’d moved me to a ward and a bed.

getting a bed
2 votes rating 5

4 bits of fabulous banter »

Australian surgeon pulls my arm

Friday, August 31st, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

8pm 13th August

The unnamed Australian is about to go off shift.

He explains that I need an operation to ‘pin’ the arm. It’s a tricky operation and he wants a good night’s sleep before doing it. They’ll be keeping me in over night for “Obs”, but there are no beds available so I’ll have to stay in the A&E waiting room.

Broken arm. Dead cell-phone. I wonder what more the night holds.

The surgeon injected some drug into the fracture before pulling my arm to ‘reduce’ the misalignment of the broken pieces.

It hurt a lot.

I screamed a bit.

He gave me a lovely hug, just like a parent with a hurt child. That moment of thoughtful kindness was wonderful and helped keep my spirits from crashing dramatically across the next 4 hours. Instead they slowly spiralled downwards

Australian surgeon pulls my arm
1 vote rating 4

7 bits of fabulous banter »

X-Rays

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

6.30pm 13th August

Doctors are easiest to recognise because they mainly wear a stethoscope around their neck. None of the staff  introduced themselves – no name, no role. They’ve done away with these useful basics. They occassionally use my name to call me out of the increasingly amorphous queue in the waiting area.

Staff were all wearing different uniforms, I don’t know what the different colours and styles mean. Maybe I don’t need to know, maybe the uniforms are for the staff to know who they are, not for the patients. I saw:

  • White tops with collars
  • Light-blue tops with collars
  • Royal blue tops with collars
  • Green jump-suits
  • Blue jump-suits
  • Pink Jump-suits

Things changed slightly after my 6.30pm X-Rays. I became the “Smiths Fracture“. I could evesdrop on the staff talking amongst themselves about me- the fracture.

X-Rays
1 vote rating 3

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Triage: 2 paracetamol and one ibuprofen orally

Monday, August 27th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

4.30pm 13th August

After two and a half hours waiting – Triage was disappointingly short. The nurse asked exactly the same questions as the paramedic. Both people wrote copious notes on everything I said. This felt reassuring, more scribblers!

2 hours after triage a young female in one of the many hospital uniforms asked me to tell her what had happened. She also took notes and aked familiar questions.

I started crying.

Are you in pain?

Just normal broken arm pain, I’m crying because I’m upset and don’t know what’s happening.

Do you want some pain killers?

No, I just had some at 4.30pm, thanks, I’d like to know what’s happening (blub)

Everyones’ notes were on paper, on different clip boards. The notes never seemed to get collated, read, or used. I was beginning to get the impression that different specialists weren’t sharing inormation terribly well.

Triage: 2 paracetamol and one ibuprofen orally
1 vote rating 5

5 bits of fabulous banter »

Worthing A&E

Saturday, August 25th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

2.00pm 13th August

Do people have to wait hours for ambulances?  I felt a little bit guilty about an ambulance being called because I didn’t need any ambulance-fancy equipment or go-faster Sirens.

I persuaded the young paramedic to take me to Worthing A&E, less that 5 minutes drive away, even without sirens. Standing-room only in the waiting room, good job the curb hadn’t attacked my legs!

Facebook confirmed that my relatives are not shy about liking that I have broken my arm despite the clear social convention to avoid liking such things. The Brit’s normally start thier comments with an empathetic variation on “Ouch!” and the USA people go straight in with the positive get well wishes.

It was so good to feel the waves of empathy and positivism…

facebook photograph of broken arm

Worthing A&E
2 votes rating 5

8 bits of fabulous banter »

bus in a pedestrian zone

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 | tags: ,  |

first you hear the bells
then you see the people walking in odd ways
next you’re blocked by the bus
finally a smile and a wave helps us along

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1 wonderful musing »

wandering offward

Saturday, February 18th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Funeral Care - Opposite HospitalTiger and I tried out the informalness of his patienthood

We asked the nurse if we could leave the hospital for a cup of tea in a local cafe.  The nurse described several places we could go, gave us directions, made sure Tiger had the ward’s phone number and then unlocked each of the 3 sets of doors to let us out. The nurse couldn’t have been more supportive, it was wonderful

Once outside Tiger held my arm. The Co-operative funeral care service across the road  made me smile – for all your funerial needs,  on the hospital doorstep

Tea and honey in a small atmospheric, indenpendent, cafe was all very pleasant.  Tiger was also very pleasant company, albeit with the aid of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs

5 days after arriving at the Maudsley Tiger was discharged into community care. He happily moved back to his peaceful home and has started coding again…

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