Appointments.

Had an appointment at the Hospital today to asses how my eyes are coming along. The appointments I had were at 13.30 and 13.50. The first was for the assessment and the second would be any further information from the specialist. We wanted to go and see a few people before the appointments and so we left the bungalow at 11.30. It is about an hour and a half drive to the Hospital and so we reckoned this would give us enough time to do what we wanted before the appointments.

We arrived in good time and went in to the spinal unit that I had been in before my discharge. I like to pop in and see the care staff if ever I am up there for appointments as I did used to have a good laugh with a lot of them, as well as this, I wanted to see if a guy was still in after an operation. This guy was someone whom I had met whilst on the ward. A really easy guy to get along with, who had offered me advice with regards to dealing with things that go along with a Spinal Cord injury, he had come back in for an operation and I got talking to him. He had support from his sister who would stay with him during the day, sitting next to him watching films on the laptop, playing board games or just chatting, obviously a close relationship which clearly helped him deal with not only his paraplegia, but the treatment and operations he was having. I remember thinking how nice it must be to have a relationship like that with a sister who really did offer so much support, a huge contrast to my own relationship with my sister.

So we went to the bed which he has been allocated and said hello. We chatted about various things and then talked about the reason he was back in the unit. It was great to catch up and spend some time with him and his sister all be it a short time as I had to head off for my own appointment at the eye clinic. Not to worry, we will be back in a short while once I have seen the people I need to see. So we left his bedside and headed to the eye clinic for the 13.30 appointment. Now then, I completely understand that when you have an appointment, it is a good idea to arrive a few minutes early in case of a queue to book in. I completely understand that when you have an appointment you wish to talk to the consultant about the reason that you are there. I also completely understand that appointments may take slightly different lengths of time depending on the problem. What I don’t understand is why we bother to make appointments at all. First appointment was at 13.30, I was called in at 14.40. My second appointment was at 13.50, so I should have been called for that appointment 50 minutes before I was called for the first appointment. So it obvious to me already that if I am in excess of an hour late for my first appointment, it was only going to be worse when I emerged from the consultants room to wait for the second appointment, assuming I did not get called for the second appointment whilst in with the first!

I was called in to the first appointment and we spoke about the changes I had noticed in my vision. The conversation was interesting, I did not realise that it was noticeable for other people to see the slightly different positioning of my head. I was now having to compensate less for the damage caused to my vision in the accident. We then did a series of tests, they are the same each time I go for the check up. I look at the top letter on the eye test board which is a big `T`. My left eye and right eye are covered with a round “thing” and the consultant sees how much the difference is between my eyes, height wise, to look at the aforementioned,`T`. Then a strip with a series of prisms is put in front of my right eye, whilst my left eye is kept covered. Finally, when the consultant thinks that the prism is the correct one, the left eye is uncovered and we see if the vision is single or double. If it is single then the result is recorded, if double, we continue the process until we get it right.

The results were really encouraging, next we had to speak about the surgery that could be done to try to correct the eyes. This would involve surgery to my RIGHT eye, not the left, to try to stop the strong eye, (right), being able to look higher than the damaged eye, (left). This would hopefully mean that double vision would be cured. My problem is though, that the eyes have been continually improving on their own, and I believe with acupuncture, for nearly a year. If we operate on the right eye and the left continues to improve, it would send it potentially the other way which would be “tits on a fish” for me and could potentially be a massive backward step. It is an option that I still have but at the moment I think I would rather postpone for a while.

I left the consultants room and re parked my wheelchair in the waiting room. I had achieved a good amount in with the consultant with the tests and the chat about options and despite this had still managed to complete my appointment in 15 minutes. I now had to wait for the next appointment. It was now 14.55. We were expecting to have been back to see my friend on the ward and be on our way to collect my `Pickle` from nursery by now. So we continued to wait until finally at 15.30 I approached the desk with the receptionists and asked if they knew how many people were in front of me as I had to sort someone to collect my Daughter from nursery if I was going to be much longer. No sooner had I asked, I was called, it was now 15.35, one hour and forty five minutes after the appointment time. It now became apparent why I had not been called for the appointment, he was waiting for the results from my tests. This I could handle, the bit I found difficult to swallow was the door to the consultants room was opposite the door I was in, which was next to the receptionist desk, so it would have taken seconds to pass the test results across, so you may say that there are other people waiting too and that may be why you have had to wait and I would agree, however, when the specialist eventually came in to the room he said, and I quote. “Mr Pas, we have decided to leave the eyes alone and see how they go. Any problems, please call. Goodbye”  So I waited 40 bloody minutes to be told what I told them and that could have sent via text, e mail or the post. Christ on a bike, now that did piss me right off. The best way as far as I could see for appointments is this either, allow the patient 15 minutes each and not over run potentially getting people in earlier, or send a letter with the day of appointment and book them in as they come, see them in that order. Get there early, be seen early, have a lay in and get seen a bit later, it’s surely got to be better using one of those methods than the `book a five minute appointment and hope it all goes to plan` approach???

So a lot later than expected we very quickly popped back to the ward to say goodbye to my mate and his sister, and agreed that when things improve we must try to catch up. After saying goodbye we headed outside to the Chucklebus and loaded up, then it was the hour and a half drive back to the nursery to collect `Pickle`. We also stopped off and collected one of my eldest Daughters friends who is staying for a couple of days. Now that we have had to move away from their friends, we try to get them over to stay during the holidays. So that was today, really good to know that the eyes are improving, even though we do not yet know how well they will recover to the pre accident vision I had, but the test will come when I start driving again, who knows, I may need the operation after all. Great also to see our friends in the the unit again, and not forgetting my mate on the ward. My family and I wish him a speedy recovery and we look forward to meeting up when he is better and out of the Hospital.

So, acupuncture tomorrow. No idea what we will talk about, if anything, nor do I know what else is happening, I do know that I have done some more to my Liberator bomber model tonight and intend to continue a bit tomorrow. Until then though.

Goodnight all.

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