The mechanics of a bad week ...
The problem is that when I have hospital appointments, and a few of them fall in the same week, it has already pushed up the stress scale.
Imagine a long tube made of glass that 's high enough to accomodate 10 tennis balls - one on top of the other? That's my stress scale. If someone does something to me, they can top it up to 10 very quickly and then I can explode. When I have a week like this, I'm already at 5 on Monday, instead of starting from zero.
Today took me near 10 very quickly. I arrived at the hospital and parked the car. The meter I usually pay at was broken. Still on 5 balls. I walk to the change machine to free up a note for a different meter. It's out of order. I walk further down a long corridor and find a shop, buy some gum and get some change. So, still on 5 balls.
I get the parking ticket and head to the treatment area. I arrive at the reception to be told that that part of the pain clinic has moved to a different location and I'm given basic directions. I arrive at the reception of the other building and I'm told my appointment was cancelled and that I have been booked in for tomorrow morning at 9am ....
..ding, ding, fucking ding! I'm up to 8 balls in the space of 5 seconds. Mornings are never good for hospital appointments as I need to get into a bath ASAP in the morning as part of my 'pain management' routine.
The week is packed as it is and that's why I always want appointments booked well in advance; so as to avoid stressy situations - especially as I'm making arrangements for some photography and I need that time left alone to focus on preperations for my therapeutic work.
I manage to get the admin person to change the appointment to the afternoon and she apologises for the cock-up. Back down to 7 balls.
I go back to the main reception area and ask the lady at the front desk where the manager is as I want to speak with the person. She looks at me and asks me if I want to complain about her. I say 'no'. She goes back to the other people in the queue - of which there were two but now seems to have become one and leaves me standing on the side. She asks me to wait aside and goes back to working her queue. 8 balls.
I walk off and speak to a volunteer that's on duty and ask where the managers are for the booking office or for PALS (the NHS complaints office). Theyre on the other side of the hospital and the directions aren't seeping in to my stressed out brain. 9 balls. He seems to recognise this and asks me to wait there while brings back a manager from the booking office. 8 balls.
He comes back with 2 managers. They've obviously looked up the appointment issue and the manager starts talking to me as if I had the letter they sent out about the change in appointments. To which I reply ...why would I have turned up if you'd sent me a letter cancelling my appointment? They say, 'Well, you're the first one that hasn't gotten the letter.' Ding! 9 balls and I can feel the volcano getting ready for an eruption, so I tell them that I suffer with PTSD and that I'm doing my best to remaincalm but they aren't helping the situation.
I ask for a refund of the car parking as I'll need it tomorrow. When you have a few regular appointments, it all mounts up. We can't do that, the car parking is a seperate company. I inform them that the service is payed for by them and they are responsible for the car parking fee being reimbursed, legally and morally. The Manager says - ok use the same parking ticket and put a note on it for them to ring us if they have a problem with it and are about to walk off. 9,5 on the dinger scale! I stop them and insist that they leave their names and that they take responsibility for this issue. They do so. Back to 9 balls.
On the way out I see the guy that helped me. I go over to him and asks me if they sorted the matter out and I say 'yes'. I shake his hand and thank him for his help and then get out of there ... as I don't want to risk meeting someone that might piss me off when I'm already on 9.
When someone is already ill with something, it doesn't help to try to side-line their issue. The service has also changed and the appointments have gone from 6 weekly to anything between 9 and 10 weeks apart. That's going to affect my long term care ... and they can't arrange future appointments with a mutually convenient date now .. apparently. So how are you supposed to arrange your life around the disabilities, therapeutic work and treatments? This is one of the other reasons that a lot of people walk away from medical care ... it can be hard work to just arrange sometimes and the situation isn't helped when changes are made without consultation and notification with regards to frequency of treatments.
Time to smudge and try to release some of this crap before having some food ...