22 August 2006

Yet more hospital appointments continue to take up vast amounts of time in The World of Lisy Babe.

While the staff at the Royal Throat, Nose and Ear hospital don't claim to have time travelling skills, nor do they expect me to demonstrate some, they still know how to confuse me.

I've had problems with my sinuses for most of my life. But in the past year they've actually become quite an impairment as I'm spending around 2 days a fortnight stuck in bed with the ability to do nothing except swallow more painkillers. Yesterday I finally got the chance to see an ENT specialist about this.

Upon arriving at the hospital, I was asked if I'd used Patient Transport Services to get there.

"No, I pushed here." I thought this was an obvious answer. If I'd said "I walked here," he'd have looked at me like I was A Mental (because apparently wheelchair users aren't allowed to use common parlance).

"Yes, but did you use hospital transport?"

I had no idea that patient transport vehicles were now fitted with treadmill type things so it would be possible for me to simultaneously push all the way there and catch a ride in an ambulance.

I do love the belief held by most members of NHS staff that it's not possible for crips to make their own way to hospital. Obviously, for some it's true. But when I had an endoscopy in March they sent an ambulance to pick me up (without even consulting me to find out if I needed or wanted one). I live a 10 minute walk/push/whatever from the hospital. There is no way in the world I'm going to be up and ready to leave the house an extra 2 hours before I actually need to leave just because someones made an assumption about my abilities. Thank you very much, I'll spend those 2 hours catching extra kip. And to add insult to insult, the patient transport people kept calling me "Mrs Lisa Egan." Now that I seriously considered making a complaint about. Mrs indeed.

Anyway, after that rather odd exchange with the receptionist, they sent me for a hearing test. I'd been complaining of sinus pain, not hearing loss. But the NHS does like to waste it's limited budget (like by employing people who can read the future) so I dutifully headed towards the hearing test dept and played along by pushing a button every time I heard a beep.

And, why? "You've had hearing problems in the past." Said a nurse who'd clearly only skim read my notes. Had he bothered to read properly he'd have seen that, actually, no. There's nothing wrong with my hearing. I have Auditory Processing Disorder. Telling me I have hearing problems is like telling a dyslexic that they're visually impaired. Idiot.

Fortunately the doctor I finally saw had a slightly higher IQ than most of the staff at the hospital. Though he did say "I see from your notes that you have Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Is that why you use a wheelchair?"

I was tempted to reply "No, my sinus pain is just so bad it's fucked up my knees." (But it still doesn't beat an anaesthetist asking Loudgirl "if she'd always had dwarfism?")

After sticking several things up my nose he informed me that I have Rhinosinusitis to add to my ever expanding list of diagnoses. This apparently does not mean that my sinuses have been invaded by Rhinos (though it often feels like I have a wee one growing in there and trying to burst out. I keep waiting for my face to explode in a similar fashion to John Hurt's stomach). Nor does it mean I have sinusitis of rhino-like proportions (though, again, feels like it). I think it simply means that whoever hybridised "rhinitis" and "sinusitis" got bored of the letter "I" and decided to throw in an "O" for some slightly variable vowel sounds. It's basically a fancy and mammalian sounding word for "chronic sinus inflammation." Which I could've told him I had on my way into the clinic.

Before departing from the hospital, I was sent to pick up a list of things to squirt up my nose to try and ease my suffering, and to have a blood test to see if there were any obvious causes for my sinuses to be so enraged.

Upon arrival at the blood test room, the phlebotomist asked me "Are you a difficult one?" As I sat there with my rear wheels wedged in the door frame I replied:

"Well, I can't even fit through your door for starters." Despite the popularity of the medical model of disability in certain quarters, apparently we wheelies don't need to be able to make our way around hospitals.

Anyway, I must go. The baby rhino in my sinuses is trying to make another break for it I think.

14 August 2006

Over the last week I've had the following exchange more times than I can actually count. I'm mainly posting this post as a public information announcement, so, should you ever meet me, you don't ask me the same bloody stupid question.

Me: I'm a vegetarian.

Them: Do you eat fish?

I know Kurt Cobain claimed that "It's OK to eat fish, cos they don't have any feelings."

He did also blow his own brains out. Remember that.