Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Number 1 Beaumont Square
"Hello, is this Admissions?"
"Yes it is, are you being admitted?"
I look down at my watch, which reads 4:30 pm..30 minutes too early. But better early, then late.
"Not exactly, no-this is where I was told to go."
"What's your name?"
"I'm X, the consultant is Dr. Chesser."
The secretary takes a closer look at all 157 cm of unsophisticated me. "You're American." (raised eyebrows)
"That's right. I'm still here under Dr. Chesser's orders." Jut chin out.(I am not any less important, because I am American)I hope I got that right and it's not Mr. Chesser, which is what some English docs go by)
"Take a seat please and I shall ring someone to come down and get you."(crazy American, doesn't know whether she's being admitted or not!)
First step..shell out very large sum of money to financial dude(because it is a private hospital) It will be reimbursed by insurance. Someone comes down and gets us, takes us up to the 2nd floor waiting room where I read a Diabetes UK flipchart and marvel over the differences. US doctors do not recommend 2 daily drinks(if you are female-the limit is more like 1, or ZIP) and fish oil supplements are not dangerous, that I know of. About 5:15, a tech comes over and takes me to a large room which is none other then...
THE DIALYSIS UNIT.
Large bloodsucking machines are all over the room. Immediately, my humidity frazzled hair stands straight on end and my toes instinctively curl in fear, at the sight. I have to keep reminding myself that it isn't for me. The unit was empty, there were no other patients.(mercifully) Tech guy and nurse guy come around and prepare paperwork, etc., waiting on the doctor to come up. Hubby wanders off in search of some supper.
The doctor shows up.
"Hello, so we finally meet."
(I should mention that I arranged this 3 months in advance,arranged it AROUND the tour stuff. That's how important this stuff is. Probably a first, in his career)
"Hi, nice to meet you."
"I tried to ring your hotel but the staff said there was no one of that last name there."
"That's really weird, because my husband's and I's last names are the same. They must all be idiots over there, we've had quite a few problems with them over various things."
"But you do have an iphone though, and I'm glad you checked that."
"Yes,I'm rather addicted to it..I do check that regularly so I got the message."
A review of all things kidney and 'beates wise.
"So 4 grams Magnesium Sufate over 3.5 hours- do you know if that's in 250 ml or 400?"
"No clue, sorry."(until 12 hours previous I'd been under the impression that all magnesium IV was one kind..which isn't true, there are two types)
"We'll do it in 400, just to be safe. And check your levels first, you may be high."
"It's never been high so that's highly unlikely but checking is fine."
"As we've never given anyone more then a gram at a time and 4 grams is quite alot, we'll check your levels and go from there."
"And the diabetes, that hasn't affected your kidney function?"
"No, it's all good."
"Because we can give you some dialysis too, if you'd like it," he jokes, cracking a smile.
"UCK-NO-not today,thankyouverymuch." I shudder at the thought. Unspoken are the words that dialysis units are filled with patients just like me..type 1's,type 2's,the great mass of Undiagnosed. No D really likes to dwell on those possibilities.
"I really appreciate your office being able to accommodate me,I wouldn't be able to go out of country if it hadn't."
"That's not a problem, you've certainly given us more then ample notice to be able to schedule you in."
"And I'll be around, should there be any problems they'll page me. So goodluck, nice meeting you,if nothing goes wrong and enjoy the rest of your holiday in London and Denmark." Shakes hand, smiles, and is gone.
Me? I think I am somewhere in between thinking that its still a really scary/unagreeable place to be in versus wanting to move there & adopt him immediately as my new nephrologist. Really, REALLY, different from my own staid prophet of doom.
"So where you're from, how often do you see your gp?" the tech asks, curious.
"The nephrologist is different from the gp- I don't see the nephrologist every infusion, more like once every 3-5 months."
"You don't? Why not?" the tech says, confusion on his face.
"Yes, you see, in the US patients see their doctors in the offices, not the hospital(unless its an emergency) and if docs saw their patients every time the doctor would get nothing else done, their case load is too great. The doc writes the orders and checks up on the patients every few months. For something like this, the patient goes into an outpatient setting, not directly in the hospital."
We are both well into thinking each other's systems O..D..D..and just leave it at that. Some things cannot be explained well.
"We don't get many Americans in here, maybe a couple of times a year."
"Well,since it's private I can see why-most people wouldn't do it if they can get it free at an NHS hospital."
"Something to eat?"
"Soup. Lime pie. Diet Coke." I go for the comfort foods, the bug brewing in my chest and throat is making my stomach do flipflops & I don't want to admit this to anyone else..the city of London is already doing a brisk increase on the daily number of H1N1 cases.
Turn on tv, watch "Grimebusters"(which involved going into sewers and unclogging them) and British murder mysteries. I love British murder mysteries,so that passed the time. The infusion goes without incident. As we're leaving the hospital, the security guard asks us where our discharge papers are and woohoo, I have none so that takes about 10 minutes to get straightened up with the tech(and they don't call them "techs", I think it is "sisters" but that's just too weird to try and explain..especially when the "sisters" are male.) upstairs. I was afraid they wouldn't let me out, it wasn't an admission but it was billed as such. Not the easiest thing in the world to explain. Back to the Tube..the last day of our UK trip ended. Price wise, it was about the same as the US but I got a real meal.(which was nice) It would have been cheaper but there was the consultants fee which made about the same. It will all be reimbursed at in-country rates.(which means all of it)