The kids and I made the trek to Brisbane yesterday for what I hope is to be their last set of blood tests before we travel. The reason that we have to travel to Brisbane is that they have always been cannulated for their tests. This is due to the fact that one of the tests is for their adrenal gland and it does not work if there is any adrenaline running through their system. Thus the cannulation as when the kids were little they had a morbid fear of needles and it was a case of literally holding them down. So once they were cannulated they would wait 30 minutes until they were calm and then they would actually draw the blood. The second reason is that one of the tests (and I have no bloody idea which one) needs to be in the lab within 30 minutes of taking the blood. Thus the long trek to Brisbane.
Anyway to cut a long story short our trip to Brisbane resulted me having my usual meltdown which seems to be part and parcel of me dealing with doctors and hospitals. I had confirmed the kid’s appointment twice. This certain place remembers the kids and I vividly as we have been going to them for about 7 ½ years. We have always had the same tests and used the same doctor. I need to also taken into account the fact that I have stopped sleeping as my house still has no tenants in it and Rissie had chosen to crawl into bed with me about 3am to read her book. I let her as I was awake anyway and I know the kids are generally a bit neurotic before they have to get blood tests. Then I had got up at 4am to travel 4 hours to the hospital. On top of that I had dealt with peak hour traffic along the Ipswich motorway all the way to the hospital.
Suffice to say that I was possibly on a knife edge. So when we got to pathology you can imagine my response when they took one look at our forms and told me that they were the wrong forms. I actually was rendered speechless. She told me again that they couldn’t do the tests. It didn’t matter that I had confirmed the appointment twice. It didn’t matter that we had the same doctor we have had for 7 ½ years. It seems by him moving from the old building to the new children’s hospital he now had the wrong forms. Fucking red tape and bureaucracy. This was a woman who had been dealing us with since the kids were 12 months old. I looked at her and reminded her that we had just driven 4 hours for these tests. She shrugged. She fucking shrugged. So I did what I do best. As soon as I am faced with confrontation or unbelievable stupidity or am just bloody exhausted, I generally only have one reaction really and that is to burst into tears.
I could not speak to this woman as I was imagining shaking her so hard that her eye-balls fell out of her skull or smashing her in the face with a baseball bat. So we walked away whilst the kids reassured me that all was going to be ok and that she had been really rude. You will not find anyone who appreciates the Australian Medical system as much as me. We are unbelievably lucky. And if our politicians mess with it or don’t do everything in their power to ensure that it is financed then they have rocks in their head. That is the dingbats in power now or the dingbats who want to get into power. I don’t know much about politics. So I thank my lucky stars every single day that I live in the country I do when I look at how often the kids and I have needed and used it. I have come across some of the most amazing doctors and nurses over the last 9 or so years. So it is not the system I am criticizing – it is just parts of it, some of the people in it and some unbelievably disgusting attitudes that make me see red and end up a snotty, sniveling, hysterical revolting mess.
It all ended up ok. Archie and Rissie have always had an amazing specialist. It was decided that cannulation was no longer necessary. So it was a quick trip to the new hospital. There were two staff members ready at the new pathology and they could not have been more empathetic and wonderful as they dealt with two kids who were on the verge of hysteria after dealing with their own anxieties and their mother’s meltdown. So the end result was ok. So all good. Pollyanna is out there.
But ultimately why did that bitch let me stand out by the elevators for 5 minutes as I had a good sob and my kids stood anxiously by? Why could she have not picked up the phone and asked a simple question of a Doctor that I know for a fact she has been dealing with for years? Why couldn’t she have offered a simple bit of reassurance, empathy and understanding? I loathe doctors and nurses who do not realise that their priority is their patients. If you are unable understand that medicine is about people, then you should not be a part of it. To those doctors who have no bedside manner and have a complete disregard for the feelings of their patients, to the nurses who terrorize their patients, to the medical receptionists of specialists who think that their shit doesn’t stink – I say go fuck yourself.
If you need to see a doctor, if you need to be in a hospital, if you are requiring medical attention then chances are that you are in a situation which involves concern, worry and anxiety. You should be seen by people who understand that and behave accordingly. Instead we have hospitals that are so bloody complicated you need to have a degree of some description to get from the car-park to the fourth floor. We have doctors who are unable to add up and instead make so many appointments in a day that are of too short a duration that it is standard practice in some surgeries to wait an hour or two for an appointment. We have threatening signs in doctor’s surgeries – if you are late for your appointment or cancel without notice you will be charged accordingly yet it is ok for them to make us wait. We have specialists who could not be bothered to learn the simple art of communication which makes me so angry when you consider they are dolling out devastating diagnosis after diagnosis as if they were Panadol.
As patients we deserve so much better. But there is little you can do really about so much of it. If you complain to a specialist’s nazi receptionist, then chances are next time you come in you will wait for 3 hours rather than 2 whilst she is allowed to scowl at you from the counter making you feel like a turd beneath her shoe. So I suspect that I will invariably always end up sobbing in hospital corridors because the sheer stupidity and cruelty of it all sometimes just gets me down. What I have found that helps more than anything is muttering “Fuck you” under my breath and giving them the finger whenever they are not looking. It is amazing how helpful an aggressive bird can be when the doctor’s surgery door is closed and you are walking down the corridor. It helps a lot.
Another thing that helps is fruit cake. I made fruit cake this week and it is simply the best. Fruit Cake is like Apple Pie – one of those creations that offer so much comfort that you don’t even have to eat it to feel better. Just thinking about it is enough.
Boozy Fruit Cake
This mix makes a 7-inch square cake or an 8 inch round cake. Make sure you line your tin and it can also be a good idea to wrap a wet newspaper collar around the tin as it is in the oven for a fair amount of time.
3 cups fruit cake mix
1 cup dates
1 cup dark brown sugar
200-gram Apple Sauce
2 1/2 tablespoon Vinegar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 + 1/2 cup brandy
65 gram mixed peel
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
125 gram cherries
125 gram walnuts
Boil and then simmer fruit, apple sauce, sugar & 1 cup of water for 20 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Prepare a 7-inch square tin.
Cool and add bicarbonate of soda. Add chopped cherries, nuts, mixed peel & vinegar.
Combine all dry ingredients and then add to wet mixture
Add 1/2 cup brandy 5. Put about 1/4 cup brandy on top of raw cake mix before putting in oven. Bake for about 90 minutes.
As soon as out of oven pour another 1/4 cup brandy on top of cake and then allow to cool before removing from tin.