I walked along looking in all their windows. A nice selection of costume jewellery caught my eye and I pondered over a small brooch when my nose caught a whiff of something tempting. Coffee. Next door to the jewellery shop was Costa, I breezed in and made a purchase. Coffee is better with something to read so it was quite handy to have a newsagents next door. This was the life, shopping all under cover, there was even parking although you did have to pay for that. Further on I passed a few vending machines and mooted over a Kitkat chunky but by now I needed to sit down. Fortunately I had reached my destination and a nice row of chairs beckoned me.
You wouldn’t have guessed it would you but I have just described a walk through a hospital. Yes, they have shops, Costa and god knows what else when all you really need is care not concessions. Yesterday we had to visit A&E with Jaynes mother after a random phonecall early yesterday morning which was also the reason there was no blog.
It’s been a long, long time since I have been in a hospital as I tend to avoid them. An avoidance which sprung from being given an overdose by a junior nurse that knocked me out for eighteen hours and before that left bleeding face down in a bathroom after nasal surgery, hospitals and me are not compatible. Boy has it changed though, I nearly turned around as I entered thinking I had mistaken an out of town shopping outlet for a hospital, since when do you need costume jewellery in a medical emergency? I walked around in wonder. Apart from the odd person striding speedily through the shopping area in some kind of uniform you would not know you were in a medical facility at all. It seems commercialisation has really bitten hard.
I suppose that would explain the slots on the wheelchairs that look uncannily similar to the pound coin slots on supermarket trolleys. Right next to A&E we passed a small selection of staff vehicles, around six to be precise with an accumulated value of around half a million pounds. It’s always heartwarming to see such a display of wealth so close to a cash strapped overworked A&E.
The A&E department itself was efficient and inpersonal for the main although the doctor we finally managed to see was a jolly fellow with a fine bedside manner, humour and compassion. The visit disturbed me though. Sat in A&E I noticed a welcome leaflet, inside it explained everything from your rights to how patients are treated in order according to severity. These leaflets were distributed widely and worked as a quick introduction until you turned it over and found this.
On the back page of the Hospitals welcome leaflet, I’ll say that again, WELCOME LEAFLET was a full page advert for personal injury solicitors. Hi, welcome to our hospital, why you are sat there in misery contemplating dark thoughts why not think about suing the ass off everyone involved. Broke your leg when you fell off your bike? No problem, lets sue the shop that sold you the bike, the bike manufacturer for making such a dangerous item as a bike, the ancestors of the Penny Fathing inventor for coming up with something so lethal and finally the hospital for making you sit uncomfortably for more than five minutes. We sat in silence listening to another couple weighing up who they could sue for a minor hand injury that needed little more than a plaster and just how much they could get, it was sickening. You only had to look around though.
In the centre of the room was this board, it has small advertisements for charities such as Childline, Bliss, the Heart Foundation and the services they offer apart from the six stand out items in the middle, they offer yet again personal injury lawyers complete with take away business cards. Welcome to 2013, it sucks.
I perused a few other leaflets scattered around. The government has produced a series of high profile ones following the theme of healthy living. I flicked though the healthy eating one, heavy on sensible advice but I wonder how many would really take notice when to the left of me was a vending machine full of nothing but chocolate and bags of crisps? Around the corner was another machine with a small selection of bottled water and a large selection of fizzy drinks. Mixed messages? Don’t offer me advice and temptation within ten feet of each other. Are we talking common sense or money? Probably the latter. I read a leaflet on problem drinking and was bitterly disappointed to not find a machine dispensing cans of lager, don’t you hate double standards.
It seemed quite inappropriate to pass people in the corridors clutching cups of branded coffee and eating chocolate bars whilst incapacitated patients were being wheeled around with drips. We had to stop at a corridor junction as an obvious emergency case was rushed by, not a pretty sight and my heart gave a bit of a leap. A family opposite stopped too to make way and looked on as if they were watching their favourite reality show, even pointing as they passed whilst munching their way through a bag of crisps and slurping their coffee. Not a flicker of emotion and they strode away possibly looking to buy that nice set of earrings they saw earlier.
The whole hospital experience felt a little like a product, personally I think this type of commercial approach runs the risk of separating the medical staff from patients and the shopping centre feel helps to desensitise the general public to the real and great work a hospital does, I don’t agree with it but then again there is very little I can do about it either.
OMG. I just remembered another reason I’m not compatible with hospitals, I was a practice pin cushion when I had my appendix out. After eight, yes, eight attempts at a needle being stuck in my arm I eventually passed out. My appendix surgery occurred some time in the wee hours of the morning where I was slashed away and sewn up again in some weird manner. Over twenty three years later the skin still looks like It was cut open using those peculiar zigzag scissors and the three stitches looking like little ‘6’s are still there in the form of scars. Brutal. You know what’s worse? They didn’t even have a jewellery store back then, how shocking is that?
OMG, three sixes? That explains the hoofs.