That ever I was born to set it right!". I know how old Hamlet felt.
The bruising came and went, but the hand remained sore and swollen. I had a phone call from the medical practise. Would I book up a blood pressure test? Out of the blue; but I thought OK and while I'm there I'll ask about my hand.
You'll be pleased to know that my blood pressure is spot on 120/80. While I was there they thought they'd check me for diabetics so I had a large pot to pee into and then transfer some of that pee into a small sample jar. Apparently they'd given up on asking patients to pee directly into the smaller pot - far too messy.
I said to the doctor - so young he was in danger of spoiling his nappy - "My hand, I didn't go to A&E 'cause we're told they're overburdened with unnecessary cases." He replied: " Sometimes it better to go straight there."
He didn't look at me: Instead he stared intently at his computer screen and typed away frantically. " Not like the good old days." I said. "You in a large arm chair smoking a pipe and offering me a tumbler of your malt whisky." His response was to press the "Print" Icon. "Take this to the GP X Ray Unit, I can't tell whether anything is broken."
So I pitched up at our local hospital (can't name it - a state secret:but body parts were discovered not a quarter of a mile away). There was no one waiting!!! I was seen immediately!!!!!! A lovely young woman of East European extraction gently placed my right hand on the viewing plate and "You've a broken metacarpal - look. Now off you go to A&E to have it fixed.
A&E is like Dante's circles of hell but with added evil.
First you go to "Reception". That means standing in a queue until the lovely woman who's taking your details has spent half an hour trying to understand the person in front of you who has three children in tow and speaks halting English. The woman at "Reception" takes your details: who you are, what's wrong with you etc. I handed her the note the radiologist kindly provided which pointed out that I'd broken a bone in my hand. The receptionist gave me a blue card and a ticket with a number on it and told me to sit on a chair surrounded by hundreds of other chairs full of other people with blue cards and numbered tickets.
There were four windows: only three were occupied and above each of them was a number. Imperceptibly the numbers changed and a mechanical voice called out that number and the window it referred to. After what seemed an age, my number was up and I approached window No 3.
"What's your name? how old are you? where do you live? do you have a partner? what's their name? what's your phone number?...What's wrong with you? After that you were sent back to the chairs full of the same people.
Around this colony of chairs were a series of rooms. All numbered "Triage 1", "Consulting Room 2", "Morgue 3". There was a scrolling LED screen which spat out names but didn't have any effect on the mass of us on the chairs. Occasionally a head would pop out of the doors of one of the rooms and call a name. Since the caller was Bulgarian and the recipient was Chinese or visa verse it took a while for each patient to be identified. I sat there for hours.
I was surrounded by the rejects of a horror movie. One of the patients was a young girl with what I assume was Tourette's syndrome She was huge, spending most of her time stuffing her face with high sugar confection that the hospital helpfully provided on tap. Every now and then she'd wake us all up with "Fuck", "Cunt" and "Wanker". The highlight came when three policemen came in to be greeted by "Fucking, Wanking, Cunts". I swear we all clapped.
I wanted to leave but I knew if I did I'd have to come back again the next day and go through the same hell once more. Finally my name was called. I saw a specialist nurse. "Well what's the problem?" she said staring at an X ray of what turned out to be my broken metacarpal and an X ray of a pair of lungs. I asked about the lungs. They were my lungs. It so happened I'd had X ray 2 years ago so they thought that just for fun they'd flash it up on the screen. "Well you've broken a bone in your hand." I waited a life time to learn something I already knew. "We'll give you a splint and you'll have to make an appointment with the fracture clinic."
I took a photo of my X rayed hand.
In the corner of her consulting room were 15 or so crutches. I asked if they got them back. No, she said. I said why not ask people for a deposit. "Ah, we've considered that, but what happens if they haven't the money." "They got there with out a crutch, they can leave with out one." I replied. I was getting pretty pissed off by this stage.
The nurse having immobilised my hand, gave me a card and told me to go back to "Reception" to make an appointment with the fracture clinic. I went back to the "Reception" queue. After a while I saw the receptionist who told me to go to the end window. It would be shut but I was to knock on the glass and someone would come. Having found the window, I knocked and knocked and knocked. I shouted "Hello there", nothing, I knocked again. Now I thought I'd got the wrong window so I walked down this passage and that passage looking for a suitable window. Nothing, so I went back to the one I first knocked on. And knocked again. Jesus, have mercy someone appeared. "Fracture clinic appointments?", I asked desperately. "Yes,but I've got to book an ambulance, wait over there for a few minutes and I'll call you when I'm done."
I sunk back into the ocean of chairs, fearful that I'd be there for another 2 hours listening to the inane cries of the sick and insane. But no he called me over and I now have an appointment at the fracture clinic.
Next time I break a bone in an extremity I take a meat cleaver to it.