The Urgent Care Center.
I rang 111 for someone and they were given the choice, as to what they would like to do next, they were given two choices and chose the latter. So, I went with him to the Urgent Care Centre, inside the hospital. I REALLY didn’t want to go inside a hospital, but unfortunately, I had no choice. I put my mask on, was tempted to put two on, but didn’t and put my gloves on and off we went.
I expected the place to be full to overflowing. The first person we met was lovely, he was on his own in the corridor, he asked, “Hello, can I ask why you are here?” We told the Nurse why we were there; he took his temperature and it was normal. He then asked a few more questions, when he was satisfied, that he did not have coronavirus, he said to us, “You can carry on up the corridor and turn right at the top.”
As we went into the next room through the double doors my heart raced a bit more, for this was where I didn’t want to be, with the sick people. I was determined not to sit down. To my surprise there was only four people sitting in the waiting room. No one looked sick. We went to the desk, and was given a clip board and a one paged form to fill in, we both filled it in. Soon after a Nurse called him in, we both went in and she asked, “How can I help.” We told her, she had a look and took his blood pressure and asked us to, “Please wait in reception,” So we went back in. It always amazes me how at a time like this, wherever I go some wear masks and some don’t, and some wear gloves and some don’t. I always wear mask and gloves when I go outside the home.
He was happy to sit and wait, I looked at the posters on the walls all about domestic abuse, and took pictures of them so I could later put them on my Facebook page.
I was annoyed with him, for we didn’t need to be there, especially at this serious time and dragging me along too.
The Doctor called him in after thirty minutes, when we explained to the Doctor why we were there, he asked, “But why are you here?” He had a look then he left the room and I heard him say quietly, “Tomas, I got a joke for you, come and see this,” And I heard them both, laugh. A very large Doctor came in with the first Doctor and he checked and looked. The second Doctor said, “This is an urgent care centre,” I said, “If he drops dead tomorrow, I’m covered, he asked to come here, you now have the opportunity to say what you think and know, for I am not a Doctor you are, he will listen to you.” As funny as the situation was, he nodded and realized I had a point.
The second Doctor left, smiling and the first Doctor said to him, “You are in good health, you do not need any medication, for another Doctor over the phone had prescribed him …… a weeks’ worth of antibiotics, the week before! This Doctor was horrified when he heard, and so was I. The Doctor went on, “I will write your Doctor to check you over again, it won’t be yet, it will be months from now, and you have nothing to worry about, OK?” He replied, “OK.”
I was glad to be outside and carefully took of my grubby gloves and put them in the bin. I used my hand sanitizer liberally on my hands and put lots into his too.
Two days later, I felt unwell. Up until two days before I didn’t actually know where the Urgent Care Centre was, I had to Google it, to find out where it was. But I did remember when I was there two days before, walking slowly up and down in the waiting room, I overheard the Receptionist ask each person who came in, “Have you booked an appointment?” Some would say “Yes,” And some would say No,” So I knew I didn’t need to make an appointment, I hadn’t when I went with that Man.
My right elbow suddenly started to ache. I know I didn’t bang it, so it didn’t make sense why the ‘pain.’ I made a note of it in my daily diary and it seemed to ached more as the days went by. The only thing that seemed to be in the news was the coronavirus, in comparison my ache in my elbow seemed small and insignificant, I did wonder if I had shingles! As daft as that sounds, I did have shingles about four years ago, and I learnt from that, it can be any part of the body and can be had more than once! The last time I had shingles, it took two different Doctors three weeks to diagnose me, but in reality, they didn’t diagnose me, it was an old co-worker at work who told me I had it! And with the information I was given I went back to the Doctor and told him that I had “Shingles.” I remember very clearly before I knew what was wrong, I seriously thought I had cancer! Because looking at my leg, nothing seemed different, the pain was intense, unlike any pain I had felt before. And once again that dreaded word crept into my mind, both my elbows looked exactly the same, there was no redness, no itching, just an ache. It seemed to get worse either end of my elbow, towards my shoulder and towards my wrist.
All that was in the news as stated before was the coronavirus, even cancer patients were put on hold for their treatments that was due. It was a scary time for no one knew who was going to survive it. It did seem petty. Then I told someone at work, he said, “Put gel, like Ibuleve on it,” I said, “I always like to know why, I am taking a medication before I try to mask or cover the pain.” But I knew a Doctor wouldn’t see me for something as un important as an ache in my elbow.
As the days wore on, I noticed it was difficult to grip things like my mug of tea in the mornings and it hurt to turn on the taps, every time. I didn’t want to Google what it might be, that sort of info only plays havoc with my mind! I tried to ignore it, but I just couldn’t.
I decided to pluck up the courage to go to the Urgent Care Centre, for it had been over a week, and it didn’t seem to have gotten any better, and ironically i kept banging my elbow it into doors and walls and everything else.
I put my mask on and gloves and my sanitiser were in my pocket ready to use. I went the same way and came to a woman at the desk where before the lovely Man had sat. I approached her, nervously and had wondered if I would see the two laughing Doctors, she said, coldly, “Can I help you?” I explained to her that, “I’d had shingles before and wondered if I could see a Doctor as I think I might have it again,” She replied, “You have to remove your gloves, they are not allowed here, it causes people not to wash their hands as much,” I told her, “I’m not removing my gloves.” She said, again, “You have to take them off.” Again, I said, “I am keeping my gloves on”, For me, taking my gloves off would have been like her asking me to lick the floor! That wasn’t going to happen. She then said, “You can go to your own GP,” I replied, “They are closed,” She said, “They are not, they are open!” I said, “I thought they were closed,” I had also membered to her, the Man who was given antibiotics from the Doctor, over the phone. Then she dropped a bombshell and said, “We have coronavirus here, YOU are now contaminated!” And before I could say anything she add, “It is all around YOU.” I was scared to death! Then in a flash she stood up and shoved that thermometer into my right ear! She then said, “You’re here now, you might as well see the Doctor.” I said, to her, “I’m going,” And turned around and left the building, shaking.
I thought, will this be how I catch it? I’d tried to be so careful and now I’d walked into a virus filled hospital, on purpose! Her parting words were still ringing in my ears, “You touched door handles on the way in!” My reply was, “I only used my middle finger once to pull the door towards me.”
I took the filthy gloves off and smothered my hands in sanitiser and back in my car, I rang my Doctor’s surgery. There never is any reply and got, nothing, it just kept ringing. Now I knew it was open I decided to go there.
The waiting room was locked, it was the just the small part at the entrance where the small slatted window was, where prescriptions were handed out or in. I stood behind the line, which was well away from the window and I watched and listened through the open window as the Receptionist and the locum Doctor talked. I could hear the phones ringing and ringing. They could see me and I could see them. After what seemed like an age, they told the Doctor which way to go. The Receptionist came to the open window and asked, “Hello, how can I help you?” I said, I would like to see a Doctor.” She replied, “It’s phone consultation only,” I replied, “I did ring, but the phones kept ringing,” As I looked at the still ringing phones. I went to leave, to phone from home, when she said, “Can I have your details and why you want to see a Doctor?” There was now a Man in the tiny space standing near me, I didn’t really want to give out my name, address, telephone number and why I wanted to speak to a Doctor! Thank goodness it was nothing about ‘below,’ I gave her all the details, and she said, “The Doctor will call you this afternoon,” I said, “Around what time?” She replied, “I don’t know, but it will be this afternoon.” I said, “OK, thank you.” And left.
An hour later, back at home a lovely soft-spoken Doctor rang me. He’d done his homework, and had looked at my old notes already. He reassured me, and I said, “Can I ask one thing?” He said, “Sure,” I said, “Do you think I have……”? And I spelt out the words, I dare not say it, “S-T-R-O-K-E.” He said, “That never crossed my mind, there would be slurred of speech, weakness on one side leg and arm,” I was now VERY relieved, and said, “Thank you Doctor, I feel better now.” He reaffirmed his advice to me again and we ended the call. I was at Peace.
Well almost at peace, I still had the fear that Woman had placed on me, in the hospital, she might have been having a bad day, we all have them, she might have thought I was another time waster like the Doctors who laughed at that Man, or she might have not liked the look of me, for sometimes you can just dislike a person by looking at them. But suppose I did have shingles, for that could have been a real possibility and I would have been foolish to go to work and pass it on to my fellow co-workers. I was trying to do the right thing, for I never have time off work.
For my mind’s sake, I rejected that Woman’s negative thoughts and words to me, for as stressed as it made me, all she was wearing for protection was a mask, which was not on her face, but yes, you have guessed it, underneath her chin! So, I knew what she had said, was not true, I had not been affected, I did not tell my Manager! For he might have sent me home, and we are very short staffed already, with some refusing to come back to work until the coronavirus is gone.
Keep safe. Be kind to each other. x