Tuesday, June 6

The Clinic for Catastrophic Cripples

Newcastle General Hospital must be one of the most awful places ever for medical treatment. Its my least favourite by a mile of any of the many medical establishments I frequent these days. It has an unfortunate 'workhouse' feel about it that no amount of developing can erase. So today I went for the Catastrophic Cripple Clinic, or should I say Neurosurgery.

You arrive at reception to be greeted by the most unfriendly receptionists in the history of the NHS. "name, address, GP" they bark. You then have to 'take a seat'. Well actually most of us are already seated, some are lying and the odd few can just about stand up although you cant help wondering why they bother. So we are all crammed into this tiny waiting room, no air conditioning and the doctor is running an hour late which for him is good. The nurses call by to offer us drinks and bring big mugs of tea round. Odd eh? But then we are the poor unfortunates, the worst of the worst.We are the ones with something so wrong with us that we get whispered about. Its a little badge of pride in what could be an otherwise rather sad room. Everyone gets chatting and to be honest much of the humour is pretty gallows stuff, but it keeps the atmosphere light. I'm pretty shocked at the state of some of those waiting, they seem so ill that I wonder how they manage to function at all. But then maybe I'm just as shocked that I'm sitting in the same waiting room as they are in the first place. Is this where I really belong these days, is this what I have become? Certainly I dont feel any different to the me that was and is. Its a long afternoon. Eventually I'm ushered into the 2nd waiting room and get to see my doctor. He's an over jovial type who is brisk and to the point. We have a look at my many MRI scans and he shows me various points of interest or not depending on where you are sitting. At the end of it all he shakes me by the hand tells me he's discharging me over to neurology and wishes me luck. Yeah Luck, I feel thats something a little overdue here.

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