Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Yesterday I handed in my invite to the Cardiology Department at the local hospital in return for an EKG. First I had to find the darn hospital, which turned out to be not where I expected it to be. Still, I suppose the walk did me good.

I remember hospitals as being oppressive and incredibly unappealing concrete lumps, riddled with corridors lit with harsh strip-lighting that still managed to appear dark and foreboding, and scented with the lingering aroma of cheap antiseptic valiantly trying to mask the smell of something far more unpleasant. This was a Community Hospital, whether that made a difference, and quite new. It may take a few years to fall into a desperate state. In the meantime there was a lot of blond wood.

The first reception I walked into was the wrong reception because it was the Walk-In Centre reception. The smiley receptionist pointed me in the right direction while a dozen or so waiting patients sat immobile. I hurriedly walked out.

With its modest glass-walled atrium, the proper reception looked like it was fronting the corporate headquarters of a rather successful minor company. With a bright, cloudless sky above bathing everything in warm sunlight, the right receptionist had a bright welcoming smile. Arriving in the middle of an electric storm I wondered if she would have a face like thunder.

The Cardiology Department was, of course, on the ground floor so that patients didn’t have to overdo it getting there. Past reception, the wide corridor curved around to the right while the glass wall showed off what was either a half-arsed attempt at a Zen Garden or the hospital builders’ ingenious method of disguising the unwanted rubbish left over from construction.

I turned right where I was told to and kept walking, carrying on past all manner of signs and graphics relating to other departments until I came to large double doors through which I could see the Walk-In Centre reception. To my left was the entrance to the Cardiology Department. Still, I guess the walk always helps.

The test was simply to record the electrical activity of my heart, which isn’t very exciting. It might have been if, once I was lying down and the nurse was attaching the electrodes, we were surrounded by Herman Rosse’s marvellous sets or the equipment designed by Kenneth Strickfaden, while thunder rumbled far in the distance.

Instead the room was typically NHS bland. But the nurse who called me into the room actually said, “Pop your top off and climb up on the table.” If only she’d been wearing a tight little uniform with a shorty-skirty and black stockings. Then again, that certainly would have queered the results, which went straight into an envelope, sealed and addressed to my new GP Nazi.

Once it was done and I was dressed again I found an easier exit that got me outside in time to stand in the wake of a bus surging down the road. Still, I figure the walk did me good.


At 12:20 pm, Blogger Jon Peacey said...

Have you had a cardiac ultrasound? That's really quite strange- you get to see your heart actually beating inside your chest... like the obverse of Temple Of Doom. And then they told me my heart was very unusual because it was the reverse way round. Which was nice.

At 3:30 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

A cardiac ultrasound? Not yet, but you never know with this lot.

After having blood drawn to be sent off for testing yesterday, and the nurse telling me what lovely wide shoulders I had as she sauntered toward me, I'd be happy to have whatever test they wanted.

That's odd having the heart the reverse way round. Did they check the rest of the internal organs? An ex-girlfriend had a close friend whose chest and abdomen was completely reversed in terms of internal organs.

At 12:22 pm, Blogger Jon Peacey said...

I'm virtually needlephobic but I'd have been more than happy to have been used as a pin-cushion had my nurse been "wearing a tight little uniform with a shorty-skirty and black stockings".

I am pleased to announce the rest of my organs are apparently stuck in correctly... and I was assured that the heart would work fine as was but it was terribly unusual. (The pump side is quite a bit smaller than the receiver.)

To have all the organs the wrong way round is very intriguing though... did they work alright?


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