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Monday, October 31, 2005

What a frustrating morning.

Em had her long-awaited endocrine appointment at the hospital this morning, so we left the house at 7:45, in order to get Bobby to work on time before dropping Sophie off at school. But the traffic was horrendous, so that the trip to Bobby's work took 45 minutes instead of the usual 15. The traffic was just as bad coming back after we'd dropped him, so it took us another 45 minutes to get to Sophie's school, which meant that she was fifteen minutes late, and distraught. And it was very embarrassing for me, the woman who's always neurotically punctual, to have to usher a tardy child into school.

Stephen had chosen to walk to school, luckily, so at least he wasn't late.

The hospital is very close to the kids' schools, though, so we were just in time for our appointment, thank goodness. Once we'd found the correct department (nice idea, guys, have a big desk that says "Information" on it in the foyer, but don't have anyone sitting behind it) it was a case of "hurry up and wait". Wait to see the doctor, wait to have an x-ray done, wait (and wait and wait and wait and wait) for the blood tests.

I am not particularly impressed with the doctor we saw. Although she seemed pleasant enough, she hadn't actually read Emily's case notes. And then she couldn't get her calculator to work - not very confidence-inspiring, somehow, when your doctor doesn't have a reliable way to calculate dosages. "It's solar-powered, you see," she explained, "but it's been a bit dodgy recently." I tried to look sympathetic as she was explaining this to me but I think I probably didn't manage.

The hospital itself is rather run-down and shabby. Bumpy uneven floors, ceiling tiles missing here and there so that wiring is exposed, grubby walls, moth-eaten looking bulging paper files containing patient notes ... It all seems rather archaic, somehow.

And there seem to be just two people who do any necessary blood draws for the entire hospital. This meant that when we arrived in the pathology department, we had to take a number and wait, along with fifty or so other people. It took forever for Emily to be seen, and all the waiting took its toll on her; as the minutes ticked by she got more and more tense and nervous. The last straw for her came when she was finally sitting in the chair waiting to have her blood drawn, and the nurse started dithering about which type of vial was needed, consulted a scrappy hand-written piece of paper to no avail, dashed out of the room to ask someone else ... At that point poor Em just dissolved into tears.

Paying for parking at the hospital annoyed me, as usual. It is just mean of hospitals to charge their patients to park there. It's not like the patients have any other options.

On the plus side, though, frustrating as the morning was , Ems seems to be growing nicely, we did get all the necessary tests done (even if it's apparently going to take three weeks to get the results back), the blood draw nurse managed the procedure quite painlessly, and we didn't have to pay anyone anything.

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