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Tingtwatter asks: Ever been on the receiving end of some quality health care? Tell us about it

(, Thu 11 Mar 2010, 11:49)
Pages: Latest, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, ... 1

This question is now closed.

Badger's Guide To Getting The Most Out Of Your NHS.
1. Don't be a rude ignorant wanker. I've got a consultant wanting to ask a selection of questions about patients z,y and z, the bloke opposite is sitting in a puddle of his own shit, there is someone in the next bay with a blood pressure of 82/40 and a heart rate of 119, this better be good. Also: we know when you're being rude due to pain/feeling crappy and just plain being a cunt.

2. Stop smoking, cut down your booze intake and lose some weight. It's not namby-pamby PC gorn 'elf and safety crypto-facist lefty nannying, it's common sense. Yes you look very cool smoking in your teens and twenties, but trust me, you will look and feel like shit in your fifties.

3. Do you really need to go to A & E? Sometimes it can't be helped, but can your GP or NHS direct deal with it?

4. If you do have to go to A & E and have to wait, then I'm afraid that that's the rub. You've been triaged, you'll be seen as and when your level of Broken warrants. Sometimes the alcoholic tramp next to you NEEDS seeing first, them's the breaks. See also : point 1.

5. Apart from your GP, 90% of doctors you see will be juniors. Yes, they've been to university for 6 years, yes they're pretty clever. They are, nonetheless still learning and may very well make mistakes. A responsible senior nurse or a pharmacist will swiftly them see right, particularly if you air your worries.

6. GP's have a wide but shallow pool of knowledge. If you are not happy with the care you receive or your diagnosis, don't just go home and keep coming back week in, week out whilst bitching about it to your mates, colleagues and the internet. GO AND SEE A DIFFERENT ONE, it's OK to seek a second opinion. See also points 1 and 5.

7. Unless you have a chronic(ie you've had it for years) condition, you almost certainly DO NOT know more than your doctor/nurse/physio/pharmacist. Details however, are always helpful. See also point 1.

8. Pretty much every procedure you undergo will be painful, uncomfortable, undignified or any combination of these things. Air your worries BEFORE the gloves are being put on or MTFU.

9. When you have a nurse/doctor at your bedside ensure that all you need to do/want is done whilst they're there. It may be some time before they are able to get back to you and trust me, EVERYONE hates someone who is constantly on the buzzer. If you have questions for them jot them down so you don't forget.

10. Hospital care has changed a lot in recent times. The emphasis now is one keeping people at home if possible. This means that if you are admitted it is generally Serious Business. Everyone else around you is also likely to be pretty ill. If you have to stay in another night, them's the breaks. See also: point 1.

11. If you know you're coming into hospital bring earplugs, books, an MP3 player, etc. Hospitals are noisy places with lots of exciting things happening but YOU will get very very bored. Also, distraction is an excellent and effective treatment for pain in the right circumstances. And a notepad.

12. Private hospitals are staffed by the same doctors and nurses as work in the NHS hospitals, only they're there on their days off and are knackered. The staffing is generally to the legal minimum. Granted the food is better and you may get a lovely(bug harbouring) carpet in your room.

13. Bring food in. Hospital food is better than it was but it's still not great. When you're trying to feed several hundred ill people, many of whom have complicated dietary needs, it's tricky to do well on a budget of £2/person a day..

14..but don't overload your bedspace with stuff. Clutter breeds bugs and accidents.

15. Don't be fucking stupid. Seriously. That hilarious stunt involving petrol, chainsaws, aerosol cans and a lighter that you're filming for youtube? Don't be fucking stupid.

16. Unless you're an old lady and it's one of the many gay men employed by the NHS on the receiving end(don't ask me why, they're the only ones who are allowed to get away with it), don't flirt with the staff. You are not at all sexy in your present condition and frankly are coming across as a bit creepy/desperate/needy(delete as applicable).

17. DO NOT FIDDLE with lines, drips, cathers, wounds, dressings, etc. You WILL come off second best. See also points 8 and 15.

18. LISTEN TO WHAT YOU ARE ADVISED. In the words of your mum would you take me up the shitter now, we're not saying this for the good of our health, it's for YOURS. See also points 1, 2, 6, 7 and 10.

19. Don't try and cheer the porters up. It won't work.

20. Really, don't be a cunt, I don't swear at you when you sneeringly ask me 'have you switched it off and on again?'. Not to your face anyway.
(, Fri 12 Mar 2010, 10:42, 21 replies)
Starting my life again

As some of you will be aware, I suffered a massive brain haemorrhage (a rare type of stroke that kills 60% of sufferers) at the tender age of 14. It was the 28th July 1995, but it still feels like it was only last week.

I was a spotty, greasy fourteen year old, and had just finished year 10 at high school, a year before I took my dreaded GCSEs. I had been out on a bike ride with two friends in the morning, and had arranged to go swimming in the afternoon, which (luckily!), was canceled at the last minute.

I spent the afternoon alone playing on my MegaCD when, without any warning, I suddenly felt dizzy and very sick. I tried to stand up, but I completely lost my balance and fell backwards onto my bed. My vision had just become an erratic kaleidoscope of colours, unable focus on anything. My head pounded with an indescribable pain. I was able to get to my feet and stagger towards the bedroom door, and start making my way downstairs to the kitchen (I don't really know why I tried to do this, but the medicine cabinet was in there so I think it was an automatic response) I managed to get half way before my legs completely buckled and I fell the rest of the way, hitting my head and shoulders on the radiator in the hallway, but I didn't feel a thing. I managed to reach the kitchen on my hands and knees, and haul myself onto the bench where I just sat with my head in my hands, trying to comprehend what was happening. I fell off the bench a few seconds later as my balance completely deserted me and just lay crumpled on the floor, waiting to be found. I was drifting in and out of consciousness at this point; the last thing I remember was Dad frantically calling someone on the telephone before I lost passed out completely.

The time it took from me being an average 14 year old playing videogames in his room to losing consciousness on the kitchen floor, at a guess, was about four minutes.

The doctor rushed me and my Dad to a local hospital where they took CT scans of my brain and tried several responsiveness tests. I was returned to a ward to see if I would regain consciousness, but when it was confirmed that I had suffered a massive Brain Haemorrhage, I was taken then to the Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry where they performed an emergency Craniotomy where they cut a hole in my skull, clipped the bleeding blood vessels with metal clips, removed the blood that had flooded my brain and left me in an induced coma to see if I would recover. I was literally at death's door.

However I woke up several days after the operation in the Intenstive Care unit, unable to comprehend what had happened to me. I couldn't talk or form sentences correctly; the right hand side of my body was almost completely paralysed. The room I was in would rearrange itself every time I blinked. It was as if I was frozen in time while the world around me rushed by. I struggled to recognise visitors at my bedside, one minute recognising them as family but the next they were just voyeuristic strangers. I remember a mirror being thrust in front of me; but I didn't even recognise my reflection. My hair had been shaved off and I had an enormous scar running from behind my left ear towards the top of my head.

My mum tried to explain what had happened to me but I couldn't understand. I'd never even heard of a Brain Haemorrhage before, and had only heard of strokes when they happened to someone on TV.

After a few days in this confused state, I was transferred to my local hospital's children's ward, where I was able to receive visitors; this is where my recovery really picked up. My family and friends made me smile and laugh again just by talking to me. I received intensive physiotherapy to get my strength in my body back and occupational therapy where I had to perform household tasks like making a cup of tea and doing a jigsaw. I was given a wheelchair which I was only able to move slightly at first; but even this small achievement was a massive boost to regaining my independence. My right arm, hand and leg still refused to work most of the time, which was very frustrating as it meant I couldn't play with the Megadrive in the children's ward, my fingers refusing to press the buttons no matter how hard I willed them to.

I was finally allowed to go home a week later with a strict exercise regime and speech and language therapy sessions to regain my communication skills. I couldn't do much for myself anymore, and I had to rely on mum and dad for everything. I hated being so dependant on other people. I had one goal; to get back to school and be with my friends again. Thanks to the physiotherapy sessions, I had managed to regain the ability to stand and walk again which, to me, was the biggest achievement I had made. I was finally able to climb the stairs to my bedroom at home where I was finally able to get some privacy, away from the constant supervision. My speech had returned with the Speech and Language therapy, although I was still struggling to say the right words in the correct order and context. I think that being unable to express myself was the scariest and most frustrating aspect of the brain haemorrhage. It was like being imprisoned in my own mind, and as a hormone-addled teenager striving for independence; it was an excruciatingly difficult period of time.

Three weeks later, I was summoned back to the Walsgrave hospital for an angiogram, where it was revealed that I needed another operation to clip the bleed further, which was a massive blow to me as I was afraid it would undo all the hard work I'd done in the various therapy sessions I had attended. The operation wasn't as long as the first one, and I managed to regain consciousness again with most of my faculties intact. I was walking again after a couple of days of being moved from the ICU to a regular ward. Another angiogram revealed that I needed one more operation to finally clip the bleed, which was carried out a couple of weeks later. I was finally discharged from hospital in late September and allowed to recover at home. By this time, my mobility had returned and I was able to walk unassisted for increasingly longer distances.

I was finally allowed back to school in October 1995, with the strict condition that I had to be kept separate from the other students during busy times in the corridors, in case I was knocked over and banged my head. My treatment once I had returned was a mixture of compassion, indifference, fascination and disbelief. Most were kind to me and patient with my difficulties, but some people (mostly other students but a couple of teachers too) accused me of exaggerating my symptoms to "gain attention" or to get out of doing work which was really hurtful; although as apart from the big scar and speech problems, there appeared to be nothing wrong with me, outwardly at least.

I failed all of my practice GCSE exams spectacularly and was almost moved to the lower ability groups but I refused to leave; the brain haemorrhage giving me a resilience and stubbornness that I didn't possess before. I worked really hard over the remaining few months of the term before the actual GCSE exams in May 1996; where I managed to get my grades back up to pass levels which, considering the situation I was in less 12 months previously was a monumental achievement. I went on to do my BTEC and HND, pass my driving test and now live like everybody else, apart from epilepsy, aphasia and a few memory issues.

I've done several interviews about the stroke, for the Daily Telegraph and the Sun. I'm also a case study in an AS Level Biology Textbook in the Cardiovascular Disease section! Charming eh?

The NHS was absolutely wonderful in looking after me. From the quick diagnosis at the local hospital, to the long and complicated operations and tests, to the aftercare, physiotherapy to get me walking again, speech and language to help me communicate and Occupational Therapy to get me doing day to day tasks. Right down to the vicar in the hospital chapel who used to come and visit me, to the work experience girl who held my hand when I was scared to go into the CT Scanner, to the library staff who saved me audiotapes. A whole army of people dedicated to helping me rebuild my life from scratch. My treatment, including epilepsy medicine for the rest of my life, must have cost thousands.

I will always owe my life to the NHS.
(, Sat 13 Mar 2010, 23:30, 10 replies)
Cubicle Wrestling
The only operation I’ve ever had was back when I was fifteen to exorcise my nut sack of an unwanted ET*.

Prior to having the op I had an appointment with the old chap who’d be performing the exorcism on my haunted ball bag. As I sat there looking at the old boy over the desk all I could think was: This geezer’s gonna slit my furry pink bagpipes open, reach inside and wrestle with the bollock-from-another-dimension. The surgeons name was Chapman (the brother of that fella out of Monty Python, no less), and he was an all round decent fella. Though, understandably, I was still absolutely shitting bricks.

He had the stentorian demeanour of a high court judge. If he said jump, I’d say how high (only not too high on account of the severely swollen manbag). Thankfully he didn’t ask me to do any physical activity – but he did ask if I’d provide him with a stool and urine sample.

Piss – no problem. I could piss for Britain on command. But shit? I nodded that that would be ok and disappeared back into the waiting area, my arse hanging out the back of the surgical gown I’d been put into, where my mum was waiting.

After a while I was given a couple of little tube thingies in which to make my deposits by one of the two nurses who worked the desk, and I was ushered towards a toilet.

Inside, I immediately filled the first container with the finest grade yellow cock water known to mankind, secured the lid, and felt the lovely heat of my fresh piss through the clear plastic. Hadn’t spilled a drop. If they did GCSE’s in pissing in a bottle, I’d have got an A star.

Then I examined the second container... Jesus, this has gotta be a piss take!!!

The second container was the same size and dimensions as the first – basically a teeny-tiny test tube with a plastic cap on the end. I stood for a bit, frowning down at it, trying to imagine the best logistical way to take a dump in the damn thing.

Eventually, after several minutes of furious thought and having come up with fuck all, I fell back on plan B: Fuck it, what’s the worst that can happen? I hitched up my gown, squatted over the bog, held the tube under my quickly dilating stinky barndoor and proceeded to try and squeeze one out. Thankfully, I’d had an egg McMuffin for breakfast - this had lubricated my insides in the same way Castrol GTX lubricates a car engine. When my brown eye started winking and the tip of the first turd rocket prepared for gravity-bound lift-off, I could feel it coming out a little slick, a little oily, with the consistency of treacle pudding put in the fridge for a few minutes.


Clenching my arse I squeezed and – allowing for the second drop time - felt something heavy, wet and warm land on my wrist. Fuck! I glanced down between my legs, I’d missed my target; I’d laid a fat one on my lower arm, it coiled round my wrist and looked up at me accusingly, it resembled a baby poo python or a wristwatch made out of shit. Fighting the need to spew, I dispatched the fucker to the watery depths with a quick flick, then prepared for another attempt.

The second time I was closer, but the velocity of this turd was faster than I’d expected. It shot out my sphincter like a prized racehorse at the starting gate. It almost whistled as it cut the air on its descent. It achived perfect splashdown before I had a chance to react.

Then I gave it another go, turd number three... Missed!!! SPLASH!!!

Shit! I’m running out of shit! I thought. Fuck it.... Only one thing for it....

...and I’m not proud of this....

I assumed the full-on standing squat with extra arse-stinking-in-the-air to maximize the distance between poopchute and bog. And I let fly a super-sized log into my waiting palm.

I lifted the container I held in my other hand and as quickly as possible, rammed the head of the turd into the damn thing – it squished inside, over the side, elements of the now mashed turd working between my fingers like wet, steamy hot rancid chocolate pudding (with extra sesame seed bits). Tendrils of shit fell to the floor. A fine spray of sphincter dough squidged and splattered onto the door and walls of the cubicle. Almost crying, I wiped my hands clean, wiped my arse, wiped the outside of the shit container, wiped the cubicle – I must’ve used up Northampton General’s entire month’s supply of bog roll in about ten minutes.

Blubbering, I went and started rubbing my skin off with soap and hot water.

After a while longer when I’d calmed down a bit I ventured back into the real world, the world where you don’t wrestle with your own faeces like some Roman gladiator with a poo fetish. I took my tubes of bodywaste – filled, and in one case packed to the brim by my own fair hand. I placed both containers down on the counter in front of the nurse.

She looked at the containers, I could almost read her mind: HOW THE FUCK DID YOU MANAGE TO GET ALL THAT IN THERE??? But she was a professional; she didn’t say a word. Not one fucking word. But as I was walking back to sit with my mum I did hear her whisper to her colleague, the other desk jockey who gave me the empty vials to fill in the first place:

“Sharon – if Dr Chapman asks for a stool sample and a urine sample, don’t give out two urine samples. We’ve got a bigger container for the number twos... God only knows.... That poor, poor boy....”

After the horrors of that half an hour, having my genitals ravaged by surgery didn’t seem that bad. Not that bad at all.

And a little advice: If you ever feel the urge to shit in your hands. Don’t. Just don’t.

*Extra Testicle. (Actually an aqueous cyst).
(, Tue 16 Mar 2010, 14:13, 10 replies)
Dessie dwangs his dong at the delightful Doctor
My little Brother was, and is, a pugilist of some renown, but not enough renown to reach the ears of the bullying 17 year old tosser that thought picking on a 14 year old would be fun.

One episode of unconsiousness and a few missing teeth later he realised the error of his ways.

Dessie had a problem though, 7 knuckles where there should be four.

Off to Morriston Hospital we trundled, Dessie, my Catholic ex-Nurse Mam, and myself 'cos TV was crappy. They did the x-ray, and decided that "a quick pull" would sort it. How prophetic.

The Anaethatist, was a vision, blonde, small, with that open approachable pretty face that said, "I am a nice girl, and a really good shag". As she lent over Dessie you could see his eyes flit from one perfect breast to the other, as they just ever so gently carressed his forehead. He was given a dose of the "gas and air" which rendered him just unconious enough not to hit the ceiling as they pulled his knuckles back where they needed to be.

As he came around, he dreamily opened his eyes and looked at Dr Awesome, and with the words "you are really nice, I like you" and pulled his beef baton from under his gown and dreamily masterbated.

My Mam was mortified, innefectually swatting at his hand as mhe massaged his ripidly growing pork python. I was so happy I couldnt talk. Dr Awesome looked at Mam, and said "This happens all the time"

No shit, I felt like joining him.

Pearoast, but its a good story
(, Thu 18 Mar 2010, 3:29, 8 replies)
It made me most incensed
When the Americans were slagging off the NHS. Sure the NHS isn't perfect, but it's free and universal. The only major fault I can see is a combination of bad management and politicians using it as a bargaining chip.
There was a lot of mud-slinging and it disgusted me. One argument was that if Senator Kennedy was treated in the UK, he wouldn't have survived nowhere near as long. But in America, if he wasn't stinking rich and was one of the 30 million Amercians that can't even afford medical insurance, he would've received no ongoing treatment whatsoever. The biggest cause of bankruptcy in America is medical bills.

You hear some horror stories about the NHS. How do they weigh up against the vast number of success stories?

I've been on long-term medication for epilepsy since 1991. They changed the drug to a fairly new one in 1996 (which has worked perfectly ever since). One day, being curious, I asked the pharmacy how much these tablets cost. He dug a book out and checked. It worked out about £4.50 per tablet. That price will have come down significantly as they're now produced by other companies now. (I think it's something to do with patents running out).
In 2005 I was diagnosed with a dicky thyroid, so now I have to take thyroxine every day for the rest of my life. At no cost to my pocket.
A couple of years ago, I had a bit of a funny turn and I thought my epilepsy was beginning to manifest itself again, so I was sent for an MRI. No charge. I can't imagine what that might have cost in America without insurance.

A couple of months back, they investigated my Dad as to why he had high blood pressure. They did a scan and they ended up bypassing a section of his carotid artery. He went in on the Sunday teatime, and was home again by Tuesday lunch with an impressive scar and a bottle of painkillers. It cured his high blood pressure immediately. Didn't cost him a penny. He's going back in a few weeks to sort his cataracts out.

My uncle Ernie is having both hips replaced. No charge. My mother-in-law once had a kneecap replaced at no cost.

My mate got bit on his finger by his guinea-pig. He got some antibiotics but it didn't clear up. He ended up having it operated on to clear out the infection, plus a bit of plastic surgery and then physiotherapy because he's a pianist. No charge.

There are dozens of other similar success stories

So those who slate the NHS for whatever reason, stop and think, weigh up the pro & cons and you'll see that the NHS is pretty fucking ace really.
(, Fri 12 Mar 2010, 14:04, 6 replies)
Obstetrics, what a laugh
A while back I was working in Llandough Hospital. just outside Cardiff. We had our fair share of Jeremy Kyle rejects, and as is their want, they breed.
The hero of the story was a Senior Registrar in Obs/Gynae, and had just delivered to this world a new future car thief, when the male provider of half of the DNA of the new ASBO candidate says "Oi Doc, when can I 'ave sex wiv 'er again?" when our hero, without dropping a beat said "Well, a Gentleman would wait until the Placenta is delivered"

Loved it then, love it now.
(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 7:04, 1 reply)
Despite it's flaws, it's controversies, it's waiting lists, it's mistakes, it's occasionally news-grabbing failings, the NHS is the one thing that we should be unceasingly proud of as a nation.

Sod any one who says otherwise.
(, Thu 11 Mar 2010, 18:20, 12 replies)
Advice for surviving childbirth
8 months ago, my partner gave birth to our first child. Neither of us were truly prepared for the experience, it’s both a beautiful and disgusting thing at the same time. I feel I should write down my tips for survival for any fathers-to-be, who don’t know first-hand what really goes on:

- Labour is boring. Very boring. Some women are lucky; they feel a slight twinge, push, and your newborn slips out like a lubed-up eel. Others will go to the toilet with stomach pain, look to see the damage they’ve caused to the porcelain, and realise they have given birth in the process. This will not happen to many woman though. Some woman can be in labour for up to 4 days. If you’re one of the lucky ones, like me, labour may last about 13 hours. However, be prepared to sit and wait for what seems like an eternity. Be prepared to watch your partner go through pain like no other, whilst you sit there helpless, offering meaningless words of comfort. Men, think. If you had a bowling ball making its way out of your sphincter, would the words ‘You’re doing really well’ make the experience any easier, or the pain more bearable? Of course not. My advice to you is to (try and) stay calm, sit still, and not to say anything. This all goes out the window however, if your partner demands you speak to her. This brings me onto my next point…

- Whatever she wants you to do, make sure you do it. The whole childbirth experience will be made a lot easier if you listen you partner. If she wants you to rub her back, rub it; even if she has got sick coming out the side of her mouth, that she gently covers your face in every time she speaks and/or breaths. Don’t fuss over her though – they’ll be hell to pay. I found taking a packet of cigarettes helped my experience somewhat. When the pain got to much, I simply nipped outside for a quick fag until I was felt able to return to the firing line. Once you’ve calmed yourself, return to the delivery room, wash your hands, and continue to remain silent. If your partner calls you a tosser, smile and say ‘I know I am darling’. Do not quip, ‘I will be for a few weeks, won’t I?’

- If you don’t like blood, try not to be brave and watch the midwife insert any tubes into your partners arm. You will feel lightheaded. On the upside, it isn’t your own blood. On the downside, it gets a lot worse than this. On a similar note, do help your partner to the toilet if she needs it. Don’t, whatever you do, look into it once she’s finished.

- If you can, make sure you eat before you leave your home and take food to the hospital with you. Both of you will need energy for this experience. Sandwiches and fruit are the easiest options here, it’s probably not best have a curry beforehand.

- Listen to the midwives. I was lucky; I had 3 fantastic woman around me who were reassuring and calm throughout. The midwife will know what she is doing – she does it every day. Don’t question why she is fisting your partner, even if you mean it as a joke. Don’t say ‘can I have a go’ and don’t ask you partner if ‘it feels nice’ or ‘can I try that once you’ve recovered?’. The women will gang up on you and make the experience even more difficult. Don’t panic if you and you’re partner are left alone for a while. If it wasn’t safe, the midwife would remain with you throughout. You need time to talk and be shouted at, alone. One last thing, don’t ask ‘Is it nearly there yet’ after just 3 hours of labour. Oh, and when she says, ‘You are 3cm dilated’ don’t ask what the equivalent in inches is. Listen to that advice and it should be enough to get you on the good side of your midwives. You need them – remember that.

- Gas and air is your friend. Help your partner hold the device and watch as she transforms from a raging beast, into a docile little burrowing creature, that wants patting and stroking. I found the gas and air also helped me deal with the situation. I was spaced out, but in a good way. Use this to your advantage. You can now get away with your ‘funny’ comments. Like all good things though, do not have to much. It is not funny to ask the Chinese midwife if you can have some noodles. If you feel you are taking a little to much gas and air, return the device to your partner, so she can continue to enjoy the benefits. Apparently, when removing items from a bag and placing them on a shelf, you can look like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever to your drugged up partner.

- For most of the labour process, you should get through on the above. However, when it gets down the real nitty gritty, you’re going to have to be a lot braver. Luckily for me, my partner didn’t need a caesarean, an epidural or any other pain relief – so I can’t advise on that. What I can tell you is nothing prepares you for the next bit; the big push. Take your partner by the hand and let her squeeze the life out of it. Your fingers shouldn’t break even if they fell like they might. This is where you can offer a few words of support. Do not shout ‘Push like you’ve never pushed before’ or ‘I know it hurts but you’re nearly there’. Instead, help your partner concentrate on her breathing, and even count down from one to three, so you are both braced for every push.

- Don’t look down. Whatever you do, just don’t. It’s not worth ruining your sexual appetite over. When the midwife says she can see the head and asks if you want a look; it isn’t worth going right down for a full on up-skirt view. You’re better off peering over from above, and seeing you’re baby’s head appear as if by magic. If you are tempted to venture south, they’ll be both blood and shit. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Remember to keep calm – by this time your body will be emotionally and physically drained, but the euphoric event should be enough to see you over the final hurdle. Your partner will also be tired.

- All going well, your baby should be delivered into the hands of the midwife, and your partner will lay back, exhausted but happy. Feel free to cry. It’s natural. Your baby will have blood on it, but you’ll hardly notice. Look at the tiny feet and hands. Look into your baby’s eyes and watch how it instantly follows what you do. Hold your partner and congratulate her on the magnificent job she’s done. Hold your baby for the first time and feel a feeling which words can truly not describe. If you want to, you can cut the cord. The only advice I can give here is that it feels a bit like squid.

- The worst is done. All being well, you can help the midwife dress your baby. One last tip, do not turn and face your partner during this process. You will see a stingray like creature being pulled from her. This apparently is the placenta. If you do make the mistake of catching a glimpse of this creature, merely look your partner in the eyes, mouth ‘I love you’ and return to your baby.

That should be it. Of course they’ll be a day or two of recuperation. Try and get rest whilst you can, and remember to visit your partner and new baby in hospital. Take a present for both; you’ll get stick if you don’t . Finally, enjoy it. Enjoy everything about the experience. You’ll look back afterwards and say, ‘that was easy’.
(, Fri 12 Mar 2010, 11:12, 9 replies)
Never talk back to a man holding a swab
Last year I decided (or, more accurately, was told) to get myself a full-blown sexual health check for the first time ever. Yes I know it's a bit shit waiting 30 years to ensure that your bollocks aren't a breeding ground for horrific parasites capable of causing untold agony to those they are inflicted upon - imagine finding out that you've been housing Piers Morgan in your jangly danglers - but I've hardly been distributing the Foxtrot mojo far and wide during my time on this earth. And I've heard what goes on in those sex check-ups, and frankly I was scared.

I swear the waiting room at the hospital is designed to be like a mental chamber of horrors for anyone waiting to discover if they'll ever go bareback again. Everywhere you look there's an "educational" pamphlet about one of the many horrific diseases you've probably got, you disgusting boy. The only other reading material available was Men's Health, as if I didn't feel insecure enough already.

Eventually the Doctor beckons me through and we start compiling a sexual history for me. Because what I'm about to have done isn't humiliating enough. I'm doing OK - this appears to be the only situation where it's alright to tell another bloke that not many women have seen fit to fuck you - when he drops an unexpected bombshell, although by definition I think most bombshells are unexpected, otherwise they're just... bombs? Shells? Answers on a postcard. Or in the replies. That makes more sense.

"Have you ever had a sexual experience with a man?"

Ah. Well, yes. When I was 22 I may have indulged eversoslightly in what could politely be termed a great big drug-fuelled seven-person orgy. And this being part of my experimental phase, there was a bit of man-on-man action going on. I mention this and the medical professional looks at me like I've just ritually slaughtered his firstborn. This upsets me.

My doctor was late 50's/early 60's and of Indian origin, judging by his accent. He may have personal, moral or religious objections to homosexuality. Frankly, I don't give a shit, homophobia is completely unacceptable in my opinion and he's a bloody doctor - he's not supposed to judge me unless I've strolled into A&E with cocaine falling out of my nostrils, clutching a plastic bag full of severed heads and complaining of a nosebleed, accelerated heartbeat and hallucinations.

He asks if I'm bisexual, visibly disgusted by the concept. Bridling, I reply that I don't count myself as such because I haven't had any sexual contact with a man in several years, and I would have thought that was obvious from the sexual history we've just been compiling.

I am slightly worried by the glint in his eye as he beckons me into the next room and invites me to sit down.

First of all, he explains, he needs to swab my throat. This wouldn't be necessary if I wasn't a filthy bumboy, he fails to add but is obviously thinking. Next comes the part I was dreading until my righteous indignation diverted my mind from the horrific prospect of having a swab rammed down my jap's eye - namely, the horrific prospect of having a swab rammed down my jap's eye.

At this point, I am regretting giving the doctor any lip. As it were.

Thankfully, homophobic or otherwise he is professional enough not to force my cock to deep throat a swab. It was a bit rubbish, as I'm sure many of you know, but at least it was over quickly. Job done. Let's go home and drink beer and eat meat and watch Top Gear until I feel masculated again.

"If you could roll over onto your side Mr Foxtrot, I just need to get an anal swab"

I ask you, is there a worse sentence in the English language? That even beats out "Oasis have reformed" for sheer, unbridled horror. I begin to protest that I've never had anal sex (I actually haven't, well, not as a receiver anyway) but from his point of view I'm already a disgusting pervert, "compulsive liar" isn't a huge assumptive leap and he's just doing his job... Resigned to my fate I await the first ever invasion of my trademan's entrance by another man. Trying to alleviate my tension far enough to get the damn thing into my understandably puckered chutney chute, he jokes that I ought to enjoy this.

Hubris aside, with hindsight my response was a phenomenally dumb thing to say to prejudiced doctor with a swab in his hand.

"You'll need three fingers for me to enjoy it, darling"

Length? Really?
(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 14:24, 8 replies)
A slightly weird story
as mentioned in other posts, I had a two month stay in the ICU on a ventilator, no movement, no speech. My way of communicating was blinking. This did not stop nurses telling me things. I've always been a person who people tell things to. I attract the mad people on buses and trains, the unhappy of those around me. They gravitate to me and tell me their stories.

But the oddest occasion, was this. I was lying there awake and conscious, when a Jamaican nurse came into my room. Since I was attended 24 hours, I met a lot of nurses on rotation, and I didn't expect her to be any different. She pottered around tidying up, then she came and sat by my bed. She told me how sad she was to be in England. How the other nurses were cliquey, and because she was new she had no friends and no family. She was in my room on the night before Christmas Eve crying, telling her story to someone who could not help, could not even comfort her. So I blinked her a message which was basically 'if I could hug you, I would.' And she leaned over and hugged me. I have never so desperately in all my life wanted to have movement back as badly as at that moment. This poor woman was having to get comfort from what was essentially a sack of meat.

The story has a relatively happy ending. I told my parents through blinks that she was sad, and they bought her some wine and chocolates, and made her stay for the Christmas time round my bed.

I hate the poor care I received from the NHS. But I can see the human side behind it. The overworked doctors, the underpaid nurses often foreign away from any support systems of their own, the demoralised hospital managers. It does *not* excuse it, but it does explain it.
(, Tue 16 Mar 2010, 21:29, 2 replies)
Long long ago in a city far far away...
I was sitting in a hospital room with Nurse Ratched as she was in labor with our daughter. So far all was going smoothly- I had gotten us there with a minimum of fuss, they checked on the baby and all was fine, and we were waiting for her to be dilated enough for fun things to start happening- and there was a knock at the door.

In walked the doctor. He was short, very tubby to the point of looking like a bowling pin, with a white monk's fringe around a shiny bald head. He smiled at us and in a Midwestern drawl said, "Hewwo."

It turned out that he was a doctor that Nurse Ratched sometimes worked with, so he agreed that it would be more appropriate to have someone else attend her and exited the room. I kept a straight face until the door closed, then the first giggle hit.

"What?" my wife demanded.

"Sshhh. Be vewy vewy quiet. She's having a baby! Huhuhhuuhuh."

The Evil Glare of Death began emanating from the bed.

I pointed at her belly. "Wook! Contwactions! Huhuhuhuhuh."

"Goddammit, Paul-"

I bent and addressed her crotch. "Oooohh, you wascally baby! Come out of thewe!"

If she could have gotten out of that bed she would have killed me. I stood there pissing myself laughing as the torrent of obscenities and abuse poured out of the bed, tears of mirth streaming down my face as the next doctor arrived.

She never forgave me for that...
(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 13:57, 6 replies)
Weekends! Wives! Ducks! Casualty!
This weekend was spent with my family. Those of you that know me are aware that I have an ex-wife (who is now my girlfriend) and a young son.

As is usual, I had planned a virtual extravaganza of fun - Friday we could have a takeaway, Saturday we'd feed the ducks and have a swim, Sunday we'd take his mum (and him) to the local wildlife park before having a another swim and a nice meal.

Friday went well.

Saturday was nice, but we had our swim earlier than expected and went out to feed the ducks a second time.

There's a duckpond near the house, and about a hundred ducks that wander around the area more or less non-stop. They're tame, and friendly (in fact one appeared in the back garden with 17 newly hatched ducklings).

This went well, but as we were putting the empty bag of breadcrumbs into the bin everything went black and swimmy.

I'm told that I staggered wildly, flailing my limbs about the place before landing, with a thump, on my arse. It took me a few moments to get entirely to grips with what had happened as I felt a huge pain in the side of my head, and felt sick.

This feeling didn't abate, so, having read a lot of these posts I went to the hospital with the missus to get checked out. A&E was mayhem, my son was excited and I felt rough.

The nurse came to see me and asked what had happened. I referred her to the missus who explained, with no sympathy and a lot of giggling, that I had been hit in the side of the head by a flying duck. I had, apparently, in an attempt to stop my boy going near the dog poo bin, stepped into the flight path of the world's hardest mallard.

Bloody hell. Incidentally, when I asked my missus why she hadn't warned me she responded with "I couldn't think what to say!' Erm, "Duck!", perhaps would have done.
(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 9:56, 6 replies)
Right - my turn . . .
I’ve read 8 or so pages of comments from those who love/loathe the public health system, and now it’s my turn to tell you all what gives me the shits . . . and some people will get a serve here – apologies if I offend.

I have been a doctor for 10 years, all of which have been in the public system. I chose a specialty that has taken a great deal of my life to complete, and thank God, I’m almost there.

Not all doctors are great people; not all nurses care about their patients; not all of us are shiny happy individuals after 10 hours’ sleep in 3 days, or no chance to stop for a meal in almost 16 hours (and no, that’s not bullshit – that’s my last week of work). You will have the dedicated, the incompetent, the apathetic – and they all work in the same place.

What I do daily is in a sense self-inflicted (I chose to follow this career path), but some things are not very helpful:

1. Rudeness – the few incidents I can remember being rude to a patient have all been when they are being unreasonable, dangerous, or when someone else tries to die and I have to leave the conversation about your dogs to fix it . . . now. I really don’t deal well with the following subgroups:
a) I’ve had problems with hospitals before and if you don’t treat me properly, I’m going to sue your ass (actual conversation). Lovely start to the consult – may result in you being seen last by my boss because we will document everything we say to you – twice, and refer you endlessly for further advice.
b) The “I know exactly what treatment I need and you will give it to me.” Feel free to show me case reports, but be ready for me to debunk them if I can show you a randomized study to contradict it; I don’t endorse homeopathy, chiropractic or naturopathy but feel free to discuss with me a trial of it if its what you want – I will disagree with you, but you’re mostly grown-ups, so you can decide some of your treatment for yourselves. Also, would you tell your hairdresser how to hold her scissors or a builder how to lay bricks? Probably not. The training for most of these jobs is long and borders on soul-destroying, and we’re not let loose on any of you unless we are safe.
c) Drunk and disorderly. Someone posted earlier about a metacarpal fracture not being treated because the doctor thought he was an idiot: let me give you some perspective: I call this particular fracture (base of 5th metacarpal) an “idiot fracture” because it usually comes from punching something hard, like a wall. To fix it requires surgery, and not fixing it removes the risks of open wounds and anaesthetics. The other upside to not fixing it means if the idiot does it again, I don’t have to fish out broken metal, as well as fix the fracture again. Drunk drivers and those who don’t know what a seatbelt is really, really, REALLY give me the shits. You damage yourselves and others, all without good reason. Many nights and Emergency lists are spent on you, because you think you’re invincible. Many families have received the “I’m sorry he passed away on the table” talk because that plastic strap you idiots have next to your seat wasn’t fastened firmly around you.
d) The “you sit around and do nothing” patients. I have been told (?7 years ago) by a rather angry young man that doctors sit around and drink coffee all day. The other variation on this is the “you guys are loaded” tune (usually trundled out by some of my family) and "your job is easy". I leave the house at about 5:30 am and return about 7:00 pm, provided I’m not on-call (on-call means no sleep at all for the night, and a theatre list the next morning). I have a mobile permanently turned on to receive calls from my bosses, juniors, and patients. Time not spent at work or sleeping is usually dedicated to studying. My last timesheet says (*quick glance*) I was rostered for work for 130 hours last fortnight (not including some extra hours where we come in early or leave late, but don’t claim it, because admin. didn’t think it was necessary). My job is not "easy".
I’m not bitter about my workload, but I am pissed when someone thinks it all a walk in the park. Oh – and a senior surgical registrar makes less an hour than the theatre technicians I work with.
e) “I won’t do what you tell me” – stop smoking because I have an open fracture and it will heal twice as fast without the fags? No – won’t stop smoking. Fast for an operation in six hours – nope, don’t feel like it . . . patient seen eating crisps 1 hour before start time. Please take this antibiotic for your infection – I didn’t finish my course – I forgot/got better/didn’t think it mattered. Keep this plaster on for six weeks then I’ll take it off when you’re back – patient hacks it off with an angle grinder at week 2. Arrghhhhh!!!!!! Some of the treatments we suggest for you are useful; some of the things we say will really happen if you don’t listen. Please, please follow advice, or tell me early if you plan to ignore it (there may be an alternative, or I might just read you the riot act and insist you do as I say).

2. Bastardisation from within the medical fraternity (notice the reference to the brotherhood of medicine, not sorority – God forbid women could form a group in surgery). We are our own worst enemies – we criticize, we pressure and openly humiliate our colleagues. We tell them it’s “character building” and to “toughen up.” We assess them for training by forcing them to do that “little extra time” (unpaid) ie: stand out from the crowd by staying behind hours to complete work someone else could/should do. Those that suck it up and don’t complain get the references. We have the gall to tell our colleagues that workplace laws state they have to go home after 86 hours in a fortnight, but we expect the dedicated ones will sign off their timesheets for the time, but stay at work – that’s dedication you see. If someone fucks up, we don’t always stick up for them – better to let them burn and save our own behinds (I’m glad to say this no longer happens much, but did when I started training).

I have worked in approximately 18 or so hospitals (at last count) in this time. We get rotated every 3-6 months (and it’s great fun to pack up your life in the boot of the car to move to the next place, usually in the weekend changeover between jobs). None as a whole has been particularly shonky, dangerous or guilty of providing bad service – but there are places where the attitudes stink, and I won’t work there again. I have seen bad doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, admin. staff. I have also seen some great people doing wonderful work, quite often without being obliged to do so, and with little thanks.

Would I do this again, if I knew what I was signing up for 10 years ago? Probably. Would I suggest my children do this for a living? Maybe – depends on whether they have thick enough skin, and an endless capacity for punishment.

I always told myself I should choose a specialty where I wake up in the morning, and 99% of the time I’m glad to go to work. I’m quite lucky I still have that feeling (most) mornings.
(, Sat 13 Mar 2010, 10:52, 17 replies)
My great grandfather suffered massive memory loss in his last years
To the point that he knew who no one was - even some of his regular nurses.

My great-grandmother went to visit him every day, however, and on the day before he died, after having chatted for a couple of hours, he turned to her and said, with all sincerity:

"You're a lovely lady. Would you like to marry me?"
(, Thu 11 Mar 2010, 12:02, 5 replies)
Last year I had to go to hospital to have a mole removed from the end of my penis
Last time I fuck one of them.
(, Sat 13 Mar 2010, 0:44, Reply)
Nick Riviera... Calling Dr Nick Riviera...
Way back in time, 15 years ago, I had gone back to Uni in Leeds early as I was doing a year out in industry as part of my sandwich degree. It was a warm summer as I remember it, and I seemed to be drinking a lot of water, like a litre or two every half hour, putting it down to the heat. Then I felt weak as a kitten and was shitting bullets so thought I'd better go and see my GP. I told them my symptoms, they took some blood and asked me to come back in the next day.

I went into the GP's office and had the following exchange, all the time him writing some notes into my folder and not even glancing up at me..

"Well Mr DeadEye, your tests are back, and it looks like you have diabetes"

"Oh. (pause) Er, what does that mean? Does that mean I will have to inject myself?"

(Now at this point I should point out I was pretty ignorant about diabetes at the time apart from the fact I had had a friend who had it. Not only was she a massive pain in the arse about it, passing out all the time and being generally sweaty, ruining a holiday in Ibiza.. I digress... But I knew it involved her acting like a human pin cushion. At the time I was so scared of needles that I wouldn't even have an anaesthetic at the dentists, I would rather put up with the pain than the needle)

"Yes, I'm afraid so" replies the Doc.

"Er, well I don't think I'm going to be able to do that.."

Of course I'm naively expecting him to say something along the lines of "Well it's a good thing we've got this miracle cure pill", but alas no.

Without missing a beat or looking up from his notes he replied

"Well, looks like you're going to die then doesn't it?"

Length? About 5mm four times a day, but it's only a small prick.
(, Tue 16 Mar 2010, 14:59, 12 replies)
Who's the friendliest person in the hospital?
The Ultra Sound guy
(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 17:25, 6 replies)
In the land of the deaf, the no-necked man is king.
I was deaf, and now I can hear. That's an NHS story which never fails to excite me. But I can understand it might be a bit dull for everyone else, so let me jazz it up with impropriety and gore.
I was laid up in a specialist ENT hospital after having had one of my rubbish ears fixed. Following surgery, my ear had been packed with surgical cloth stuff, and I had bandages wrapped jauntily around my head, leaving me looking like a gay Mr Bump and hearing like Mr Eh What's That Can You Speak Up I've Got Soil In My Ears. Anyway. It was visiting time. I had recently split up with a ladyfriend, and had more recently (and secretly) hooked up with a mutual acquaintance of ours, who came along to cheer me up and bring me sweets. Between the sweets, company and temazepam, I was feeling pretty nice. Right up until a nurse came over to tell me my now-ex had turned up for a surprise visit. Everything got very 'Terry And June', very quickly.
There was only one exit to the ward. My current visitor quickly ran into the breakfast room, begging the other patients to hide her. I didn't see her again after that. I couldn't for the life of me work out what they'd done with her. She's quite small, so I thought they must have stashed her in a cupboard or something. For the rest of visiting time, I was a bit worried someone might say something to my ex - and maybe they did. It's hard to tell. See, most of my wardmates were in for tracheotomy-related ops – either having their original voiceboxes taken out or their new robot ones put in – and were wandering around with their gaping neckginas on display (GIS: 'X Files The Host' for examples). Nice guys, but couldn't understand a bloody word they were saying (literally bloody btw, those things bleed like PETA members' hearts on Whacking Day). There was much gurgly laughter for the rest of the evening, but it was impenetrable to my ears and I eventually fell asleep puzzled.
The next morning, I went for some breakfast. I was still weirdly expecting my friend to jump out from under the sink or be dead in he fridge, as I just couldn't fathom how she could have escaped.
'Awgurgle urugle arghargle' said the guy sitting opposite me at the table.
'Pardon?' said I.
'Ahahrargle hurghurgle ararhal' he said. Imagine how Cuddles the monkey would sound if Keith Harris stuffed his neck with a sock soaked in swarfega.
'Eh?' I said.
Blood spattered his Rice Krispies as he raised his voice.
'Pardon what eh?'
'He says,' bellowed Doctor Evazan down my 'good' ear '"What are you looking for – have you got another bird stashed away somewhere?'"
This was followed by a chorus of Smash robots falling down a staircase made of Optimus Prime voice changers (ie laughter). A crimson haze descended on the formica as the assembled slaked their bloodmirth. Turns out my incomprehensible new friends had found a way out through the roof, which led to an outdoor fire escape, and freedom. After that, they decided to keep that a secret and wind me up about it, because why not? To this day it remains the most surreal, memorable and oddly heart-warming way I have been pwned in my whole life. And also the second bloodiest.
(, Wed 17 Mar 2010, 17:17, 4 replies)
I suspect there will be a lot of stories of this nature...
Some of you may remember the first part of the story, if not, here it is: www.b3ta.com/questions/soundtrack/post625458

So, there we are, with our new son. Me sitting, Mrs Mork lying, in the recovery room at the hospital. The midwife suggests that the baby might want to have some milk and, after a rather unsuccessful attempt at breast feeding, I offer him the bottle and he sucks on it like his life depends on it (which I suppose it did, really).

The midwife then noticed that our son was going “dusky” and, on the advice of the Paediatrician, he was admitted to Special Care, where it turned out that his blood was not getting enough oxygen for some reason. The Registrar said that, as he was a caesarean birth, his lungs probably had some mucus in them and this should clear up soon.
So Mrs M was transferred up to the maternity ward where we chatted and looked at the Bounty pack and waited for the in-laws to turn up.

At about 10:30 the Consultant from special care turned up to see us.

“What have you been told about what’s happening to your baby?”

We explained the whole mucus/lung thing that we had been told. The doctor then explained that they had, by chance, been visited by a specialist from the Royal Brompton Hospital (Heart & Lung Hospital in London) who had checked our son and it appeared that his heart had developed incorrectly. Instead of sending blood to the lungs to get oxygen, some of it was going back round the body, hence the low oxygen levels.

This would require an operation, assuming the deformity was above the diaphragm.

And if it’s below the diaphragm?

Well…let’s worry about that when it happens.

I can’t remember a lot about the next few hours: I remember my in-laws turning up shortly afterwards and having to compose myself to give them the news, I remember organising an emergency baptism, I remember weeping my eyes out in the hospital garden. Eventually, the ambulance arrived to take me and our son to the Brompton. (Mrs M, having had an operation was pretty much immobile so had to stay behind.)

We were rushed into the intensive care unit and I was taken aside to have everything explained to me: what was happening, what the problem was, what was going to happen etc. Then several doctors turned up to carry out scans on my son’s heart. At this point I started hearing people saying “normal”, over and over. The Consultant explained that my son’s heart problem was not what was originally thought. He still had a problem, but he wouldn’t need an operation. The particular problem he had would be expected to resolve itself quite quickly given a bit of TLC.

I remember being told “this is good news.”

So, in the end, the boy ended up spending a week in intensive care in Brompton, followed by two weeks in special care back home. The Brompton put us (me and Mrs M) up in one of the parents’ rooms in the hospital and even managed to find us an en suite.

Those three weeks have so many memories and stories which might come out in the future. I cannot thank the doctors and nurses involved enough. They didn’t just take care of our baby, but they took care of us as well. I could fill pages with all the kind and thoughtful things they did for us which were above and beyond their “day job”.

I’ll echo the comments of many other posters in praising the NHS. When you need it, when you really need it, it’s wonderful.

Length? felt like an eternity.
(, Thu 11 Mar 2010, 14:22, 1 reply)
Sometimes, it can be hard to give out quality health care.
Especially if the patient who sits in front of you does not share the same worldview. Instead, they would rather believe the homeopath, their alternative practitioner or chiropractor about why they're opening their bowels 20 times a day to blood.

It's horrifying and frustrating to explain to the same person that this is not because their bowel has a 'personality', but because it is a flare up of their inflammatory bowel disease. Frustrating even more to know that the advice that steroids and other interventions which would help the patient is now going in one ear and going out the other, and the drugs that you will prescibe her will go down the toilet, and she will take more sugar pills.

Or disappointed knowing that the patient in front of you who is having a heart attack, who is refusing the angioplasty that would stop that heart attack has a 20% chance of death before the month is out.

Or resigned to knowing that the person who refused to take more blood pressure tablets or to have further investigations, because they interfered with his 'yang' will probably have a stroke in the next 12 months.

On the other hand, sucesses include keeping a stroke patient in for speech and language therapy when the managers were browbeating the team to send him home. We sent him home when he could communicate effectively. Not before.

The woman who had some breathing difficulties and through she was going to die - solved by some nebulisers and some calm words. Sent me a very nice thank you letter copied to the Chief Exec. So far, in 5 years of practice, the only offical thank you from anyone I have ever had.

There will be shit medical professionals, and good medical professionals. But if you choose not to receive the 'full package of care' at a time when disaster can averted - be assured we will still be here, to offer you the full package, in whatever state you may be in.
(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 2:40, 3 replies)

Firstly, being a GP is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Unlike hospital medicine, where we can call in a more senior doc, order a scan or just keep you in for observations if things look a bit dodgy, they have to make The Hardest Decision about whether to manage by themselves or refer onto a specialist based on just their history taking and examination skills. So cut them some slack, please - almost all of the GPs out there do a fantastic job for their patients.

That said, I can now discuss some of the quite extreme quackery I have been fortunate enough to witness as a medical student.

* The GP who diagnosed everything as 'viral'. This included:
- Lymphoma
- Anorexia nervosa
- A stroke (posterior territory)
- Chronic urinary retention (the poor chap had a bladder swollen to nearly three litres - normal is 500ml!)

* The locum GP who spoke nearly no English. To a patient suffering from a mental health issue "You have mad health, isn't it?"

And now some general medical advice.

1. Do you have random back/limb pain? Take painkillers. And don't just take 500mg of paracetomol then worry that it's unnatural - you won't achieve effective concentrations in your blood and it won't work. Treatment dose paracetamol 1gram every 4-6 hours as required to a maximum of 4 grams in a day. If you are still in pain then you can see the doctor.

2. By the same token, don't suffer in silence. Chest pain is *always* serious, especially when it is crushing, accompanied by nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath and radiates to your jaw and left arm.

3. Also don't mess around with children's health. Bring them in if your child doesn't look right (as a parent you are a far better judge of this than a tired junior doctor who has never met your child before)

4. Stop smoking for fuck's sake.

5. While the NHS is not doing amazingly from a financial point of view, you will be surprised to know this does not inform the average doctor's management of you very much. If your doctor wouldn't give you a scan, that's because you didn't need the equivalent of 20 years of background radiation being pumped directly into your brain.
(, Sun 14 Mar 2010, 21:41, 6 replies)
Stomach Ulcers

A strange, but true, tale of stomach ulcers. I happen to be somewhat of an expert on the bastards as I suffered from one from the mid-70's to the arse-end of the 80's.

When I was first diagnosed, treatment was a bit crap. Magnesium Trisilicate if I remember correctly. White chalky liquid that tasted faintly of peppermint. I used to buy it by the litre and carry it with me everywhere. Bloody vile stuff.

In those days, stomach ulcers were thought to be caused by a variety of factors including, but not limited to:

Bad diet
Genetic predispostion.
Not enough exercise.
Too much exercise.

You get the picture. The reality was the medical profession didn't have a bastard clue what caused them. They also didn't have a clue how to fix them. By the time they decided that surgery was the best option for me (after a bad bleed. Shitting black, partially-digested blood is not the best way to greet the day as I found out one morning), the operation of choice was a partial vagotomy. That meant cutting part of the vagus nerve that was supposed to control how much acid your stomach produced. As the vagus nerve also regulates things like heartbeat it was a little chancy.

The chance of success was around 30%. On odd figure because it was exactly the same figure for any surgical procedure! In other words, any invasive surgical procedure had a 30% chance of curing stomach ulcers - but they didn't know that at the time. So they went and ahead and hacked and cut and left me with a scar from bellybutton to sternum and it achieved the square-root of fuck all. Still had the ulcer, still had the pain and now had a massive scar for my troubles.

Around this time the first effective antacid drug was developed, Tagamet, and I was put on this for the forseeable. That was later changed to a more effective one, Zantac, and I could live a pretty much normal life as long as took the drugs.

Then I read something on the new-fangled internet in 1989. A couple of Austrlian doctors had proven that stomach ulcers were caused by a bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, and the bacteria could be wiped out by a course of 2 types antibiotics along with Zantac (a proton-pump inhibitor). This killed the bacteria and hence cured the ulcer.

I persuaded my GP to give this a go (backed up with printouts of the relevant articles ) and became one of the first people in the UK to be cured by this revolutionary treatment.

On looking back at this it seems that the medical profession were behaving exactly like witch doctors when performing surgery for stomach ulcers. They knew that it cured a proportion of the patients, they just couldn't predict which ones it would cure, which ones it would harm and who would be left unchanged. What they didn't realise was the ones who got cured weren't cured by the surgery - they were cured by the antibiotics that every patient gets when they go under the knife. Later studies also showed that people who developed post-op infections were more likely to be cured - because they got more and different types of antibiotics. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

Last note. The two doctors who developed this treatment and were almost laughed out of the profession, Dr Barry J. Marshall and Dr J. Robin Warren, were awarded the Noble Prize for medicine in 2005. It's worth reading their story.

(, Sun 14 Mar 2010, 11:56, 13 replies)
I once went for an operation on my ear.
I went under the anasthetic with my pants on.

When I came round, someone had taken them off.

I never got them back.
(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 21:29, 3 replies)
It's probably nothing,
but I'd like to send you for a catscan.

(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 15:50, 2 replies)
Whiskas reminds me that at 13 weeks, I too suffered an 'incident'
I was booked in for a D&C but was still having ongoing pregnancy signs, so I refused to go for it until I'd had a scan.

My doctor placated me by sending me for one, with a letter which I of course opened and read.

It said 'Thank you for seeing this girl. She has suffered a (medical term here) but says she still 'feels pregnant'...'

The gist was, let her see her dead baby and she'll soon get over it.

Long story short, my little 'incident' will be collecting his PhD this summer!
(, Fri 12 Mar 2010, 22:33, 5 replies)
A few years back…
I started waking up in the middle of the night with earache. I thought nothing of it and just bought some eardrops from Boots, guessing it was probably just earwax. After a week or so the pain was still there, only now accompanied by a ringing sound. I duly booked an appointment with my GP for the next morning and went to bed as normal.

I woke up at my normal time, wondering why my alarm hadn't gone off. I then wondered why I couldn't hear any traffic on the main road outside my house. Then, more than a little panicked I realised I could barely hear anything at all. After a frantic phonecall to my dad (with me shouting to hear my own voice and hearing nothing from him in return) I got picked up and taken to A&E.

After waiting for what felt like hours, wondering how easy sign-language was to learn and if I'd eventually start sounding like a deaf guy, I got the see a nurse. After getting me a drink, and calming me down she asked me the describe the symptoms. I told her "They're all yellow, Homer's fat and Marge has got blue hair."
(, Fri 12 Mar 2010, 10:56, 1 reply)
I love the smell of sebum in the morning
About 10 years ago I had a really sore spot on my back, just on my belt line. It got to be a red angry lump, as if I had a golf ball implanted under the muscle. It was just in the part of my back where I couldn't get a good look at it/reach it to have a squeeze, so I went to the docs.

He took a look and said it was an infected sebaceous cyst - a fucking bit zit - and he'd have to lance it.

Now, we all like to squeeze zits when we're on our own, don't we? He got a small scalpel to open a hole and then spend a good 15 minutes squeezing evil-smelling nameless blood-smeared yellowish goo out of it. In between my yelps of pain, I could almost hear him grinning. I looked round and yes, he was grinning like a kid who'd got both a blonde, a brunette and a bearded Action Man from different indulgent relatives all at the same birthday.

After my back had coughed out the last lumps of matter, he taped me back up and actually shook me hand and thanked me and said "That was fun - I needed that after the day I've had".

I should have been weirded out but somehow it felt like I'd done him a good turn.
(, Thu 11 Mar 2010, 17:28, 3 replies)
Ah! The NHS...
Few years back, I ended up in the clap clinic at St Thomas' hospital. I hadn't actually been sticking Mr Wiggly in anyone at that time, I just happened to have a clueless GP.

Rewind three/four weeks (wavy lines optional here) and I'd woken up with a bit of an itch. When I say 'bit', I mean an infuriating one. It would be terrible in the mornings, when I was in the shower and it drove me insane to the point of scratching until my arms and legs bled. Naturally, I did what any sensible rational human being would do and looked up itching symptoms on t'internet.

10 minutes later and I have diagnosed myself with 5 potentially fatal diseases revolving around liver and kidney failure - I am, in short, convinced that I'm on 7.15 to the pearly gates. So, I run down to my GP insisting that even if the 7.15 is run by Stagecoach and unlikely to be leaving any time soon I want to be seen immediately. Eventually, he agrees and after a bit of poking and prodding admits he doesn't have a clue, takes a half dozen phials of blood to have it checked out and tells me to come back in a week.

One week passes. All is not well. Not only is the scratching driving me insane but I now have spots on my giblets. I have never had spotted dick before and trust me I wouldn't recommend it. The internet is now saying that I have Lupus and that my only chance is if Dr Gregory House MD ceases to be a fictional character. Bollocks. My doctor takes one glance at my wang and immediately diagnoses syphilis. I think he just wanted me out of there as quickly as my spotty bollocks would carry me. And so off he sent me to the Lydia clinic at St Thomas' hospital.

They're very caring at the Lydia. Hell, to put you at your ease they have (had?) cock shaped name tags in the men's clinic. How amusing! Writing "Hi, my name is Carl" in the nutsack of a downward pointing cock and balls. So amusing that I'll forget that I feel totally humiliated to be here. Oh. Anyhoo, sitting and waiting in the hall of shame for my name to be called out with all the other sheepish nice white middle class boys who've been less than careful where they stick their favourite bit of their anatomy and out she walks. This vision of breathtaking Mediterranean loveliness. She's got long black hair, dark eyes, high cheekbones and a bottom to die for. She picks up a file and every man in that room sat up, turned towards her as one and for 1 second begged that it was their file.

And then we all realised what she was there to do.

"Mr Sugar-tits? Would you like to come with me please?"

I'm sitting there thinking, NO, NO, NO, NO, I would not like to come with you and show you my spotty cock. I get up and feel like I'm walking the Green Mile. I notice the pity etched into the other waiting room victims, as in my mind Tom Hanks calls "Dead Man Walking".

So, Dr Lovely takes me down the corridor to her little room at the end and I am panicking. How the hell do I stop this angelic piece of perfection from seeing my diseased bits? I flirt. As some sort of nervous reaction I start cracking jokes and flirting. And I'm great. She's laughing and we're getting on and then I run out of steam. Shit.

"Okay, well I suppose you'd better drop your trousers then."
"And my pants?"
"What do you think?"

The burning noise in my ears and the rising flush on my cheeks was now only punctuated by the 'schlapp' as she snapped on the surgical glove with which she was going to manhandle me.

And then she picked it up. My mind starts working overtime as to how the hell I can prevent the little fella from waking up. ABCDs, 43 times table, counting sheep counting sheep, Margaret Thatcher and Douglas Hurd getting it on. And I'm doing okay, Yes, I am. Then she starts to roll it in her fingers to get a better look. And then the little shit starts to wake up. I let out an involuntary whine and look down at her - and with Mr Floppy rapidly engorging himself into Mr Sausage in her hand without pausing for a breath she looks up at me with a smile and says "Oh! I'm so sorry."

It was without doubt one of the sexiest looks I've ever been witness to. I grab my pants and trousers up and sit down as quickly as I can leaning forward to try and hide the fact that Mr Sausage is now shouting angrily in my pants - confused at the fact that he's being locked up at his crowning moment of glory. I meanwhile am going from puce to beetroot as Dr Lovely asks to see my hand.

"Aha! I thought so - your GP really should have seen this straight away - you've got scabies. Don't worry you probably picked it up off a bus seat. I'll give you a prescription for some lotion."

And with that, she was gone. Although she did send me to get checked out by a very large disapproving Jamaican gentleman wielding one of those nasty sticks that they stick down your chap. All I can say was that he was quite vehement in his disapproval of the young men that came before him. Jamaicans have that sort of unique way of letting you know what a bad individual you are. Sucking through the teeth, tutting and then ramming a scraping stick into your Jap's eye. Oh Dr Lovely, I'd let 500 angry Jamaicans thrust scraping sticks into me for another 5 minutes with you....
(, Wed 17 Mar 2010, 20:02, 1 reply)
bleeding bum
A few months ago I went out on the raz on a Friday night with some mates to Whitley Bay (hurah!). Awesome night, stumbled home with a bolognaise pizza and all was well. The Mrs woke me up around 3 or 4 in the morning as she'd found me wasted and asleep on the loo.

Falling asleep on the loo is not something that you should do. Really. In the morning I wake with a throat like sandpaper and stumble off for a post night-out poop. When wiping I can feel that there's a clingon there though, so wipe again to get rid of it. Oops, that's no clingon. Once before I had the same thing, it's a hemorrhoid. Not one of the dangly ones, nope. this one is on the ourside of my bum and is about the size of my thumb.

Saturday is taken up with Diet Coke, Marathon bars (who calls them Snickers?) and playing with the kids (not a euphemism). Life carries on basically....

Sunday arrives and me and a mate (one of the ones who was also on the piss with me) are off to do the P Company challenge in the Paras 10 race. Basically this is a 10 mile race run by the Parachute regiment and is one fo their tests. The run is to be done in boots and carrying a 35lb bergan. The race goes well, my mate finishes in 1h40 (used to be a PTI - typical), I manage 1h50 (the cut off time for Paras to complete it in when training - yay!). Bum feel fine, have a burger while watchign the red devils and drive home. Cool.

Monday. Wake up, off to the loo - I'm regular like that you see. Hmmm, there's blood on the loo paper. Ok, no biggie, wipe and it'll be fine. In work later in the day and my bum is still bleeding. Uh-oh. I tell my manager that I need to leave and go seek assistance (pun intended). Taxi to the hospital (RVI in Newcastle) and I walk in looking for A&E. They don't have one. Bugger. Another taxi to the General hospital and I wait for a while. When I'm finally seen, a Thai woman Doctor comes into the room and asks me to assume the position. She then lubs up and slips the fingers inside. To repeat, a Thai bird has her fingers in my arse and I didn't have to pay her.

I wait in the observation wing and use my phones sparingly as the aged matronlly nurse doesn't seem to like me replying to work emails while my bum is bleeding. Later I'm whisked away in an ambulance of sorts back to the RVI from where I came earlier to see a surgeon. As it happens the surgeon on call was the proctologist and he wants to have a good play in there too. Basically I have an open thrombosed hemorrhoid, basically this big thumb sized bum grape burst from the race and is bleeding, and won't stop bleeding unless they do "stuff" to it. Okey dokey I tell him, so long as I'm ok to run the Great North Run at the weekend I tell him. Erm no, I'll need 2 weeks off work and no running. Oh. I am excused and need to return the next day at 7am, so off I pop home for din dins.

The next day arrives and I sit on a bed watchign TV and listening to my ipod for hours. In the afternoon I am finally asked to don my surgical stockings, remove my undercrackers and prepare for arse surgery. It's all very calm, going to surgery, speaking to the anesthetist etc, but I know that as soon as I'm asleep they'll be laughing at my small willy and pulling my bum apart so wide that the Tyne Tunnel will be jealous.

I wake from surgery and they gave me some morphine. This is amazing. Really really amazing. I tried to tell one of the doctors a joke which comes out as a mish mash of words which makes no sense at all. I think I am hilarious. Morphine is amazing, I can see why people get addicted.

Back on the ward I am left ot my own devices, nurses come and go and life carries on. I'm in overnight and it's all fine really. They feed me, look after me, give me drugs. The NHS is pretty good in my opinion.

Next day, I wake, given breakfast, more drugs and await to see the Doc who will sign me a chitty and let me leave. I really should use the lav before I go as they need to check that they didn't re-plumb me and it's all still working, it takes forever. But hey ho - chitty signed and off I go.

They said that the pain could be unbearable, but frankly I was lucky. I wasn't in too much pain at all and could walk around, sit down, basically get on with stuff - no running just yet though!

So I had the 2 weeks off work sick, played COD4 lots, watched Jezza Kyle, masterbated myself into a frenzy every 2 hours or so - basically lived as if I was a student. Then the wife and kids woudl come home and I'd be family man again.

The NHS is amazing. They saw me on the day I had a problem, I then saaw a surgeon the next day who knew what they were talking about, gave me drugs and stuff and told me to come back the next day for surgery. They did the surgery, fixed the problem, looked after me, fed me and gave me more drugs. Excellent service. Yes they are stretched and need more money. Nurses do an amazing job and I think they are all wonderful.

Of course, reading between the lines, I also got a Thai birds fingers in my arse and had to wear stockings. I would pay for this stuff normally....
(, Wed 17 Mar 2010, 9:13, 1 reply)
I don't have too many - well, any - medical stories of my own, but I do have a number of medical friends, none of whom is a b3tan, so I'll steal their stories.

When V was a medical student, she was working in A&E one night doing the basic stuff that students can do: clerking in, recording medical histories, and so on. A man entered and was hurried into a cubicle. V was asked to take his details.

There's no nice way of putting what he told her.

Clearly somewhat adventurous, he had decided to get his jollies by feeding a copper wire into his penis. Discovering that this was not stimulating (and I think that most of us could have told him that without having to do the experiment) he decided to see if his enjoyment could be elevated by warming the wire. So he took his lighter, and held the still-exposed end of the wire in its flame.

A lighter flame is hotter than he expected; copper wire is more conductive than he expected; his urethra was more severely burned than he expected.
(, Tue 16 Mar 2010, 10:40, 7 replies)

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