This saying came to mind after doing a good deed on Friday, so before writing about this deed I thought I would check it out. Professor Google told me that it was either a quote from Oscar Wilde or from Clare Boothe Luce (or maybe both). Never mind, but I don’t really believe it anyway, although . . .
On Friday Liz had to go into Stoke Mandeville for a blood test so I dropped her at the outpatients entrance and then went and parked the car. Now that they have increased the parking charges by 40% it made sense to park in the supermarket car park which is in the hospital grounds and £1.50 cheaper. (Actually £3.50 cheaper if you do a bit of shopping in the supermarket).
I then went to find Liz and discovered that on the site map “Blood Tests” had been taped over, but fortunately a passing member of staff told me where they had hidden it. When I arrived I found Liz almost at the head of the queue and an older couple being told that they needed to be in Haematology not Phlebotomy and the nurse was about to head out of the room to show them where to go. So I decided to be helpful and direct them to Haematology and let the nurse get on with taking blood – thinking that this would mean that Liz & I could get out of there quicker.
We stopped a few yards away at the doorway where I could point out where Haematology (also known as The Wooden Spoon Unit or CCHU) was. It meant going across the car park but the wife told me that her husband couldn’t walk that far so we sat him down and a wheelchair was summoned. It appeared that he was on warfarin but had been in hospital for ten days and whilst in hospital the warfarin had been stopped. Now that he was home he needed to check his INR Levels (no, I have no idea what those are either) so as to know how much warfarin to take. Quick check with Professor Google and I find that INR stands for international normalized ratio and is a measure of the level of a protein that helps blood clot and needs to be monitored for people taking warfarin.
A wheelchair duly arrived and I took them across to CCHU. Apparently although the INR can be a simple finger prick test with almost immediate results, the Phlebotomy room did not have the equipment to do it, hence the trip to CCHU. When we got there we discovered that all the nurses were out on rounds and could only do the test when they got back that afternoon. Having been passed from pillar to post during the morning the couple weren’t in a position to hang around. However it was agreed that as soon as the Sister got in she would telephone and discuss what was needed – almost certainly maintaining warfarin at the levels he had been taking and getting an INR test on Monday.
So I wheeled them back to their car and returned the wheelchair to where Liz was waiting. Instead of saving us time it meant that what might have only taken 20 minutes took closer to 70 minutes. However I think I made a frustrating and worrying situation less traumatic for the older couple even though there was much muttering coming from the direction of the wheelchair. When they came in they had gone to the ward that he had been on and (because he had been discharged) were sent down to Phlebotomy when they should have been sent to Haematology straight away.
All the staff we spoke to were courteous and as helpful as they could be, it was just that what was needed wasn’t available! Had they known that the INR test could only have been undertaken in CCHU in the afternoon they would have waited and come in during the afternoon. As always it is easy to be wise after the event.