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Shame that kindness isn't measured

By Spalding Today Columnist

John Ward (3560585)
John Ward (3560585)

I recently visited the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston - the Lincolnshire one and not to be confused with the Massachusetts one, which is in the American colonies and does not feature in our bus services or timetables - or to be more precise for my more discerning reader, the A & E dept. to be more accurate.

My reason for so doing - believe me, I could find other things to be doing on a sweltering hot Friday - was I had suffered a minor calamity (I like to think that calamity sounds better than not looking where one was going and this was the consequences basically) as my own medical practice suggested I go to the Pilgrim Hospital A & E department as they were better equipped to cope with said calamity/predicament as they had ‘state of the art’ equipment to get me sorted out, so off to Boston then (as in the one that is not in the colonies).

Bearing in mind the infamous car park being stressful for even getting a space, you have done really well if you have and worthy of a ‘Blue Peter’ badge.

Although paying for said parking when you resurface from the hospital is another eye- watering matter, so travelling there by bus from the town centre was a wise move.

Having seen odd episodes of BBC’s ‘Casualty’ on the telly years ago, I knew it would be nothing like it once through the doors and I was right, although the walls in the waiting area were about the same colour shade I would think at a wild guess.

I booked in with my name, date of birth and the first line of my address, and oddly the computer seemed to be in agreement with me on that score.

I explained my reason for being there, which was keyed into the same computer, so you felt things were organised or whatever passes for organised in this day and age.

I sat down afterwards as requested and waited to be called/processed/looked at.

To be honest, this was a pretty swift turnaround, as if memory serves me correctly, as in ‘Casualty’ such a process would start and end, say, all wrapped around a plane falling out the sky with frostbite or an ocean-going liner ramming a bingo hall with a full battalion of patrons (Beryl had just shouted ‘house!’ as well) and the aftermath therein but no, after a few minutes, I was called through and once again name, date of birth (if any or one mutually agreed upon with the computer does help*).

*The date of birth was quite an eye-opener in a situation once; I had taken someone to our then local A & E as a lady in front of us in the reception was also asked her name, date of birth etc. but on saying in hushed tones her date of birth, her companion/whomever looked on with a frozen face, then he said: ‘Hang on! - you told me you were only 37 - not 43!’

Oh dear, we thought to ourselves, as possibly she should add amnesia to her list of problems she was going in with, along with her all too apparent broken arm.

Back to Pilgrims process.

As I sat there, the person next to me told me he was there with his wife who had a problem with her back, so what was my reason for being there and I explained I had a suspected case of ‘Mother-in-law’s Smile’ but he said this was a new one to him as he looked at my problem as he replied ‘That looks nasty..’ to which I said that is why it’s so-called plus it takes X-rays or possibly a scan to see what’s behind it all.

Next came the blood test and yes, I had some running around the arm section at least and so everybody seemed happy about that, even me.

After a short wait, assorted staff came to ask me my name - I was tempted to say ‘Lord Lucan and have you missed me?...’ but I held back but by now assorted people knew my name, date of birth (D O B) but in fairness, I had no idea as to those peoples names or their DOB, first line of their address - most perplexing to say the least.

After a while, with assorted other cases coming and going, a lot in a worse state than mine I must admit, as then a doctor had a shufty at my outbreak of ‘Mother-in-law’s Smile’ and said a scan was required (there - told you so) as within a short while, a ramble around the hospital to the scan dept.

During all this performance of going from one department to another, I will say the assorted staff on all levels were all quite jolly and going about their jobs in a professional manner as expected and I couldn’t fault any of them, more so when there has been some negative comments in the media about this establishment as a whole with so-called ‘targets’ overall not being met, but being realistic, the world is not 100 per cent perfect.

Following said scan - it was all meaningless to me as a layman as I am basically a ‘head and shoulders’ person, as in photographs, but not hair shampoo - then a discussion between doctor and a consultant who was called upon, so it was agreed I went to the next department for treatment.

More people and even more corridors to see - spoilt rotten I was.

I arrived in another department, asked to sit in the waiting room, but after a short while somebody there came through in his jim-jams, dressing gown and slippers as he got into conversation about fishing (no idea either way, as I prefer it battered or in breadcrumbs on a personal level) but something he said made me wonder how long he had been there as I tried being tactful - I do tactful as and when required.

I explained cautiously we had not won the Eurovision Song Contest again (or ever likely to in the foreseeable future), somebody had won X Factor a few months ago but nobody could remember who it was and although it was kept quite very hush-hush, somebody connected to the Royal family got hitched not so long ago.

On hearing that last bit, he asked about of the cost of souvenir tea towels, as he had brought one for one shilling and sixpence when the present Queen was married a few years ago but its now a bit faded with washing - the tea towel - but he would go to a pound for the new one if still available and I promised to get word to him to let him know the opening times of the local car boot sales if I was out before him.

As I came out I thought about past adventures/mishaps that had landed me in other A & Es in the country - one took so long I inquired about the bed & breakfast rates and could I have a bed near a window - but overall I was struck by the professionalism of the staff at Pilgrim - not patronising but honest, ta.

As I was leaving, a male nurse/orderly(?) whom I briefly met ‘in the chain’ was going off duty called me by my name and asked had ‘everything been sorted?’ and I thought that has never happened before - but perhaps wouldn’t figure in any ‘target’ reports either.


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