I have blogged about the chaos in the UK’s National Health Service before. The larger a bureaucracy, the larger the potential chaos.
I was in hospital for a week in May last year – with abnormally high calcium levels and dangerously low kidney function. This was reversed by a week’s worth of intravenous bisphosphonates – a drip to you and me.
But I have not had a full night’s sleep since June last year (ie exactly 12 months ago). No-one knows why I had the calcium/kidney problems and no-one knows why now, when I eventually go to sleep at night, I wake up at least once every hour every night with my mouth as dry as the Sahara Desert, forcing me to drink water.
As no-one has been able to diagnose the cause, there is no treatment.
Currently, I have appointments with a Calcium Man in July, a Respiratory Man in August and a Kidney man in October.
Yesterday morning, I got a 6-page print-out of my latest blood tests. I also got a call from another man at my local hospital to arrange a ‘Water Deprivation’ test two days before I see the Calcium Man.
The Water Man was arranged by the Calcium Man.
The Calcium Man told me that it would be an early-morning urine test and I would not be able to drink liquids for several hours before the test.
Yesterday, the Water Man (who was a tad dithery) told me I would have to do “a 12-hour fast” before the test so I would not be able to eat or drink anything after 6.30pm the previous night. He had not told me what time the test would be.
“Oh,” I said, slightly surprised, “is my appointment at 6.30 in the morning?”
“9.30 in the morning,” he replied.
A slight pause.
“Oh,” I said, with a sinking heart. “So really a 15-hour fast.”
A slight pause at the other end of the line and then some linguistic confusion along the lines of “Umm… Err” followed by some audible recalculation.
“7.00pm,” the Water Man said, having recalculated the 12 hour gap before 9.30am. “So you can’t eat or drink anything after 7.00pm the previous night.”
I know when there is no point asking any more questions.
We left it at that.
But this does not increase my confidence in the efficiency of the UK’s National Health Service. I guess each generation thinks its doctors are experts and know what they are doing. Frankly, I do wonder if giving up on the application of leeches to the body was a good idea.