Two doctors in two days
Just over a week after my inner ear went berserk, I see two doctors in two days and the experiences could not have been more different.
Day 1, Doctor 1 – The Bad
I’m sure everyone has a hospital horror story and my next appointment at the Ears Nose and Throat (ENT) hospital is mine.
The loss of balance means I can’t lift my heels and have to walk by shuffling my feet along the ground and hold my arms in brace position as if I’m preparing for a crash landing. The thunderous tinnitus means that I’m disorientated and jittery. No one offers to help me as I’m sent off down the corridors of the Victorian hospital to get a hearing test, to see the consultant, to go to the pharmacist.
I see a different consultant from last week and he resembles a Harry Potter villain: tall, yellowing skin and spectacles perched at the end of his beaked nose.
After talking to me for all of two minutes he says:
“The hearing test shows the hearing loss is only in the higher frequencies. I’m going to take you off the medication and we’ll see you again in three months once you’ve had a MRI scan.” He stares at me. “Your hearing is still in the socially-functioning range so why are you so upset?”
Panic and despair overwhelms me. He clearly wants me to leave but I sit in the chair sobbing: “I feel so unwell, I can’t walk, the ringing in my ear is so loud, I can’t function and now you won’t see me for three months?”
He tuts, looks in a medical book and reluctantly prescribes two new pills with little explanation of what they’re for.
Once again I shuffle along the hospital corridors to the pharmacist but I’m told they can’t administer the medication because the consultant hasn’t signed the prescription. I hate this consultant!
I say that I can’t walk back to the cubicle, that it’s too far, but the pharmacist stares at me blankly and doesn’t offer any help. Instead I do what is expected of me and obligingly shuffle in the brace position back to the consultant and then back again to the pharmacist. The NHS must be thankful that we’re a nation of polite idiots otherwise more people would kick off and throw chairs at them in exasperation.
I arrive home exhausted and distraught. I’ve finally agreed for Amy, my oldest friend, to come round. She texted saying she’d be driving past my flat so I asked her to get me some toothpaste. 11 days of being Quasimodo tripping on Quaaludes and its toothpaste that makes me ask for help. Toothpaste.
The doorbell sears through my ear. I greet Amy at the front door crying hysterically with a hand covering my left ear and I struggle to stand. I fall onto the sofa and Amy sits next to me on the floor anxiously wondering what on earth has been happening for the past 11 days. She immediately phones a friend’s dad who is a doctor and makes an appointment for the next day at his central London clinic.
Continued on page 2….