My First Visit to the RA Clinic. September 2012. Referred June 2012. Re Referred July 2012 - The original was lost! My 1st Ever Blog!

My First Visit to the RA Clinic. September 2012. Referred June 2012. Re Referred July 2012 - The original was lost! My 1st Ever Blog!

The appointment had been difficult to procure. It was a referral labelled "Urgent" and subsequently lost. I had waited 4 months and suffered for 8....Eventually....

It took me 20 minutes to shuffle across the car park and negotiate the mountainous slope up to the main building. Six months ago I would have achieved this with a hop and a skip in about 3 minutes.

Inside, the double staircase left me short of breath but I was so eager and happy to finally be in the Rheumatoid Clinic that I approached the reception desk with the naivety of a 6 year old’s first day at school.

Truly larger than life itself, she barked angrily at the crippled customers like an overworked and underpaid barmaid serving 3 deep at the tea time watering hole. It was as if the barrel’s needed changing down in the cellar and she wished she was half her age. There were no drunks, no profanity, only people in pain. Standing, waiting in line. Patiently waiting patients, in pain.

The polite enquiries were administered efficiently with sharp disdain. Curt and to the point, like we should already know the protocol. I was directed through to the waiting “lounge” in a manner which left me in no doubt where I should go! Someone really needs to feed this overweight Rottweiler and take her for a walk....

I shuffled my form into the only vacant seat at the inward looking square of well used office lounge furniture. It was busy and the armless chairs were firm. Like a very small airport departure lounge in rush hour. Nurses fleeted past in one direction then ghosted back in another. They were fast. On missions.

I was tired. The walk from the car park, up the stairs, past the “immigration control" had taken its toll. I stared at my feet and tried to make sense of it all.

How did she get that job? Who interviewed her for the job? What the fuck did it say on her CV? Who designed this “lounge?” Where is the integrity? Who the fuck cares anymore? She looks sorer than me. I wonder how long everyone has been waiting? Do I moan more than him? Will my consultant be a human being or an SS doctor specialising in experiments? The cleaner’s have missed a bit, there are 14 light tubes on the ceiling....My mind was just about to go numb.

Boom! Excitement and tension exploded in this fox hole of a waiting room. Senses pricked and an electricity ran through me. "Keep focussed and watch what happens" I said to myself. An older lady shuffled into the lounge and there were no seats left! She was obviously in pain but i'm pretty sure we all were. Eye’s narrowed and fleeting glances were exchanged. Who was going to move? What is the etiquette? A room full of pained, fatigued cripples and not enough chairs to go round. It was like the Brandenburg Gate 1939. Fleeting glances and seated shuffles. Uncomfortable squirms and awkward thoughts were all exchanged. We all silently acknowledged the disgrace, the unspeakable, the fear.

This plane is about to crash into the side of the mountain and there’s one parachute missing. Who is going to take the hit for the team?

The awkward group decision was taken out of our buckled hands as a flight attendant called through the next sufferer. A space was made.....Silent sighs of relief and passing of wind.

The collective loss of anxiety was like watching David Batty stepping up to take a penalty for England (Scottish waiting rooms are like this!) This emotion was quickly replaced with synchronised lobe stroking and increased tension about another victim possibly entering the lounge. Should I just stand up now and be done with this Russian Roullette? The atmosphere is about as strained as an inflamed achillies tendon that's attached to a rheumatic mountaineer reaching the summit of Everest. Anxiety turned to anger. That there weren't enough seats for people to sit on? How can this be? Were we being punished for being ill and for being in pain? Is that thought even possible? This is a hospital. Where the sick get better. So why the "meat processing?" I mean, you will already know, there is nothing worse than having chronic pain in your feet and achilles and having to stand still...What did we do to suffer this rather unavoidably obvious "Administrative Error!?"

Please note: This is my 1st ever attempt at blogging. I hope some of you might relate to some of my thoughts. I really hope, no one is offended. I have extensive notes..I may add more later...depending! Be safe, Stay Alive TweeterCal x

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42 Replies

  • You write so well.

    Can't wait for next instalment!


  • Welcome TweeterCal, looking forward to the next instalment and your interpretation of the consultation !!

    Beth x :)

  • Cant wait,i complained about the poor seating at the local clinic after having to perch on the swivel office chair :(

  • Love it.xx

  • WOW what a great blog more please x

  • Brilliant blog, cant wait for next installment.



  • Ha ha! At last a Rheumy appointment blog that fully conveys how time stands still ...... I am so glad I don't go to your hospital - some of the nurses at my Rheumy dept. do seem to be going a bit crazy - I'm told it's due to staffing issues - but most personnel are kind & helpful.

    I like your different approach & look forward to next instalment.

    Luce x

  • Brilliant lol!

  • Well done Cal!

  • brill cant wait till you post next installment


  • Bring it on with more like this one! You made me angry, laugh, cry and squirm, all in the space of a few minutes read. You are a really refreshing guy and tell us more as it is. xx

  • Loved it, keep blogging Cal


  • Love it, love it, love it,

    You have made me laugh, thanks Cal, more please x

  • Loved you blog keep blogging please Karen x

  • I started thanking people individually for their kind words and encouragement. I didnt think I would get more than 5 or 6 comments. So, Thanks to you all!

    I have extensive notes and often write down observations...The story will unravel...Off to lie down and watch telly. Fatigue sucks even harder at weekends! Thanks again all, take care and stay alive. Cal :D

  • Brilliant....keep blogging...x

  • geat blog.. gosh it could be the waiting area in so many of our hospitals

  • meant great blog.. bot too good at moment me that is you sound like fun x

  • i give up im the person who types bad stuff when v bad x welcome xx, my typos due to bad pain tonite so sorry x

  • Hi Cal... Great blog... you're like a breath of fresh air and certainly seem to have all the ladies attention.....wink wink :) look forward to reading more from you. X

  • Very well written, can't wait for more,take Care xx

  • Great blog! not my experience- but I have learned to camp out when I go to appointments, I take drinks, books, mags, my ipod. Last time I felt so bad I propped my head up and nodded off! I might take a neck support pillow next time. xxx

  • What a refreshing blog well done that man .Are you still there as there is no mention of you actually been seen Please continue to write your blogs ,hope you get the insight to why your in so much pain. Happy weekend .

    Angie x x x

  • great reading cal, Welcome to the site, if you are ever feeling down or want to share an experience or need advice or even to just have a laugh with everyone on here, we are all here to try and help and the Nras team are fab too you can ring there number for help and advice.There are some very funny characters on here , but in general a very supportive site. Now onto your blogg, well you would hate to be a patient at your hospital Cal , how terrible for you, if you are not in pain already to have to be treated like that, you are human like the rest of us and have RA and pain and most probably feeling fed up and depressed with the way it has effected your body and still trying to get your head around everything and dont need a snotty uncaring receptionist to deal with on top of everything else ,That receptionist should be sacked or retrained in manners and compassion, but then if you dont have compassion in your body unfortunately that is something you cannot instill in a person. Your experience so far has started off quite badly lets hope when you write about your experience with the consultant he shocks you and is very understanding and gets you the help you deserve . Is writting a passion of yours Cal? you seem to have a great knowledge of how to express yourself on paper. Well cal hope you got some rest and feeling a little better. soft hugs lena x :)

  • Great blog, please continue, and welcome

    Wendy x

  • Thanks for the entertaining blog. I'll watch out for you as I'm in Edinburgh too. I'm always struck by how when they eventually call you the drs stand at the end of the corridor watching you stumble towards them after waiting. But where I go, the nurses are lovely and will help you to see the person you want. I hope things look up for you. We have a beautiful morning anyway c

  • Thought you'd been to my hospital Cal until I read you were in Scotland! There's a sign on the wall which says to tell them if there isn't any seating that suits your requirements. Remember thinking "good luck with that!" - it's a three hour shuffle back to reception from the waiting area. Great to have you with us (but not because that makes you a fellow crip, if you know what I mean). Look forward to the next instalment x

  • This made me roar with laughter in a dark, harrowed sort of way. Not because it relates to my own RA experience at all but as a Londoner by birth and an adopted islander of 25 years I could imagine every last second of your first rheumy visit. You have a great, punchy descriptive style Cal - welcome to NRAS HU. Looking foward to the next installment very much. Tilda x

  • Hiya Cal

    Great blog, beilliant description of all our waiting rooms!!!!! Are you a writer? Spent yesterday in mine and felt the same as you!!! I am gonna take this to my support group if you don't mind, they will know exactly how u feel! But next part please, what Happened next?

    Glad to see you on the site, hugs A :)

  • Enjoyed reading your blog Cal, very well written and very witty. Hope your sour faced receptionist retires soon, i often wonder who employs these people too.

  • So what happened next??? Great blog & so true. I was once turned up for an appointment to be told by the sourly receptionist that I'd already seen the consultant & couldn't see him again. She was so aggressive that I nearly went away,then this little voice came from me n said no I haven't. It turned out she'd sent my notes in with another patient lol x

  • Hi. Thank you for sharing and Im so sorry about such horrendous experiences. I am not offended and yes I can relate to that unfortunately..I see that here too often. Just when you think pain is bad enough,wait till you find a car park then get served by dinosaurs. They dont even need to open their mouths..the demeanour is just appauling. Its just like because they sit behind the desk it gives them the authority to be freaking atrocious..excuse the language but that really makes me wild. It does'nt cost anyone anything to be nice but i just can't understand why some just basically chews lemon the minute they get out of bed. its like their mantra to make other people miserable..more miserable in our case. Please do put a COMPLAIN. What you have experienced was just unacceptable. I know health system's functioning well stretched to its capacity but no excuse for a rude behaviour and you can change that. As I have mentioned in other blogs, nothing will change unless we put anything in writing.I actually actively hands out patient advocate cards in my workplace..might as well be the complaints officer myself as one is not enough I reackon. People in pain and have waited for at times nearly 7 hours in outpatient department just honestly too exhausted to even think of putting anything in paper. Thats why you have a complaints officer for. You deserve better and also the rest who waited in that room that day. They strongly advise that staff do not tolerate agression from patients..make no mistake there are about staff agression towards patients??Im looking forward to reading your next blog..its like waiting for the next edition of 50 shades of gray lol..take care and I hope your pain is under control.lizax

  • Hi Dimple, thanks for the reply. You are so right in what you say - I intend to blog alot more about the effects of "Fatigue" and how this symptom leaves me (us?) too weak to respond to inequalities and poor service. I dont want to say too much as I am keeping my "stuff" for blogging but you are right - and I think Patients Advocacy is so important for chronic sufferers and those of us who are unable to avocate properly for ourselves. My next blog will leave you scratching your disbelief...but then again, people with RA are more than likely to have experienced far worse and said little. Take care and thanks, TweeterCal :D

  • Cracking read.....good chuckle.....more please.......


  • Hello Heidabaw!!! I'm on here with me liver probs. Hahahaahaha I wanted to comment but then I realised I am already here and they forced me to sign in. How rude they are.

  • Pahahahaha!! We're all in the soup together :D What did ye think of my first installment...I feel like im opening the latch on Pandoras rheumatic box here...Have you blogged on the Liver pages? Going back to Tweetersville!

  • Yes. I have a "blog" Check out my profile on here I am sure you will find it. XX

  • verry verry well done loved it next installment please please please

    regards john

  • Dear everyone, thank you all so much for your words of encouragement. I am not a writer but I have enjoyed putting the wee blog together. I will add more - I want to raise awareness and share experiences. It means alot to me to know that you have enjoyed the read and you can relate to most of what I have written/experienced.

    The "Receptionist" seems to have hit the right nerves with most of you! What I would say about her is that she was clearly very unhappy!

    More will come in time about "Reception." I will blog more in a week or so...Fatigue slows it all down fo me and I have alot of medical appointments this week...In fact, I will be visiting the "Das Boot" waiting room this afternoon!

    Thank you ALL again, I am so glad to have found this site. Take care and Stay Alive! Cal :D(on twitter as tweetercal - feel free to add me!)

  • Hi Cal

    Just read your blog and you had me laughing.

    Look forward to your next blog.


  • Hi Cal, I loved your blog, so poignant, eloquent and witty! Please keep writing , your GSOH is a balm that all of us here need. You made me laugh and for a moment I forgot of my pains, thank you.

    Next instalment soon pls

  • A blogging Balm? Ha! I like a good Metaphor or Similie and thats a new one on me! I hope to get the next installment up next week.....Thanks :D

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