Monday, 13 July 2015

The Tale Of Two MRI Scans

This is the tale of two worlds and two MRI scans.   my world and "their" world, my scan experience and "their" scan experience.   also a tale of the "opening of eyes", and the "closing of doors".    my eyes and, potentially,  "their" doors.   

My first scan was  at a private clinic,  funded by the NHS.   the second at an NHS hospital in a big city.   a quick Googly search enlightened me that my bank account would have been en-lightened by about £300 - £500 for the scan if i had paid for it, that's without any payment for consultant and radiographer.   so.....what would my cash have bought me?

First off.....parking.   At the clinic there were a multitude of disabled parking bays at the main doors,  no charge with my Disabled Blue Badge, and a short walk/wheelchair push to the "MRI Suite" ......posh designation for posh people.   NHS.......multi-story parking £5.00 and a quarter hour trek up in lift, down corridor, down in lift, along more..more...MORE....corridors that all looked the same and all seemed to lead to dead ends and all with names that  ended in......ology.    at no point did i actually see the words "MRI" just "neuroradiology"......hmmmm very user friendly !!   

I am so thankful for my beloved son's navigation skills as there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY i could have found my way back to the car.  many years in the future a little skeleton would have been found wreathed in cobwebs and purple boas curled foetally in a pink wheelchair with a last desperate plea for "COFFEE" written on the tiles in body fluids.   a sad end indeed.   Ahhh speaking of yourself machines on strategic corners versus that previously mentioned safari trek involving lifts and corridors, going in the opposite direction, leading to canteen or Costa.    2 coffees and cake = £13.00 ouch!!

Your £££s also buy comfort.   waiting in a softly lit, carpeted lounge with squidgy sofas and a choice of the day's papers was far preferable to bracketed and fixed fold down hard seats under flickering fluorescent tubes, grubby tiles and one  torn four month old copy of Good Housekeeping.   Now, i know these are cosmetic differences with no discernible effect on the proficiency of the scan process, but try asking the private patient to accept the cut price version as their lot and see if they believe it to be mere appearances.

One difference that would have mattered if it had been my first scan was the time factor which in turn affected the panic factor.   at the clinic what to expect was explained calmly and clearly before having to face that giant maw.   quality, disposable, in ear noise defenders were given and a comforting voice spoke to me via a speaker above my head whenever the sliding table was about to move or if the noise was going to change.  if unsure or concerned about what was happening i could ask and she could answer.   my auditory angel and i conversed through the entire process so no shocks, no surprises, no panic.  

NHS ? ........full on shock and awe.  the disconcertingly handsome young man was kind but rushed.   no preparatory explanation, no effective ear protection, no communication.   in a matter of moments, before i could catch a breath to ask a  question, i was out of Bassett The Wheelchair, mufflers popped wonkily  on ears, buzzer plonked in hand, laid flat out and eaten by the machine.   nobody to hear if fear set in, nobody to reassure that the universe still existed outside the maelstrom , nobody to give a sense of connection when noise and vibration shook the     foundations of the earth.     Daisy   May's  fear  is now    totally understood  (see post 24/4).   If this had been my first scan i know i would have freaked out instead of simply emerging like a stunned slug with PTSD.

The most shocking difference your mega-bucks provide is privacy.   Clothes with metal must be left behind because of the mighty magnets in the scanner. so flies.......enter sans trousers !!   BUT..... to enter,  said gentleman had to walk past a crowded waiting room and down a corridor with his  bum hanging out  the back of a flapping micro hospital gown as he valiantly tried to hold it closed with a spare hand.   no en-suite changing rooms for us, just indignity, humiliation and embarrassment.
Let me stress, this isn't an indictment of the NHS.   it's an indication of a two tier health system that's slowly becoming an accepted normality. slipping into our national consciousness is a narrative of first and second class humans deserving first or second class support and care. the media and political class are beginning to sound like our Victorian forbears talking of "deserving" and "undeserving" poor.   "strivers" and "skivers".

If we don't open our eyes to these changes and speak out at every opportunity through petitions and demonstrations and support for organisations whose voice carries weight, you and i will find their doors are closed to us.   only the moneyed class will receive first class care, as if it were no different to first or second class travel.   This way to the Workhouse.

1 comment:

caron said...

Ha ha ha eee am sorry to laugh but your blog is funny!! only you can turn a traumatic event into a slapstick type comedy. sorry for your experience, but thanks for the reading of it !!! .....COFFEE....ha ha ha