The trouble with hospital appointments ...

I seem to have fallen back into the routine of regular hospital appointments for the various conditions and ailments that have befallen me in the last 14 months,

What I really hate is the rapidity with which one falls into the institutionalised life. Waiting around because the registrar is running an hour late before he goes off for his lunch. Probably made worse by the fact that it is the registrar, not the consultant you were expecting to see.

Across the waiting room, a couple of other waiters are comparing medical notes and sharing lengthy descriptions of their conditions. That's not in my nature and I'm glad I've brought both book and iPad.

The knowledge that I'm probably not going to be seen for another hour is tempered by the fact that I know I'm not as ill as I was a few months ago and a bit of a wait isn't going to do me any harm.

Now the guy in the bed across the other side of the room who's just had his arm plastered is crying with pain. Thankfully, it's not long before a nurse comes to give him drugs.

Another bed is wheeled in and there's hardly space. It's chaotic and the beds sit side by side while the ranks of chairs make them look incongruous,

I came alone. It's actually worse when you feel you have to entertain someone who's come along to keep you company. Most of the others are accompanied by a friend trying to make light of the situation. A brace of elderly ladies to my left are determined to bear the wait gracefully, while spreading coats and bags across every spare seat around them. I don't have the heart to tell them it'll be a while.

Now the man in the bed is asking for some attention. Understandably. He's at least semi-naked under a thin blanket and the long-awaited porter obviously has other calls on his time. Finally with another blanket draped around his shoulder and the porter arrives by magic.

Suddenly, my name is called and the next stage of my shoulder recovery begins ...

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