Saturday 28 August 2010

No holiday this year

So here's the scenario. John, just diagnosed with DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and I are being given The Talk. The doctor in question gives a lot of these talks, and is determined that we shouldn't miss a single word. We are shown a figure with blue lines for the veins, and red for the arteries (try to remember that. Blue for veins, red for arteries), and he begins to describe what's happened, in mind-numbing detail. I mention that I'm a nurse, and I know about DVTs, but that's brushed aside. We have to listen. To all of it. He is, he tells us, the expert, and no-one for miles around knows as much about DVTs as he does (GPs, apparently, know nothing at all). We say what about our holiday (which should start tomorrow)? He ploughs on. We must visit the hospital for tests on Monday, says he. But our holiday? Without treatment, John will be dead in seven weeks, says he (in the couse of the interview, he tells us this three times). John begins to lose his temper. The doctor announces that he, too, is becoming angry, and is taking ten minutes out to calm down. I lecture John on the necessity of keeping his cool, because (a) it's polite, and (b) we never know when we might need this doctor again (perish the thought).

The doctor returns, John apologises very nicely (as I have instructed him to), and we proceed. We are told again that we need to come back for tests on Monday (our holiday is brushed aside, once again, as is the fact the Monday is a bank holiday). We are shown horrific pictures of the worst case scenario (a man with what looks like a large, supurating black balloon on his chest; I'm still not sure what that was supposed to be). Our holiday? we ask. Again. That's ok, says he. We can go on our hoilday. What, flying? Certainly. But what about the tests on Monday? Ah. That's ok, because we can find a doctor and a hospital and get them all done when we're there (he hasn't asked where we are going; it could be Brighton, or Australia). We will be in Corsica, we explain. Miles from any hospital.

At last he hears us. No We can't go on our holiday (I thought not), but we must still come back on Monday for tests because otherwise John will be dead in seven weeks blah blah blah....

I cannot fault the doctor's patience, and I'm sure his knowledge is second to none But by the end of an hour I feel like going out and beating my brains to a pulp against the concrete in the car park (whose machines we have been steadily feeding with coins during the course of our ordeal). It is bad enough having to cancel our holiday, but this quite unnecessary lecture is the final straw. (As is the pile of lovely new books sitting waiting to go on holiday with us.)

Well, at least we can sit at home and read...


  1. Oh, poor you! Many commiserations both for the DVT and the missed holiday, not to mention the trying interview with the doctor.
    I do hope John recovers soon - will he have to go on the dreaded wharfarin?

  2. Thanks, Alis. Yes - warfarin and heparin injecions and blood tests and elastic stockings...But he's being very good. We'll probably try to go away in October, but I've started reading the books (couldn't wait)!

    I've just sent off the - what do you call a WIP which isn't IP any more? Well, that, anyway. I miss it already. I hate getting to the end.

  3. Yikes, Frances! Did you have no re-writing to do? I can't imagine sending something off so quickly after having finished it. I need way more agonising-time!

  4. Now you've got me panicking, Alis. But I do a lot of editing as I go, so I don't tend to do that much at the end. But maybe I should have...I did go through it very carefully, fiddling and tweaking, but in the end I thought I was doing more harm than good.

    I am now seriously worried!

  5. Sorry Frances I missed all this drama going on with you. What a shock, everything all thrown up in the air like that.Some doctors bedside manners leave a lot to be desired.Hope you get a bigger better holiday when you get the all clear. My WIP has gone off too, but now I am still editing and chopping even in its absence because my agent is in the South of France and I can't bear to wait and do nothing!

  6. Oh Frances, I really didn't want to worry you! I think I just have a tendency to overcomplicate my books and I have to cut away a lot of the complication before it's worth looking at. Clearly, you manage not to do that!

  7. Hi Dee- yes it was a bit of a bugger, but the weather's been great, and I've done a lot of riding. We hope to go away in October.

    Alis - perhas it's different if your an historian? There must be so much you have to get right, whereas with my novel it was all straight out of my head (which may or may not be a good thing...). One of the reasons I was in a hury was that my agent is getting married in October, and is of course going to be very busy.

  8. Did you see that interview on BBC Breakfast this morning?

    I'm a bit rubbish in the memory department, but if I remember rightly, she has four kids (lads)

    She talked about how when she wrote her book, her characters said things she hadn't expected them to say, and just went with it.

    It worked (shrug!)

    You don't mention how John got DVT - it's usually for long periods of inactivity - I get nagged about it being a stroke survivor?

  9. Wheelie - the DVT followed a fall a few weeks ago. Not enough exercise afterwards. All very boring!

  10. So sorry about the DVT and your holiday - hope John soon recovers. As for those hospital car park machines - don't get me started! Not what you need when you're already worried, ill or under stress - or all three (that's if you can find a space in the first place)!

  11. Ah yes. The car park. When I went out for the last time to feed the machine with yet more coins, I found I'd run out. Great. Then a lovely little car park attendant came up to ask if he could help, and I bleated, yes, I've no money left, and we've been waiting ages etc etc. Not to worry, said he, placing a sympathetic hand on my arm. I could forget about the money. Which was my car?

    I whimpered something about him being the first person to be nice to us all day, and practcally fell weeping into his arms. So that was that rare and wonderful thing: a good car park experience.

    Every cloud...