Making a Pigs Ear of it all…

I have swine ‘flu. So I am told, from the very thorough medical examination I underwent from some idiot on the end of the phone.  I have to say this is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Not because I get to spend a week in bed, alternately sleeping and complaining on facebook. But because if this is how the country manages in the ‘early stages’ of this supposed pandemic, I am really glad that I will hopefully be immune when the real thing kicks off…

This all started on Friday, when Aimee was sent home from work, having collapsed and become very poorly. Though, to be fair, I have felt worse from various other respiritory illnesses this is quite a bummer of a disease, not least because it seems to go in waves and one point you are sat there thinking ‘am I imagining all of this, have I succumbed to the media hype?’ and the next minute it hits you like a jack-hammer and you feel shite.

Anyway, Aimee phoned the helpline.  First they ascertained that she was not unconscious – ‘hold on, I’ll check… “Can you hear me? What is your name?” Slap, Slap… Oh my god I’m unconscious I’m in a tunnel and there’s a beautiful light at the end… Wham! Oh, no hold on I’m not unconscious…’

After a few questions she was duly  diagnosed. It turns out the nearest place to pick up Tamiflu is Seacroft. An hour each way on the bus. And only open office hours in the week, and 11-4 on Saturdays. I always said that I was not going to take the latest wonderdrug, as I am normally quite anti this sledge-hammer medicating of the masses. But I did ask the helpline what would be the procedure if I subsequently became ill, and we had problems finding someone who would take the morning off work to trek to the arse-end of chav-town to pick me up some drugs.

Despite the fact that anyone with even GCSE science could probably work out that even with the utmost hygiene the chances of my becoming ill and then not really wanting to have to trek across Leeds again were quite high, one cannot get any drugs in case. One suggestion was that I should ‘quarantine my girlfreind’. Bet you’re single love, ain’t you. The next was that whoever was feeling the least ill should go…

Now I thought, that becuase the illness is actually quite mild, the general dosing of the population (conspiracies about drug companies notwithstanding) was to keep people indoors and try and prevent the spread as this variant was one that most people have no resistance to. I was tempted to do this: ‘Oh yes, this batch is for me, Atischoo, oh, do excuse me, sorry did I splatter you…” But I persisted. After the helpline, NHS Direct, and my GP’s Out of Hours Service had all given contradictory information I gave up.

I went to Seacroft. Honestly, the place was like fucking Fort-Knox. Security at each end of the corridor. I was told to go to the end and speak to the nurse. Putting one foot too far over the yellow line resulted in a barked ‘Wait there!’.

You will recall that you can get this drug just by phoning and telling them you have a list of symptoms which you could, if you so chose, just recite of the website. Yet they seem to think that I am likely to be about to storm the doors and steal mine. Maybe it’s the leather jacket, that makes me dodgy it seems.

OK, I know there is quite a black market trade in Tamiflu, but it all seems a bit daft to me.

I did ask why one has to trek out to Seacroft, and they can’t set something up at LGI. It seems one of the main problems is parking. So (despite the fuck-off multi-story attached to the hospital) those of us who don’t drive have to trek miles on the bus because those who are surgically melded to their cars can’t be trusted to park nicely. Typical.

Anyway… Sure enough at some point on Sunday my temperature shot up to god knows what and I started feeling like I’d filled my system with scopolamine or some other vile poison. I called the helpline on Monday and then the hospital and informed them that they would be deliveing me some drugs. They did so.

After all this I decided that I probably would give it a go, also on the advice of the one medical professional I actually trust, who reminded me how ill pneumonia makes me. I think it’s helped, but at some points I actually wish I was feeling worse, so I could just sleep and not go through this I feel OK, no I feel like death would be a release, oh I feel OK again business…

One thing I will say from this. Don’t take shite from them. Challenge them, and don’t let them assume that you can expect your mates to disrupt their lives ‘cos the PCT has decided that the only place they will hold drugs is miles away. Everyone’s joining groups about I love the NHS… Hmmm. It’s better than most, but cut the fucking bureaucracy and it would be 20 times better…

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