People would rather die of an illness than be told they had one – in a letter, or over the phone, or even in an office. I read this somewhere and I really believe this.
Today, I woke up too late. 10.35. My alarm was set for 10.35 because I went to bed at 5.35 and I thought that five hours was fine. Five hours IS fine.
Earlier on in the night, my boyfriend, who I love, but who’s a total dick sometimes, told me I was a come-bucket. He says awful stuff sometimes but I know and believe it’s because he’s probably an injured child. The term come-bucket is really quite inelegant and slack but I suppose that’s the point. It is the point. Anyway, I was a come-bucket and I woke up late. Let’s get back to the story.
I had an appointment at the National Hospital for Neurology at 14.30. I went there in an Uber. I couldn’t be bothered with a boring old bus because I was pretending that I deserved a private means of transport on account of my MS. I do this sometimes. Anyway, I was a come-bucket and I’d woken up late and I was in an Uber.
I arrived at the hospital, put on my beach hat and went directly to the ultrasound department. I was having a scan of my bladder, you see. I have an overactive bladder. I never knew that the bladder was neurological until I was diagnosed with MS. Turns out I was wrong, turns out the bladder is extremely neurological. Neurology is everywhere.
There was a tiny waiting room at the UD. I cried a little there. Frankly, I don’t like the term come-bucket and I was not feeling great about it, or the MS. At 14.28, two minutes before my appointment, I stopped a nurse to ask her if I was in their system for my 14.30 appointment. She was sweet and pretty, with light chestnut hair and eyes that looked two different ways.
A man with a badge called ‘AUSTIN’ came out the UD staff area. He was tall and had dimples. “We don’t do bladder scans here, I’m afraid”, he said, looking diligent and young all at once, “I think you’ve come to the wrong hospital, but we’ll check”. He gave me a thumbs up. I was glad, frankly, that I’d worn a nice dress and had socks and sandals and a beach hat on. I thought, this is exactly the kind of look to wear when you’ve fucked up where your scan is and you need hospital staff to take pity on you. Austin came back a while later. “I’m afraid you DID do what I thought you’d done!”. I loved him. Why? Because he was afraid I DID do what he thought I’d done!
I thought of being a come-bucket briefly, as I left for the hospital I was meant to be at, told myself that Austin would never call me a come-bucket.
When I got to this other hospital, they asked for my ID number and my date of birth and said that, if I needed a bladder scan, I’d better seven cups of water, pronto. I didn’t like the sound of this. Need I say it but I have an OAB, which is medical speak for OVERACTIVE BLADDER.
So anyway, back to the story, I was in the RIGHT hospital at the WRONG time with an OAB and a whole lot of water to drink. Eventually, soon after I was ready to pee myself, a nurse came through and gave me to the ultrasound doctor. He was a tall, handsome, West Indian, who told me to tuck my shirt into my knickers whilst he scanned my bladder.
This was unbearable. The MS OAB and the UD scanner don’t mix well. I scrunched my eyes and thought of the most boring thing I could. Shortly after this exercise, I pissed myself whilst the doctor pressed me with his machine. I cried then, because I felt ashamed, and the kind doctor left whilst I relieved myself in a nearby cubicle. When I came back, he was sweet, and told me that an OAB is no fun and the scanner pressure is a little bitch, EVEN for those who drink seven cups WITHOUT an OAB.
I wish him the best. It can’t be that much fun. Not really. When I went to the lifts, I saw a sign for ‘hospital mortuary’. That made me feel a lot better.
Anyway, I was a come-bucket who had an OAB and had just left a hospital UD/mortuary. I went directly to Euston Station, and happened upon a blind man in the lift. A Sikh, with a green woollen cardigan. “Will you help me find East Ham?”, he said, after sensing I was the only person with him in the lift.
This was music to my ears because, finally, I was responsible for a softly-spoken old man in a green woollen cardigan.
When we got to the station level on the lifts, I remembered, in a flash, that I didn’t know where East Ham was. I took his arm, and he said thank you. Thank you for taking my arm, imagine!
We circled around a bit, whilst I panicked about East Ham. I also needed to pee, very badly. I told him I was sorry I was jiggling around and the circles but a) I needed to pee b) I needed to find East Ham.
”GIRL! I AM BLIND!”, he said, without pause, “YOU’RE ALL OVER THE SHOP! I NEED TO PEE TOO BUT YOU ARE NOT BLIND”.
I’m not. I love not being so.