There I was, awake on a pleasant autumnal morning at a time of my own choosing and not having my blood pressure, pulse and everything else recorded and it was delightful. If this makes no sense at all to you then I suggest you read the previous few entries where I have spent almost a month in the QEQM hospital in Margate being not terribly well frankly.
It was a Monday morning so it was a new week and in many ways a new beginning, an enforced new lifestyle which was certainly not of my choosing as I was quite happy with the one I had before but I had little choice now. I should say at the outset of this post that I managed to take a grand total of one pretty uninteresting image the whole day which I have posted above for two reasons. One, it is the only one I have, as I say, and two, it is indicative of my new regime as this little box of tricks is more or less the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night. It is not a major problem but it is just something you would rather not have to do. I do feel sorry for diabetics who have to do this every day. I have some sort of light at the end of the tunnel as it will be for a finite period. I am writing this on the first day of October and I probably have another six weeks of this although they are currently discussing changing me to oral medication but I am not holding my breath.
Whilst I did not take many images on this day, I was far from idle. The very first thing was to sort out the smoking. I mentioned in previous posts about my enforced abstinence from tobacco whilst I had been laid up, assisted by prescribed nicotine patches and I was surprised at how few physical cravings I had actually had compared to long-haul flights of perhaps 12 or 14 hours when I am literally climbing the walls at the airport at the far end. I had thought that my hospital experience was psychological in that my brain knew there was no chance of smoking and so just dismissed the idea. I didn’t think the patches would have that much effect but something seemed to be doing the trick.
Whilst it was not contributory to my illness, obviously smoking isn’t a brilliant thing to be doing although I have to say that I enjoy smoking, always did. I did think, however that having made this start I could maybe manage to cut down and my plan was to start vaping rather than the patches or gum or whatever else. I had been thinking about vaping for quite a while and some of my friends had reported very good results with it. Obviously the vape shop was not open on the Sunday I was discharged so I bought a packet of cigarettes to replace the one I had given another patient in the QEQM hospital. He was ambulatory but could not get cigarettes in there obviously, although he could get out into the garden for a smoke. I knew I would be in for a while and so I gave him mine. I have to say that I was pretty good though and only had two or three all night.
First thing then I was off to the vape shop and there is certainly plenty of choice. As far as I know there are at least six in this little town of approximately 25,000 people. I am a great believer in utilising local knowledge and the general consensus was that Pure Perfection in York Street was very good which was handy as it is literally about three minutes walk from my front door. In I went and told the two guys there that I was completely new to the whole vaping concept and I was not interested in passion fruit bubblegum flavour or whatever else nonsense ideas they have come up with but rather I just wanted something that tasted as close to a Marlboro Light as they could get.
I have to say that the blokes were very good and obviously knowledgeable. They could have tried to foist a very expensive machine on me but they didn’t and offered me a starter kit (pictured) which included two “burners” or “coils” or whatever they are called and a bottle of Gold and Silver which I have not used a quarter of in two weeks and all for £35. For non-smokers, to put this in perspective a packet of 20 Marlboro Lights are getting on for £11 now due to the obscene taxes on them and I was smoking 20 – 30 a day. Since I started the vaping there have been a couple of days when I have smoked four but most days it is three and I am very pleased with myself. In truth I have little reason for self-congratulation as it has been relatively easy and I have not had the serious cravings I thought I would. I have been smoking for the best part of half a century now and fairly heavily for a large portion of that. Yes, I know that none would be better than three but the fact is that, as I mentioned, I enjoy smoking. I always did and probably always will so it is now a matter of keeping it to manageable proportions and I am happy with the current status quo.
Incidentally, I am not lying to you, the image of the vape here was taken at a much later date, I really did only take the one image that day.
If I am happy with the smoking situation in response to Doctor’s orders then I am very far from happy with the NHS in that respect of their further orders. I had experienced the very best of the NHS during my time in the QEQM hospital, and believe me that is very good as I hope I have conveyed but now I was to be faced with the pathetic bureaucracy that dogs it so often and the “left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing” way of doing things.
In hospital when I had told the medical staff that I had not been registered with a doctor for over 20 years they freaked out and asked me why. I told them it was because I did not get sick which is generally speaking true and if I get an odd sniffle or whatever I just drink plenty of fluids and take to my bed until it passes. The problem apparently is that whenever I get ill I get spectacularly ill but I was never one for doing things by halves.
The Doctors (several different ones so it is not merely one of them being in error) stated categorically that although I was not resident locally I could register on a temporary basis. Wrong. I am writing this to backdate over two weeks later, the situation is still not resolved, I still do not have a GP and some of my medication runs out this weekend!
I went to the Health Centre in Broadstairs (the only Doctors I know of in town) and explained the situation to the young receptionist who seemed unsure of the procedure and called her superior. The superior was very sure of the procedure and told me that under no circumstances could they register me even on a temporary basis unless I produced photographic ID AND a utility bill or similar to prove a local address. I repeated that I had just told her and her colleague I was not resident here but merely visiting and repeated, yet again, what the hospital Doctors had told me. Also, as I do not have a driving licence my only photographic ID is my passport and I am not in the habit of carrying that round unless I am going overseas. I shall let this story unfold in it’s proper sequence over the next few posts and, believe me, it does not make for happy reading.
I know some of you have been good enough to follow me down some rather unusual roads in my days of travel writing so if any of you, old friends or new, wish to accompany me down the as yet untrodden road to recovery then stay tuned and spread the word.