Another day I will never get back

Well, this is a day I will never get back. It’s a tired week and in the night, I find it difficult to sleep owing to a pain in my chest which seems to be making breathing difficult. I have had enough of all this nonsense and swallow 2 sleeping tablets. Every in breath I take is painful when it gets to a certain depth. I cannot fill my lungs with air for a stabbing pain in my left chest. It’s not like a band around my chest but just stabbing pain and it makes sleep difficult. As morning dawns, the pain becomes slightly less but it is still there. I am pleased that I have an appointment at the pain clinic at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine as I have a very present pain which I would like some advice on.

The weather is wet and Mr Mason has taken Dog to drop him off on his holidays. We have been asked to create a list of the times he needs to be fed, the times he needs to sleep and when he is allowed biscuits. I haven’t done this and I have a strong suspicion Mr Mason hasn’t done it, either. Dog will tell them he has biscuits at each meal and by biscuits, I don’t mean the Dog kind. Dog has a very sweet tooth and if Mr Mason and I are eating cake, he will wait patiently until we have finished for his piece of cake.

I set off in the light rain to get a bus to the underground and from there on to the Hospital. The journey was actually OK. I got a seat all the way which is unusual and surprising. The pain clinic is not signposted at the Hospital but I remember where it is and find it. It actually consists of a couple of chairs next to a secretary’s desk. In order to see a doctor, you have to walk behind the secretary’s desk into what looks like a cupboard but which you realise is a small suite of rooms. My doctor today is bright and chirpy and very pleasant. He apologises for the fact that I always see a different doctor at the clinic. Then he asks what medication I am on. I explain which bits I have increased on his colleague’s advice and which bits my GP didn’t want to change and he seems very happy and tells me I am a very good patient. There is then a bit of a lull in the conversation and I realise he doesn’t really know what to say. He talks a little about a pain psychologist which my oncology psychologist is very keen on me seeing but he goes through a whole rigmarole about not wanting too many doctors or surgeons. He also tells me repeatedly that the medicine they have prescribed is not for cancer. “You can stop it at any time!” he beams. He then says they will discharge me but that if I want to come back “most delightedly” he will make another appointment. I try to talk about the pain psychologist again but he is not having any of it and I am not sure what the appointment is about. He tells me “You tell me what I can do for you and I will do it!” Anything except refer me to a pain psychologist. He is happy that my psychologist is at St Mary’s. “It is good to have all your treatment in one hospital”. I explain my treatment is at Charing Cross but there was no room for the psycholgist there so she took a room at St Mary’s. “Yes!” He is still beaming. He is going to write to my GP and send me a copy of the letter when I hope the outcome of my appointment will become clearer. As I leave, the secretary tells me in a low voice to phone back within the year or I will just be discharged. I leave the hospital in a state of bewilderment. What just happened? I am really not sure except the doctor was very nice but has bamboozled me with sweet words and promises. As I leave the hospital, I am pleased to see it has stopped raining.

On arriving home, I make myself a salad smoothie – lettuce, cucumber, tomato and apple. It is delicious. Fully replenished I decide to seize the day and contact Virgin Mobile about my phone. It has not worked for the last 10 days and Virgin have had it since Friday. They tell me repeatedly that my phone will be back with me within 4 working days. I explain I am having a lot of appointments at present and that I really need a phone. They do not loan phones and other than giving me a normal-sized sim card to use until my phone is ready (when I will have to delve into the workings of Virgin Mobile to get another micro sim card), they cannot help. I explain what my situation is but still nothing is done. So today, I phone them and am on the phone for 40 minutes. At the end of this time, I know the phone has been looked at and sent back to Motorola. I now have to wait for someone to call me (hopefully not on my mobile) to discuss what phone I am going to get next. “But surely I just get the same phone again?” I ask. “You might if you push them”, says Ash, my helper.

So my whole day has been wasted with people who are not really doing anything but requiring me to do lots of jumping up and down in order to get their attention. I truly despair of Virgin Mobile. This is the first time I have had a problem with a phone and it has been a ghastly experience and certainly one I would not want to repeat. The phone is only 6 weeks old and is also insured but I don’t know whether this makes it more complicated or not. I would have thought if my phone stopped working, they would take the old one and send me a new one. Isn’t that logical? Not in Virgin Mobile’s world. If you buy a new phone it arrives the next day. How can this service not be applied to repairs? We have 2 landlines, cable tv and mobiles with them but looking after your customers doesn’t seem to compute for them. Going through hospital appointments without a phone is a nightmare. I have emailed and talked to them, tweeted and posted on their Facebook page and they simply do not care. I rate their customer service as exceptionally poor.

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