Tuesday, December 13, 2005

In good hands

I had to go to the hospital for some tests today. Very nervous, both in anticipation of a positive result (I've got a life threatening illness) and of a negative one (I'm a malingerer). In the event, it looks as if my GP's concerns are unfounded. Phew.

Now, I don't know whether everyone that I came in contact with was simply having a good day, but in the course of my three hours in the hospital I felt increasingly uplifted. In the waiting room I read a meditation book and then an elderly Filipino lady sat next to me and started to tell me all about herself; I couldn't understand everything she was saying but that didn't matter - it distracted me from my self-centred worries.

Then when I met my consultant my heart sank; she looked smart, crisp, efficient, middle aged and very, very tough. In fact she was indeed efficient, but combined it with a dry sense of humour and the willingness and the ability to explain things to me as an equal. She sent me off to another part of the hospital to have the test and arranged for me to have a scan in a couple of weeks' time. As she said, it's better to cover all the possibilities.

I won't go into details of what was involved in this particular test procedure - trust me, you don't want to know. I was conscious the whole time, and at one point when I became distressed, the nurse attending to me stroked my arm and said:

"Try and relax; just focus on your breathing".

If I could have done, I would have smiled at that; focussing on the breath is the cornerstone of my meditation practice and what I aim to do for a session every morning. The doctor administering the procedure and the nurses in the unit were calm, kind and capable. Two medical students in highly starched white coats (who both looked no more than 15 years old) had enquired if they could be present as observers. I said yes of course, and they asked me when I was recovering what the procedure had been like from the patient's point of view. Thank goodness, I thought, that their training these days takes this into account.

Finally, while I was in the recovery ward, a motherly hospital volunteer fetched me a cup of tea and biscuits, and sat with me until she was sure I was all right.

I found this all the more cheering as this particular hospital, one of London's largest teaching establishments, has had its share of bad publicity in recent years. I came home this afternoon, though, feeling incredibly fortunate that I have had free access to good medical treatment from efficient professionals who demonstrated a detached kindness when I badly needed it. I know that not everyone in the world is as fortunate.


Blogger Jean said...

I'm so glad and heartened to learn that you met with kindness and efficiency - indeed it is not what we are used to hearing, and sometimes very difficult to assess what is justified bad publicity and what is the endless appetite for bad news. Hope you are being VERY kind to yourself for the rest of the day.

I think reading a book about meditation in public has some sort of emanation... I was reading one on the bus and when the woman next to me got up to go she patted me on the arm and said 'you have a lovely day, dear' - not exactly the usual interraction on a crowded London bus...

4:38 pm  
Blogger MB said...

Mary, I'm sorry this has been so difficult for you. I appreciate your courage. I'm grateful that people were kind to you during your experience. I'm holding you warmly in my thoughts today, wishing a speedy return to center!

4:42 pm  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Oh Mary, it looks like you and I have been undergoing the same kind of medical anxieties--and also that we both received unusual kindness and care from our health care providers. It means so much!

So happy everything turned out well for you!

6:29 pm  
Blogger Dale said...

Mortally ill and malingering are your only two options? Christ, it sounds like you grew up in my family :-)

Really nice to hear of a good hospital experience -- I too have heard (and experienced) so much bad recently that I was starting to think it would be easier, not to mention healthier, to avoid them altogether.

So glad that the news is sounding good!

8:51 pm  
Anonymous Kurt said...

Mary--I'm pleased to know that you met with reassuring, intelligent, and sensitive caregivers and that the results were favorable. With prayers for wellness,

3:28 am  
Blogger zhoen said...

I am also glad you found good folks there. The bad ones are in the minority, they taint any profession, but in medicine it's especially bad because patients are in such a vulnerable position.

Breathing, very important.

11:07 am  
Blogger Mary said...

Thank you all.

Jean: Yes, I think there is an endless appetite for bad news and the good goes unreported. And I like the bus story :-)

Moose/Kurt: Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. Very much appreciated.

Patry: When I read your post yesterday I couldn't believe the synchonicity. Thanks for your good wishes.

Zhoenw: Yes, I thought of you while I was at the hospital ... and I was definitely impressed.

Dale: I'm a worrier, that's all.

Sounds as if things have been tough at your end recently too ..hope they are improving now.

7:24 pm  
Blogger leslee said...

Mary, I'm wishing the best for you. This sounds worrisome - I'm so glad you had good care and kindness from the caregivers - what a fortunate bit of grace that is.

12:51 am  
Blogger apples4me said...

Someone like you deserves to be under good hands, Mary. I believe every sickness has its cure. Keep your spirits up!

Take care and keep your meditating!;)

5:43 am  
Blogger Mary said...

Leslee: Thank you. It was indeed worrisome beforehand but am very relieved to have a good result.

Nour: Thank you so much. And your last sentence contains very good advice! Always good to see you here.

7:09 am  
Blogger Susan said...

I am continuing to hold good thoughts that your tests will continue to turn out with Healthy! results Mary. Take care.

12:59 am  
Blogger Sonia said...

I am wishing the best for you, with all my heart, Mary. Cheers!

2:32 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Susan/Sonia: Thank you. The test results are good I'm pleased to say. :-)

8:28 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home