Monday, 30 July 2007


In the television show of the same name, I believe (despite the plane crash, the polar bears, and the Others), they all seemed to be lost on a rather splendid beach. And the weather was nice too. Me? I was lost in New Cross Hospital today. Twice. And that's just inside. I was lost outside too. Twice. My sense of direction has always proved a delightful old giggle to my less geographically challenged friends, but today I was on my own clutching only a yellow piece of paper that entitled me to a chest X-Ray, commissioned by Dr Coocachoo, in his ceaseless bid to find out what is wrong with me. I got to the hospital with no problems at all, the legacy of my absolute clumsiness and being the mother of a fearless 8 year old has meant that I can at least find my way to A&E.

I walked confidently to the site map which told me You Are Here. And the Radiology Dept was a very long way away. Next to the Dermatology Dept. And not in a straight line. I tried looking at the map with my head at a 90 degree angle to see if this would give me a clue. It didn't, but I set off anyway. I walked in what I hoped was the right direction, through 3 car parks, past the neurology block, the diet & nutrition block, and some portakabins. No sign of either Radiology, or Dermatology. I tried a shortcut(!) but then cam back again when I got to some dustbins. I passed the maternity block & thought about going in there, not because I needed them, but because they must be accustomed to hormonal women who have gone a bit daffy & therefore might help. I decided I could sort it out myself. I rambled a bit more & found a side exit to Dermatology! This must be the way! I followed it, saw a sign to Radiology and followed that too! I ended up in a Loading Bay.

I retraced my steps, saw where I'd gone wrong and finally got into the Radiology Dept. I followed some people up the stairs, after having seen that X-Rays was on the 1st Floor. There seemed to be a lot of stairs. I came to the top, ambled up & down the corridor, walked almost into a ward that appeared to house heart & lung transplant patients & walked swiftly away again. I stopped to ask a nurse who said it was right down the other end of the corridor. I duly walked there & saw a sign for X-ray. Interventional X-Ray. I don't know what that is, not helped by me misreading it & thinking it said International X-Rays. But it wasn't where I needed to be. I stopped & asked the receptionist who told me I needed the floor below. That explains all the stairs then.

I tried the lift this time, got to the right department, just had to wait a little while, & was then shown to a little room where I was invited to strip to the waist. Ah, now HERE is the life that late I led! I was a little nervous about the gown if I'm honest. I know they're very skimpy & they don't always meet at the back. I did as I was told, to find that it could have wrapped round twice & it was longer than the skirt I had on. I am such a floozie! X-Ray done & dusted, I was pointed in the direction of the Way Out sign. Seems very straightforward. I ambled about for about 15 minutes before becoming involved in this little snippet of conversation:-

Me (spying a porter in the distance) Excuse me! Excuse me! Could you just tell me please where is the Way Out?

Porter: Which Car Park are you looking for?

Me: I'm not looking for any car park.

Porter: Where is it you want to go?

Me: Out

Porter: Just out?

Me (finally overcome by the stupid getting lost business) Yes, just out. I've been walking up & down for ages & if I can't find my way out, then I'm just going to slump in the corridor, & then I'll end up being admitted & there's nothing wrong with me, apart from the fact that I'm lost.

Porter: It's just there, madam.

Ah. I see it now. I find my way to the fresh air. I never thought I'd see fresh air again. I walk confidently in the direction I believe the bus stop to be in. And end up by the bins again. But I think they were different bins this time. I walk the opposite way & finally find the exit. I'm free! I'M FREE!

Dear lord, I know you don't hear from me very much at all, or in fact hardly ever, but if there is to be something wrong with me, please don't let it be the sort of something that I have to go back to the hospital for...


belle said...

Oh Tina, I think you may possibly be the only person who is as geographically challenged as I am! After working in various hospitals for many years I could still never find my way to x-ray unless there was a coloured line on the floor to follow...

Tina said...

That was exactly the problem Belle! No coloured lines! I'm going to write to them & suggest coloured lines on the floor. It's either that or I throw myself into the path of a car & then A&E might redirect me when I get there...

belle said...

Don't bank on it Tina, I used to work in A&E and would rely on the patients to get me there. The moral is, if someone works for the NHS they probably got lost on their way to x-ray and are still looking for the way out. You had a lucky escape my girl!