Wednesday, 30 September 2015

In a hole - 53000 thanks!

I'm full of holes - well four - but it's enough.

Here's how I got them;

I had to go up to Charing Cross hospital for an infusion for my spine at 1130 am so we were aiming to be there for 9-00am for my blood samples to be taken so that they could do the tests in time.

We drove to Hounslow West, found a parking space and made the long walk to the Tube....except that when we got there the station was closed and the whole Bath Road into Hounslow was shut - it was chaos everywhere. All the roads were blocked, the busses were lost. 

Chaos in every direction.

I was furious - there was no way of getting to the hospital in time and I was told by a police officer the tube would be shut all day.

At the time it was obvious there had been a fight - if it was a suicide the road wouldn't have been shut.

It was just as obvious that it had happened at night because people don't get into that kind of argument at 8 am.

So, if there were forensic tests to be done there was time to isolate those areas and leave the road open.

Back at home I discovered that they opened the tube up at 10 00am anyway.


So, because I didn't know that I started roaming the back streets and alleys of West London trying to find somewhere to park near another tube station, which was impossible, of course.

We ended up driving all the way to Brentford and catching a bus instead. Except I had negative money on my oyster card because I was going to fill it up at the tube station.

We got to the hospital an hour and a half late, tired out and annoyed. I would have even thought about getting a cab - except I'd run out of cash - I was going to get some on the way home.

Hole 1.

So I struggled into hospital and took up my place in the huge queue for phlebotomy.

There was nearly a riot.

We used to have two phlebotomists and two spare chairs which meant that when it was busy the receptionists could help out by taking blood samples to cut the queue.

Except that the hospital has just spent a lot of money remodelling the clinic (why?) and now there are only two chairs instead of four and they privatised phlebotomy.

It takes even longer than it did before, the phlebotomists get paid less with less benefits, it costs the hospital more and everybody is unhappy except for the private healthcare providers who are mugging us all.

Holes 2 and 3

So when I sorted out the blood test we got lunch and struggled back to wait at Chemotherapy, where they were so overwhelmed with people they needed extra chairs.

I had my canula put in by a very nice nurse called Paul who was practising, so it took two goes to sort it out.

We got out at about 2-30 which was a bit of a miracle, I got some money on Hammersmith Broadway and then we caught a bus back in the middle of school kids rush hour.

Then we drove to West Middlesex hospital because Robyn needed to see a friend there who is seriously ill.

I dropped her off and searched for a space so I could park for free and then when I got back I couldn't remember his name so I couldn't find them. I spent some time accidently wandering around all the places I connect with the time when my cancer was really raging.

I ended up sitting in the little garden by the side of West Mid's front entrance.

I don't know why I did that because I knew it was going to annoy me.

In the olden days, farm labourers would be laid off work in the winter and a system of 'Poor Relief' developed so that they could survive till spring when there was work.

In 1834 that all changed - our great rulers decided that the poor were having it too easy. No more payments, now if you couldn't manage you were sent to 'The Workhouse' in Oliver Twist.

Once in you never got out. Families were separated, partners were too. So husbands and wives could only see each other on Sunday afternoons for an hour. Everyone was given pretend 'work' to do, like in prison.

This horror lasted from 1834 until 1947 when our present system of Social security and the NHS was established.

Except that the old buildings were retained and used for the new National Health Service.

So were the terrible attitudes too.

West Middlesex Hospital was previously the 'Parish Union' for the whole of Middlesex. In other words, because The Poor Law Commissioners' felt that the parishes were being too generous they were merged into giant Workhouses like West Mid.

These were hated institutions and rightly so. Their abolition by the 1945 Labour Government was hugely popular.

So as West Mid has been selling off its precious land for development what has it been doing?

Saving the foundation stones from the hated Workhouse buildings.

Here's a couple;

Me, I would have destroyed them in a ceremony and then had an artwork made from the fragments.

Alternatively, there would need to be some historic explanation and a little memorial to the victims of a system that was designed to punish the poor......for being poor.

Anyway, after all that ranting,  thank you for taking the Blog to 53000, it is very much appreciated on a really lousy day.

Hole 4?
I needed my injection when I got home.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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