Saturday, 9th October, 2021

[Day 572]

The spell of fine weather is mercifully continuing and is what used to be called an ‘Indian summer’. The origins of this expression seem to be lost in obscurity but I believe that the ‘Indian’ refers to native North Americans and a harking back to the conditions that they used to remember. Anyway, any spell of fine and dry weather is appreciated at this time of year. Personally, I like to get December 21st out of the way as after that date, it ought to be getting that little bit lighter (rather than darker as is the case at the moment). After our walk in the park and the collection of our newspaper, we had only the briefest of stops and chats as I had to get back by about 12.30 so that I could set off for my hospital appointment in the afternoon. I knew where the treatment centre was in Kidderminster and gave myself about 40 minutes to go the 12-13 miles. All is well until I was approaching the centre of Kidderminster to joing a large ring road that would eventually take me to my destination. The blocked off road pointed left and said ‘Diversion’ and that was that. If you no idea about the topography of Kidderminster, you would have utterly been thrown because you were sent all round the houses with no indication as how to get to where your ultimate destination might be. I figured out that I probably had to go round three sides of a square in order to try to access the ring road and, fortunately, this turned out to be correct because eventually I found the ring road, sailed past the blocked off access road to Bromsgrove and found the Treatment Centre and its scanners located in the carpark. I did arrive with two minutes before my appointment time at which I was pleased. Then I had to approach 2-3 large mobile units where the scanners are located in the carpark. This is actually quite a sensible arrangement because it means you should not come into contact with any other patients or staff beyond that which is strictly necessary. I approached the door of the mobile unit up a ramp and was greeted with a sign not to force the door but to knock – this I did but to no effect. I descended the ramp and was searching for an alternative entrance before one of the unit staff, sitting in his car, asked if he could be of help. I informed him I was there for a scan and was told ”Oh, we are having our lunch at the moment – go away for 7 minutes and then come back when we might be ready for you’ I decided that it might be a useful and strategic use of my time to pay a visit to the loo before the procedure, which I did in the main hospital. Upon my return to the unit, one other patient was waiting whose appointment was five minutes after mine. Eventually, the door was opened and the person in the queue in front of me was seen first as ‘he was first in the queue. So I waited for about five minutes and then it came to my turn. I have had these procedures before so I know what to expect. Having divested myself of anything metallic and having had a canula inserted for the contrast agent to be administered, I was ready for the off and the whole thing took about 2-3 minutes. Putting all my gear back on, I then had to circumnavigate the traffic system in order to get home. This time, I followed the signs to the Severn Valley preserved railway station and line – this, I know would get me back into the right track, which indeed it did. Evidently, to the people who know the system this is all a ‘piece of cake’ but if you have ever been to that Treatment Centre before, I can imagine that the whole logistics of getting there must have a nightmare. I was very pleased, though, to get home and to have a quiche lunch which had been warming at a low heat in the oven and was easy to prepare once I got home.

This afternoon is our attendance at church day so we were pleased to be back in the swing of things again. We had quite a long chat with our Irish friends from down the road and we have accepted (gratefully!) an invitation to go round for coffee on Tuesday morning. As we happens we have other things to do on Monday and Wednesday, so we shall look forward to this. As I write at the moment, I am listening to a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto on Radio 3. I am trying to remember the plot as I write whilst also listening to the music – but Rigoletto is full of sparkling and hummable tunes anyway (‘La donna è mobile’) for example.