Monday, 27 May 2013

Karma Blog: Aah, Mr Lagrue - We've Been Expecting You.

Now I am here, it's hard to know what to write.
Let me start with what I know;

I had to be in London by 4pm to check in  at The London Clinic prior to my Bone Marrow donation tomorrow (Tuesday 28th May) at 7:45am.

I was driven to Dorchester South by Adrienne, and she and the kids saw me on to the train and waved me goodbye. 
My journey to London this time was different to the journey up for my consultation a month ago - the train wasn't as busy, I didn't manage to bore a helpless old lady to tears with a lengthy outpouring of every significant (and insignificant) event in my life thus far, and there were no acts of kindness to strangers - except me offering one of my Kit-Kat fingers to the lady opposite (which she declined). 

I was in good spirits - taking the opportunity to poke my tongue out at people waiting at any level crossings that we passed, but I eventually settled into a calm, quiet mode. I read some of my book, played "Stupid Zombies 2" (Free in the App Store) ate my lunch, and spent several minutes trying to decide the best place for my holdall. The overhead storage wasn't ideal as for some reason I felt the need to be able to see it at all times (South West Trains is riddled with ceiling traversing holdall thieves who can tell when a bag in outside the peripheral vision of its owner). I moved it to the empty seat next to me, but then felt sure that as the train filled I would inevitably be forced to move it (and apologise) when either an elderly lady with a carpet bag, or a spotty student with his entire wardrobe in a massive rucksack, or a pregnant young woman with a toddler under one arm, and a double buggy under the other appeared, tutting and glaring at me. In the end I put it on the table I was sat at, and hoped that no-one sat opposite me.

No-one did. The lady who refused my finger (now, THAT is a long list) was sat diagonally across from me.

Just over two and a half hours after leaving Dorchester, the train arrived at London Waterloo. I found my way to the Jubilee line and took the 4 stop journey (not to be confused with the 4 tops journey - where you always end up Loco in Acapulco, and any delays to services are heralded by the words "I'll be there....") to Baker Street. On that journey there seemed to be an awful lot of oriental people (Mart!) visiting London, as I was literally head and shoulders above the majority of other travellers.
Once alighting at Baker Street, I took the 5 minute walk to The London Clinic.

I checked in and after the receptionist made a quick phone call to see if "they"
were ready for me, I was directed across the road and told to go through the doors of "The Clinic" - which sounds a but ominous to me.

It took me less than 15 seconds to go from one building, across the road to the other - but in that time something must have happened, because I suddenly became very important.

Before I could reach out my arm to push open the tall mahogany doors of The Clinic, they opened - pulled by a smartly dressed man.
"Mr Lagrue, I presume?", said the man. Having been born and raised in Essex, and being currently living in Sturminster Newton, I was completely thrown by having such politeness aimed at me. I mumbled to the affirmative and was asked to take a seat until someone came out to see me.
Being overdressed for the weather in a t-shirt, sweatshirt and a gilet, I got myself a cup of water and prepared to wait.

My buttocks never got to feel the comfyness of the reception chairs.

Before I could sit down, a smartly dressed young lady with a clipboard came out of a side door. She asked my to check the form she had on the clipboard held the right details about me and asked me to sign. She repeatedly referred to me as "Sir" when answering my questions (such as "When I get discharged on Wednesday, do I have to leave right away, or can I wait as I'm not being collected until about midday" - I felt like a child asking to go to the toilet).
It was almost embarrassing being referred to in such a polite way, and I had to stifle the urge to giggle on a couple of occasions.

Smart clipboard lady went away again, and I was able to sit on the chair for a good 25 seconds before a different smartly dressed man came to escort me to my room. More "Sir"s and "Mr Lagrue"s ensued during the time it took to reach my room and for me to be shown how to call for the nurse, and how to adjust my bed (the two are not connected - its not that type of establishment). Then I was left by myself - until the wonderful Maggie Tan appeared.

Maggie Tan is a Ward Sister at The Clinic. 5ft 2 of fabulous humor and likability, she took my blood pressure and heart rate, measured and weighed me, took the mickey out of my height, and laughed when I asked that she stand up when talking to me. She briefly ran through what will happen tomorrow and checked I had no allergies or any medical stuff they need to know about. She even extended my bed so that my great long legs don't get scrunched up. Then she left me to get settled in.

And that is where I am up to. My room is not luxurious, but I have my own bathroom - with Bidet that I just HAD to try! - and I have TV, wifi, and room service. I have just ordered my dinner for this evening - Smoked Salmon and Haddock Fishcakes with seasonal vegetables and chunky chips followed by a cheese and biscuit platter. 

It's hard to believe this is a hospital! 

So that is what I know. And that is okay.

The bit that isn't okay is the stuff I don't know.

I don't honestly know how much it will hurt tomorrow, and I'm a little scared. I'm in hospital alone, which couldn't be helped, but deep down I don't like it. The last time I was in a hospital I watched my dad die so its probably that which is at the root of all this.

But I will not and cannot forget that I am not here for myself. I am here so that someone else has a fighting chance to live. I didn't have to do any of this, I have had a choice all along. But the person I am helping does not have the luxury of choice - if they don't get my donation they will die. It's a simple as that.

So I'm going to put my fears and worries to one side and step up and say to someone I will never meet, "Here, this is for you, not because I had to do it but because I chose to do It.  I really hope it helps". 

Because there needs to be more of that type of statement in the world.

Something else I'm going to do is play with my adjustable bed. You can raise both the knees and the head so I'm going to see if I can end up in a "V" position by raising both together!!

Doing good is fun!

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