The alarm clock this morning resembled a blood-curdling shriek. Hauling myself from my pit at the regular time of 7.30am is bad enough; but today my day began an hour earlier. Having suffered from the drearily unglamourous condition of Type 1 diabetes for forty years now; on a fairly regular basis I attend the diabetes clinic, where the doctors and nurses hum and haw at my file, make some suggestions to me and send me on my way to injection happiness. Some days before each appointment I present myself at the hospital for bloods to be extracted for analysis in time for the real appointment.
The blood clinic opens at 7.45am. Not wanting to be late for work I was present and correct at that time. If you are first to arrive you are first to leave. I handed the gentleman taking the blood my appointment card. He typed into his computer.
‘I have nothing on the system for you’ he said.
I gave an indulgent chuckle.
‘I received a text message last week to remind me, old boy’ I replied.
‘A lot of text messages get sent around here, the clinic never placed an order for your blood though.’
‘Never mind my good chap,’ said I in my best Fine Gael poshboy voice, ‘Can you please check that computer there and take whatever you took the last time?’
‘Oh I know exactly what samples to take, but without an order I’d be taking unauthorised blood from your arm, and I am not allowed to do that.’
‘What poppycock’ I thought to myself. ‘Is there anything I can do then – my appointment is on Wednesday.’
‘I suggest you run over to the clinic, get the nurse to put the blood order in the system, come back here, and I’ll help you. Don’t bother queuing when you come back – I’ll see you first’
Hissing internally, I thanked him and made my way towards the diabetes clinic. And promptly got lost in the labyrinth that is St. James’s Hospital.
After a frenzied sprint around the hospital I eventually found it, explained my predicament to the nurse on duty. She typed a few instructions into the machine and informed me that I could now have blood withdrawn.
Back at the blood clinic I proffered my arm and fifteen seconds later I was free to go.
I’d be working from home today – despite my best efforts to get things done early, it was already 9am.
As the tram approached the hospital tram stop, a haggard looking gentleman with a fag dangling from the side of his mouth started his proclamations.
‘Ladies and gentlemen, please board the tram for the St. Patrick’s Psychiatric Unit.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the stop for the lunatic asylum.’
Now I have no way of guessing what was inspiring this outburst. If I was to hazard a guess, I’d say that a few sociables had been imbibed that morning already, or perhaps more likely he was acquainted with the services of St. Patrick’s Unit. I have no way of ascertaining for sure though.
Another week begins.