Hernias, Hospitals, and Year Abroad Nightmares

As I begin to write this, it's 16:58 on Wednesday, 29th August 2012. I'm surrounded by piles of clothes, half-filled suitcases, and the time of my hospital appointment scribbled down in my new academic diary. The hospital appointment in question is with a consultant, who will tell me if I need surgery on the hernia which was discovered earlier today, when I had an ultrasound scan. The consultant in question will be the third doctor I will have seen today.

I found this on Pinterest and thought it was quite apt... 

Anyway, I'll start from the beginning...

It all began the other weekend, when I was a bit ill. Long story short, I got better but I still had this constant pain in my leg that just wouldn't go away, like, I couldn't get comfortable sitting down (my favourite thing) so I thought something needs to be done. So, I rang up the doctors last week to see if I could get an appointment with my Doctor, but of course, when I registered with the Doctor at Edge Hill, they completely re-registered me there. According to the NHS, my Doctor is a person I've never met in an unknown (to me) medical centre. I managed to get an appointment with a nurse practitioner (a nurse who can perform diagnoses/prescribe antibiotics and things) and she thought I had an infection, because I had to wee in a cup and something wasn't right there; I was given antibiotics, and got my blood taken. This was Friday 24th. Obviously the following weekend was a Bank Holiday, but my bloods were put through the system as 'urgent' and I got the result back yesterday, on Tuesday 28th. 

Basically, my blood is fine. No sign of anything wrong there. I was, however, told to go back in the same day as this infernal pain hadn't gone away (so obviously it wasn't an infection, as I'd been religiously taking antibiotics), and the nurse got a doctor, because she couldn't think what it could be. This doctor was then hauled in and poked around saying 'Right, can you cough for me? ... and again? ... and again?', after which he said 'Right. It feels like a hernia. We can arrange an ultrasound for when you come back from Spain, if that's alright?' to which I replied 'Er... I'm going to Spain for a year'. The Doctor then goes 'You're going to Spain for a year? On Thursday?', 'Yep', 'Do you have any private health insurance, because you'll need an ultrasound as soon as possible?'. At this point, I told him I'd go and get my mum and ask, so I bob out to Mum, who's sat in the waiting room, and I'm grinning (nervous laughter) and my mum says 'So, what have they said?' and I just went 'Er. The Doctor wants to talk to you, I might have a hernia.'. To cut down this bit, basically, we have private health insurance through my dad's work, so we had to ring around literally every private hospital in the area trying to find someone who could fit me in for an ultrasound, whilst waiting for a letter from this doctor, saying that I needed one. 

This too...

Now to today: I was woken up by my dad this morning shouting 'BECCA! GET UP, YOU'VE GOT AN APPOINTMENT AT 11:00!', so me, Mum and Dad piled in the car (me with a litre of Evian because you've got to have a full bladder for an ultrasound - the worst thing in the world when you have someone putting pressure there) and basically, I have a hernia. We get told then, by the radiologist, that I'll have to find a consultant, and, as we're insured, we rang up the company who told us, before they could find us a local consultant, we'd have to get a letter of referral from the Doctor (as in a GP). We then rang up the doctors, who said they'd see what they could do, and that they'd ring us back when they'd got the letter. About an hour later, we decided to go into the doctors, as they hadn't rang us back. 

It's about 13:25 at this point. Me and Dad go up to the receptionist - a very sullen, unhelpful woman, I may add - at the doctors, who tells us that it isn't normal practice to write a referral for someone who doesn't yet have a consultant to send it to. We then explained the situation. She said she'd speak to the emergency Doctor, but he wasn't back until 14:00, so we would have to hang fire, and so we sat in the waiting room for about 35 minutes. We finally saw the Doctor walk in (we knew who he was because he was my Doctor when I was younger) and saw the receptionist disappear into the back. After five minutes though, she hadn't come back out. Being the inquisitive folk we are, Dad and I walked over to the counter and asked a different receptionist what was going on. This other receptionist was really helpful as we'd spoken to him the night before, and had remembered who I was and everything. He also told us that the first receptionist had arranged an appointment for the Doctor. But obviously she hadn't told me and Dad: y'know, the ones actually waiting for the Doctor to speak to us/someone to tell us what was going on. We spoke to this Doctor, who also said it wasn't common practice, but after about 20 minutes we managed to convince him to write us a letter. 

Since then, we've managed to arrange an appointment with a consultant for 19:30 this evening at a hospital in Cheadle. The consultant who can make or break the Spanish dream. The one who decides whether it's Spain or surgery. Nervous doesn't even begin to cover it.

Want to find out what happened to me...? 


So Much To Do, So Little Time...


As I've said in previous posts, I'm not in the best health. I know what you're thinking: 'Becca, once you'll get out there, you'll be fine! Life will be easy and exciting and you will love it!'. Unfortunately, kind readers, I'm on antibiotics and I have another appointment at the Doctors in an hour and a half. I'm going to Spain on Thursday. Two days away. Subsequently, I'm terrified and haven't begun to pack properly yet (I'm half expecting to go to the doctors today and for them to cry 'GET YOURSELF TO THE HOSPITAL. YOU'RE VERY ILL. THEN WE SHALL OPERATE ON YOU AND YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO GO ON A PLANE BECAUSE OF ALTITUDE. WHY DIDN'T WE CATCH THIS RARE DISEASE BEFORE?').

Anyway, I'm basically living in a blind panic and thought I should share it with you. Please send good thoughts my way and hope that I don't end up bedridden by tomorrow. 



10 Days and Counting!


How are we? Well? Good to hear. I, however, am not. I think I've mentioned my constant bad luck in another post (if I haven't, well, now you know). Anyway, I've not been on top form for about 4 days. I know, right? I can't tell if it's because of stress or because I'm actually unwell, but either way I'm not well and I'm going to Spain very soon. Oh heck.

In other news, I've been spending the rest of my time desperately trying to learn to speak Spanish, finding places to live, and seeing people. Not that wild. This time next week though, the suitcase will be out and I'll be scared to death...

Oh and, my loan went into my account today by the way. YESSSSSS!


Hotel Bookings and the Harrassment of Strangers


Hola! Remember about 3 hours ago when I told you to expect more posts? I'm not going to disappoint you, kind readers. Here's another riveting installment of 'Rebecca "Socially Awkward" Pollard blunders through her preparation for a year in Spain'.

Anyway, I'm going to Spain with my Dad. Not forever, he's coming out for a week with me because I can't function on my own (well, I can, but I'm not going to deny help when looking for a flat), and, as I'm moving to Spain without anywhere to live at first, a hotel had to be booked. To a normal person, the booking of a hotel can be done in a matter of minutes whereas for me and Dad, it has truly taken about two weeks. Well, I say two weeks, what I mean is me sitting down at my laptop two weeks ago and completely forgetting why I actually went on it, then going on facebook/tumblr/twitter. It was only on Sunday when my Dad said 'right, shall we book a hotel today?' that I actually started looking. And look I did; he came home from work tonight and I presented him with a list of hotels within 4 miles of where I'm hoping to live, he presented me with the name of one. After almost two hours of staring at the computer screen saying 'well, this one doesn't say the wifi's free but then the other one doesn't have  parking...' we finally settled on one. And of course it was the one Dad had seen in the first place. But then again, I think they do cake and tortillas for breakfast. All my favourite things in one place. (Cake and tortillas, and also CAKE AND TORTILLAS).

The 'Harrassment of Strangers' part of the title comes from something I believe only people going to study abroad without anyone they know can actually understand. I'm trying to find a flatmate. In England, if I didn't know who I was going to be living with, it would be fine and dandy because chances are the flatmate would speak English and I could at least make some conversation. However, in a country where I cannot speak the language, I'm having to basically harrass strangers to live with me. Which I've only done once. Today.
Basically, there's a group on faceyb for incoming Erasmus students to Zaragoza, and I keep seeing loads of Italians writing on it, asking for a flatmate. I only have a GCSE in Italian, and to be quite honest, I can't remember most of it. Long story short, I just wrote about my situation on this group and someone commented saying that they were looking in the same place, and just out of the blue, my brain pounced and wrote (a more normal, but still what I consider weird, considering I have never met this girl) 'DO YOU WANT TO LIVE TOGETHER PLZ?!!!!!'. As I said before, I'm very awkward. Very, very, very awkward. I've full on spent the past half an hour after writing that thinking 'Oh God I'm going to have no friends ever oh what have I done why am I so openly weird'. But yeah. That's the situation, and I sincerely hope someone else can relate to this or I've just put myself out there as a massive freaky freak freak.

Anyway, muchos besos, etc.!