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Thursday, 12 August 2010

It Started With A Snore - Part 6

There are many ‘least favourite aspects’ of hospital attendance but I think the waiting around is in my Top 5. The NHS have, over the decades, become quite adept at giving the erstwhile patient the semblance of progress without actually delivering it. At the ENT clinic, for example, we first joined a relatively large group of people in the main waiting area. Then we were called in by the nurse acting for the consultant. The more optimistic might assume that this was the appointment, but no, this was for a few brief tests and form filling. This having achieved whatever it was intended to achieve, we return to the main melee before being called again. Is this the appointment? Is it bunny rabbits! This time we are corralled with another group of people, all of whom were called from the main waiting area some time before us and who have been fighting for the few available seats in this corridor, leading to the great one’s rooms, ever since.
All of this would be bearable if the reading matter available offered any likelihood of entertainment. Where do they get their magazines from? On my last visit, the choice consisted of “British Show Pony Monthly”, “Distribution Handling” and “Hello”. It says something about me that I was drawn to “Distribution Handling” but who in their right mind donates these magazines? At best, the first two must have a very specialised and limited audience and the third one probably should have. Why they feel the need to foist their arcane choices of reading matter on the sick and the lame is beyond me. You would think that some enterprising magazine publisher might have seen the possibilities of such a captive audience and filled the waiting rooms with their offerings, gratis.
Eventually, I reached the consulting room of my ENT specialist and he gave me the results of my second sleep monitor test (called for, apparently, because they found it difficult to believe the results of the first attempt). Yes, I have sleep apnoea. Not only do I snore stentoriously but I also stop breathing, quite frequently, for periods of up to a minute at a time. He went through a range of options, the majority of which wouldn’t work for me, and recommended a surgical intervention followed by a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airways Pressure) machine if that didn’t do the trick. The surgical intervention was a ‘limited palatoplasty’, which sounded to me like one of those weird Australian marsupials:
Oh yeah, Bruce, what you’ve got there is one of them Limited Palatoplasty’s. They’re kinda cute but they bite like buggery and they’ve got a poisonous snout. Go great on a barbie though!
His view was that, whilst this was unlikely to provide a cure, it just might do so and was therefore worth a try. I signed the requisite form and awaited my date with the laser.