On Thursday I needed a doctor's appointment. I thought I was suffering from Bruxism and was controlling the resultant pain with painkillers which was proving to be a moderately successful strategy. When I was told my doctor wasn't available until Tuesday I thought I could wait and manage with painkillers until the appointment.
On Saturday I reached a point where the painkillers were no longer working, the pain was intense and I needed help.
It wasn't an emergency because I hadn't broken anything and I wasn't going to die so A&E was out of the question. I didn't want to trouble an out of hours doctor who might be on call so, in tears, I drove to the local Community Hospital. There was a sign pointing to the side of the building for the Out of Hours service. I went though the doors and was met with advice to use antibac gel to keep germs at bay. There was no gel dispenser to be seen.
The Out of Hours service seemed to be through doors that were locked. There was a sign on the door stating that it was a wheelchair and ambulance access only and all others were to use the main entrance. I walked, in tears and in the rain, round to the main entrance to find that was also locked. A security chap poked his head through a window and when I explained what I was looking for he pointed me in the direction of the doors I'd tried initially. I walked, frustrated, in tears and in the rain, back to the first set of doors and used the intercom.
I was asked what I wanted and I explained. I was asked whether I had an appointment and when I said "No." I was told I needed to call my doctor to get an appointment. He offered to come out and explain.
In tears and very frustrated and called my doctor and handed over my details for an appointment at the Out of Hours doctor based at the Community Hospital. I was told I'd get a call.
The chap at the hospital came to find me mid call to the Out of Hours service and let me in. He explained my details needed to come through on the system before I could see the doctor. I could tell he thought I was a case deserving pity and I heard him talking to someone in an office who needed to know I was already there and in a lot of pain. He was right, by the way, I was pitiful.
About a minute later my details popped through onto the hospital system and I was in seeing the doctor with the bad body odour. The BO is immaterial but when you're in pain and want to get better being overpowered by BO isn't great.
He told me he didn't think it was an abscess (which was the result of my own self-diagnosis) but he wrote me a prescription for antibiotics anyway. He told me I needed to see a dentist. You see if it was an abscess then I would need to see a dentist but bruxism is caused by mental health factors which can't be fixed by a dentist. It probably can't be fixed by a doctor either but he has more of a chance of knowing what needs doing.
I asked if there was an out of hours dental service and he laughed and said getting to see a dentist was a nightmare. He told me that if I turned up at A&E they might have a dentist on duty. This wasn't overly reassuring.
I left, having had no sight of any antibac gel, with a useless prescription and a growing sense of despair.
I still have pain. The painkillers are barely touching the surface.
I'm off to see Derren Brown tonight. You might think I'm mad but distraction is a good cure for pain. Additionally there is just a tiny bit of me that is hoping that Derren might somehow hypnotise me and make the pain go away. This may seem like clutching at straws and you'd be right, but sometime straws are the only things left.