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Those letters stood for That Was The Week That Was, a satirical television comedy show.

I have just had the sort of week that has one muttering, “That was some week!”

It started on Wednesday 26 June with three things in my diary for that day: a hospital appointment, lunch with a friend, and quiz at The Crown. The first two engagements were carried out successfully. I was getting ready for the third when my GP phoned.

She had received a report on that first appointment and wanted me to go to A&E straightaway.Which is where my daughter and I went, arriving at 8pm precisely. And there we stayed until the small hours after all sorts of tests.

Who is Margaret? Not I but there I was in her bed. I am grateful.  She moved out and at 5.10am on Thursday, I moved in.

Dawn had been beautiful – pale blue sky streaked with pink. The end of a very strange, and unexpected, day. A day for which I might award St Peter’s a silver star. 

Top marks for Janice and Sophie in X-ray at that first appointment on Wednesday who noted something, which, as they told me, they would report to my GP. Top marks to Dr Boakes at Hillview for reading that report and for acting upon it so promptly and telling me to report to A&E, which she would contact about her concerns for me.

Also thanks to Carol Murphy at Hillview who first thought my problem should be investigated.

My practical daughter suggested I took my nightclothes and I took a small toiletry bag, which I keep filled with items for emergencies. I also had my repeat prescription form which I keep in my wallet, alongside my donor card, for those times when I am asked “and what medication are you on?” and knowing more information is required than “a pink one and a couple of white ones”. Phone and charger. I also took a stack of reading matter.

During Covid we all learnt a lot about having grab bags ready for emergencies. You get a lot of advice in case of emergency from telephone books. Even the rather skimpy versions of today.

When abroad I would always check the local phone books. Thick tomes like those we used to have, the sort strongmen, and women, would gleefully rip in half.

I would check names for any that were familiar. Thus, I found a Miss Tilbury and her girl friend who were house builders at Diamond Head in Hawaii. Evidently, customers appreciate the special vibes they get from a home built by women.

At the back of the same book was guidance as to what to do in case of emergency. In that part of the world, there was advice as to the contents of a grab bag, and how to progress after hearing the siren warning of volcanic action, earthquake and/or tsunami. Not emergencies we experience in Woking.

A Hawaiian local said an emergency might be a good thing as Hawaiians had become complacent.  That was proved some years later when there was, luckily, a false alarm that sent folk scuttling, seemingly forgetting that advice which should have been ingrained in them from childhood.

We do, of course, have frequent earthquakes in the UK  – hundreds are recorded on sensitive instruments every year – but, thankfully, nothing of the magnitude of those in some other countries. The UK does not sit on a fault line between tectonic plates so only 20 or 30 quakes are violent enough to be sensed by people in this country.

Those eight or so hours in A&E were spent sitting and then being called for some test then back to sit – and read – until the next call.

There were many people already there when we arrived at 8pm. Some discharged themselves. Some were still there when we moved on. We did not hear any complaints about the long wait. Police were present but only as accompanying handcuffed persons. It is a long night for everyone. 

It was eventually decided I should be kept in for the night. But where? It seemed there were no spare beds and I heard the words “trolley” and “corridor”. My daughter followed, determined to stick with me until I was settled.  I was in a wheelchair and was pushed down some of those crowded corridors, which recalled the London Underground during the war with rows of people trying to sleep.

A message came through that a bed was free and off we went, through still more corridors, through, to misquote Coleridge, corridors measureless to man. And that is how I came to be on Kingfisher Ward in a bed with Margaret’s name still above it.

I got in a couple of hours of rest. Not sleep, for I now had pipes and tubes in me and, foolishly, I was worried to do anything but lie still. I also had a bracelet with my name, date of birth, and NHS number and a bar code, as seen on products in shops. This was duly zapped whenever I had blood pressure or anything else checked which must save the nursing staff a bit of time.

I thought of friends and relatives who went into nursing – and came out with lifelong back problems. These beds go up and down with the bed head doing likewise, separately, at the touch of a button.

There were six beds and large windows that were open. This was a day or so after Chertsey had recorded a temperature of 30C – the highest in the country. We were on first name terms at once – as soon as my own name was put over my bed – with E D below. Not denoting promotion to editor but publicising that I was permitted to Eat and Drink.

There were frequent visits to various clinics for various tests. This meant a porter wheeling me along those measureless corridors. This always meant going along the long link corridor. Featureless, but some imaginative person has placed tree pictures on the skylights to give the impression of passing through woodland.  Nice idea.

I don’t know when this passage was built but it is not on the straight and level. At one point, there is a considerable slope up – and down. Extra work for the porters who also have to do the run with a bed containing a patient.

That seems to me to be the sort of architecture used when joining two  buildings. The joints in the flooring  are very poor, leading to severe jolting for wheelchair  passengers. From  recent experiences I know how  excruciatingly painful such jarring can be.

I know St Peter’s is built on a hill but with all the additions and rebuilds it has undergone I would have thought this was a problem which might have been, literally, smoothed out.

Chatting to another patient while waiting for our porters we recalled the old Nissen Hut days when, we agreed, you could find your own way around without a porter, map, or GPS.

The food is OK and the service splendid. A glass of cold milk? It is with me in moments. Bed curtains open? Done. And little things among the patients: there always seems to be someone who has mislaid or can’t reach their call button in which case someone else will ring for assistance and then redirect it.

As for general advice on all things –it is here from recommendations on foodstuffs to hairdressing and the re-wilding of beavers, and grey squirrels – good and sweet or bad killers of small birds and death to red squirrels.

Oh, and toast racks and why are they out of favour? Our breakfast toast would do better in a rack than piled up and thus losing their crispness. As granny would say, “may you never have bigger worries!”

My stay in hospital came at a convenient time, as I was no longer fretting about my garden as, post garden safari, it is just about as good as it gets. My N&M page had been filed. My houseguests had temporarily left so beds and house were in a state of OK. So, a period of enforced rest would not be a bad thing.

And in spite of all of these tests I have rested a lot. I am currently enjoying my elevenses: hot chocolate with a chocolate biscuit from Eileen Beech in the next bed conveyed to me by a passing nurse.

Which started a discussion on Aldi biscuits versus those from Mr Sainsbury. We wondered about talk on the men’s wards – but not for long. My family have been wonderful with visits and phone calls, including face-to-face via WhatsApp with the Dutch contingent, which includes a wander around their garden with the grandchildren and inspection of the ongoing work on the house itself.

There is a family WhatsApp group so my chat with Caroline over today’s breakfast was with the rest of the group almost at once. All the patients seem to have phones and the staff are very good.

I thought they might just report that so-and-so had called but no, they brought me the phone saying so-and-so is calling. Katherine brought me her laptop so I could keep up my unbroken record of filing this page weekly. Son-in-law Ben took a photo to illustrate this page. It was taken just as I emerged from surgery.

The family said I seemed more concerned at getting this page out on time than the surgery. Well, both are now done.