The receptionists at the private hospital barely looked up from their computers. The one I chose stretched out her arm and grabbed the forms with my personal and payment details. “Do you have your card? I need to swipe it. No money will be taken but your card needs to go through the system.” She handed me a receipt for £0.00 and waved me away. “Take a seat”. She still hadn’t looked at me.
Mr. Mistry was a nice Indian doctor. The higher up the medical food chain you are the less fancy your title. A consultant, an expert in his very particular field, with years of experience, is plain Mister. Mr. Mistry is a cardiologist; I liked him and was willing to trust him. He read the GP’s letter, my notes, flicked through the test results and turned his professional gaze on me.
Less than an hour of questions and answers later he was ready to give his conclusions. I’ll live. No operation necessary, no drastic treatments needed, an increase in beta blockers will probably do the trick. AFib is very common and although ablation has become fashionable, there are unpleasant side effects and the operation is not always successful, nor is it without its dangers. I am wholly relieved; the idea of having a bit of my heart burnt off was not something I relished. Now I know, and spending whatever it’s going to cost me was worth it. He answered all my questions patiently and exhaustively. For me, knowing is half the battle won.
I’ll go back to the trusty old NHS with its friendly GPs, nurses and receptionists for medication and, if the condition at some time again necessitates urgent treatment or hospitalisation, I’ll know that the NHS will be there for me. And I won’t have to pay a penny.
I’ve been gardening all day today; I am tired now but have managed to keep elation and excitement within sustainable bounds. Mustn’t overdo the happiness. I’m still allergic to it.