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There's absolutely nothing remotely humorous about a Hospital or doctor's appointment. It's just something you get very used to and - yes we do need them. I've been to-ing and fro-ing for much of the 13 years since diagnosis. Monthly appointments and stabbed so frequently for blood that my body is a not a temple but a colander. I've driven home with arms aching and bruised and the last time I was there - electrocuted! Yes, I testify, I was actually shocked, not in a surprised sense but physically, and yes, I was shocked as well.


I'm an old sucker for clinical trials, I just can't say no. Part of me wishes I could! They see me coming. I'm convinced there is a huge arrow over my head as I sit blatantly reading some old discarded magazine about the next doors wife's husband's fetish for sniffing woman's shoes. I can feel the approach is directed at me and I try to bury my head deeper into the story but usually to no avail. That gentle tap on the shoulder and the clipboard under your nose and you are there! It's another Trial and here I go again - Yeah I'll do it! So you spend far more time that you ought to, filling in forms and agreeing to be poked, prodded, and scrutinised all in the name of science. Nothing new for me last time. I'd promised myself a fast appointment. Ask no questions, don't complain, nothing new, nothing changed, still the same - there you go, I'm outa here! But as usual I gave in to yet another Trial about body mass or something like that! See that's me all over, never really ask what I'm getting into.


I signed the sheets, agreed to spend half an hour in a room at the far end of the corridor - where nobody goes!I Had the grace of my appointment with the doctor first and then when she'd given me a dose of hypothermia and a severe Raynauds attack in a room you could refrigerate wet fish in, I reluctantly went for the usual blood tests. I watched in envy as people went in and out like a cuckoo on a chiming clock. You could tell the one's with Sclero, reinforcements were always called to the room, the expert Vein Hunters, surprising isn't it? Where do they come from, are they hiding?My turn next and as I nestle into the chair, so high my feet never touch the floor. I feel I am going to be ejected through the roof but that comes later. I always get the intolerant sort, the one who has had a bad day and everyone knows about it! My confidence and bravery are dumped on the floor at that point. "I haven't had much luck today, everyone is vein-less and I've run out of small needles." "WHAT! You have no small one's??" My toes curl as she rummages through the drawers of the trolley and out comes a needle so big if I had another I could knit a jumper!


The next bit is by far the most painful. The tourniquet. They wrap it so tight around your arm that the blood hits a dam. So with my arm about to drop off and a lovely shade of blue, she smacks my arm with a flick so hard her false nails almost fly off and in goes the needle. There is a "bwop, bwop" sound as she pulls hard back and forth to draw out the blood but the carriage shoots backwards with nothing but fresh air. "Elsie, I have another vein-less wonder" By this time I'm traumatised, in pain and gesturing that my arm is about to drop off through lack of circulation and excruciating pain from the band around my arm. In walks the chief blood sucker with a confident smile and at least a small needle."Have we tried your feet?" "Oh please, not the feet!" "Okay, we'll persevere with the arm then" After about 5 more insertions there is blood. It's dark, thick and unforgiving. It slowly gloops into the tube before finally giving up but they reckon they have enough."Phew, no really Phew!" My arm is aching and I feel abused and my reaction as I leave the room puts everyone in the waiting area on edge. I'm called to the room that nobody ever goes. Following on behind a 2nd year Medic with a clipboard and brand new stethoscope. I'm asked to lie on a couch crisply decorated with a new piece of paper roll and of course with shoes and trousers removed. She places electrodes on my feet and legs and warns me of a small charge."It really won't hurt, we are just measuring fat." The hum of the machine grows louder and louder until she pushes the button and Zap! I jump uncontrollably as the charge resonates through my body and my hair stands on end! "Oops perhaps a little too much that time!" she says "What do you mean that time - do you mean you are going to do it again?" "Yes but I'll do it right this time" I wondered frantically if doing it right meant total electrocution or just a little tingle but she threw the switch and nothing happened so she'd either blown the machine up or she'd done it correctly. I was extremely happy to learn she had indeed done it correctly."See you next time" Not jolly likely, I thought? So fully charged, bruised and aching minus two phials of my precious blood I leave the hospital thoroughly trialled and released on bail till next time! My life with Sclero is never dull!


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