I had to have blood taken today, but when the nurse called me I remained seated. Luckily she did not remember me, although I remembered her all too well from my Maroon Day last year when she was less than focused on the situation.
It is because of this that I specifically asked to see another nurse this morning.
I named the one I did not want to see, and the reasons why. The Dr laughed and said that he had to remain professional but he could see that there were possible reasons why many people didn’t want that particular nurse.
I was glad.
So when I turned up this morning I was pleased to book myself in with the correct nurse.
That’s when it all went wrong.
My nurse, a kindly and gentle woman, was being called on by this other nurse to help her with patients and then, for me, disaster struck. Nurse W (my selected practitioner) began to run late with her appointments. I was in the waiting room for nearly an hour before I first heard my name being called.
Instead of rising to my feet I looked downwards and ignored the call.
It’s a strange sensation hearing your name being called and totally ignoring it. I knew that it was me, and not some other Marjorie Morgan, that was being summoned, but it was Nurse X who was striding across the waiting room yelling out my name.
As I sat there, trying not to draw attention to myself, I noticed other patients looking around. I think I was more obvious than invisible because I realise now that I was the only one not looking around for this mysterious Marjorie Morgan: I knew where I was.
Nurse X went back to Nurse W and from down the corridor I could hear her saying, “The patient you asked me to see ... I’ve called her, but she’s not here. Have you already seen her? That’s strange. I’ll ask the other nurses.” From the one-sided conversation I knew they couldn’t understand where I was. Yet, I stayed still.
I hadn’t yet decided how I was going to announce my presence to the receptionist again, but I knew I was not going in to see Nurse X and so I sat and listened to the search for me.
“I’ll call her once more,” said Nurse X as she came back to the door of the waiting room.
“Marjorie Morgan!” she bellowed. Heads all seemed to turn towards me. No movement. I stared straight ahead. “Well,” Nurse X exclaimed, “that’s strange. I’ll just get the next patient. John Smith?”
As the door closed behind them both I got ready to get up and go to the desk. I knew the other patients would find this a strange situation but I didn’t care. However, I was saved from that move because at that moment Nurse W came to the door with the Dr laughing behind her, “Marjorie”, she said as she looked at me.
“Yes,” I replied as I walked towards her smiling face.
“The Dr just told me the story. Sorry for the wait. Could you just sit here while I finish with another patient?”
I sat outside her consulting room as she dealt with another of Nurse X’s patients and waited some more. I didn’t mind waiting. I just was determined not to see the giver of pain that day.
Nurse W said later that she would say I was in the toilet or something. I said I’d rather she didn’t lie for me, but I knew that it could be professionally sensitive for the other nurse (and the rest of the staff team) if she knew the real reason for my refusal to see her.
With numerous vials of blood drawn I walked back through the waiting room and met several glances of curiosity that were dying to know why I was in plain sight (and hearing) but refused to answer Nurse X’s call.
They may never know until they, like me and several other patients, experience the rough and unforgettable treatment at the hands of Nurse X.
I’ve never done that before. Been in plain sight and purposely hidden. It felt odd. But I was protecting myself, so that felt right.