My first ever comedy gig experience was going to watch Rob Newman with a good college mate when I was in my late teens. I remember three things from that night: me and my mate drinking whiskey with him (albeit briefly) in the bar afterwards, getting him to sign a poster we hurriedly ripped from the wall (that I can no longer find) and the joke about shoes that’s in the first thirty seconds of this clip.
Last Thursday was very much a ‘these are my shoes’ day for me – that the shoes on my feet were mine was pretty much the only thing I was sure about.
I was in a meeting where the conversation had drifted to the sex industry career opportunities available to a colleague (not an agenda item): a hard unexpected snork from me and I quickly felt wrong – thumping chest, light-headedness and the need for fresh air. There was no change after a minute or two so I made an excuse and went to the gents where a quick pulse check suggested I was probably in AF. I tried the Valsalva manoeuvre but just felt woozy so tottered back to the meeting to quietly continue hoping that it’d stop. After about twenty minutes the meeting ended and I thought it was probably a good time to ask a colleague to walk me across the road to the St Peter’s Hospital A&E department on whose grounds we were (luckily) meeting in.
The initial care I got from staff was ace, and apart from ECG pads that stick without me needing to have my chest shaved, I couldn’t want more. But this long-overdue blog isn’t about standards of care or a particular hospital, but shoes.
I’ve always believed I was good at seeing things from the patient’s perspective, objectively being able to review a service or pathway. What I realised on Thursday as I sat Dr Dan style in front of the nurse’s station is that you can’t walk a pathway as a patient until you’re really in patient’s shoes. The emotion, the pressure, the bewilderment all took me by surprise and hugely influenced what was important – human contact, a drink, knowing whether I could go to the toilet and being able to contact the Mrs (thank-you St Peter’s for the free wi-fi).
But silver linings and all that – here’s my chance to walk the cardiology pathway in patient’s shoes, my own shoes, as a mid-thirties healthcare professional turned patient.
I’ll keep you posted on what I find!