My mobile had rung but I hadn’t heard it. All I caught out the corner of my eye, while sat at the desk in work, was the backlight of the phone and two updates – the dreaded another thing to add to my list of things to do missed call and a voice mail. I grabbed the phone and lowered the volume just in case it was a private matter. There was ample noise and bustle in the office. The pure over-workings of people in the trappings of their day job that they imagine being an awe inspiring career.

When I read a comment on my blog a couple of weeks ago about needing to chase doctors to get on with things and push the paper machine into action I thought, ‘well that’s what I do – don’t I?’ and realised I wasn’t actually doing that any longer. I had sat back and allowed them the privilege of taking control of my destiny, at least within the care of the hospital. The thing was I had been completely depressed. At a low point that I’d not seen in a long while and my only outlet was the blog; the only reason I found the energy to write about it was just knowing that it was down to me to let others know that the story can always end up being a careful what you wish for affaire because this is what the whole gender thing can lead to. Getting out of the trappings of secrecy and doing nothing can lead to different trappings of loneliness and lethargy of fatal consequences. I was at a point where the most scary part was how relaxed I was about being depressed. It’s was like, ‘Well that’s enough now. Let’s finish things here while they were good.’ An ending to a series that was the perfect twelve.

Despite a few dips back into a trough of black clouds my state had lifted a little through the week. There was a glimmer of motivation enough to call the hospital again and try to get things moving. It wasn’t as if they’d even responded to my last message and so I shouldn’t feel l like I’m pestering anyone. I called and left a message last Friday with a man on the other end who was part of Dr Neil’s team. By the Monday I had a voice message from Carey. Thank God, someone I was familiar with who was normally on reception and at least someone who I knew, asking what I was needing to know about my case as she was a little confused. I had called back in the empty and echoing void of the office staircase.

Where is my damn crystalline pen. I carry the think practically everywhere and it’s not where it should be. I really hope I haven’t lost it. I treat the thing as if it were a bar of gold bullion. It was one of the most feminine gifts my parents had given me. Almost like a piece of jewellery. I’ve been in my shoulder bag. I’ve been in my other shoulder bag, the one where the strap broke in my lunch hour last week and thankfully didn’t go crashing to the ground with all my delicates and the can of Sure for women. I’m sure it’ll turn up – anyway, the voice message.

“This is a message for –” insert any male name you’d like. My female name has never gone the other side of the psychologists door when she, well and he, had both daringly said “Bye Hannah.” while on my way out. You could feel the examiners pen when they said it. Anyway, the message. “It’s been approved by Dr Churchill, funding has been obtained –” the message ran on fast. You know what it’s like when you’re comprehending what is actually being said but some kind of lag builds up between listening and comprehending like a live-by-satellite Clive James show slot. “ – and you’ve been referred for” then something I missed, with the volume down low I just didn’t quite hear it and then caught the word, “– surgery next March. Give me a call if there is anything you need to talk about.”

That bloody pen. Stuck on my mind now and I’ve got a birthday card to give and if there is any type of superstition that I would ever condone is that the pen I write with creatively is the best pen to actually give physical best wishes. Checked besides my bed where it lives next to my diary sometimes. Re-checked my shoulder bag for the third time. Even a bag it was unlikely to be in. I have this horrid feeling it’s gone. I’ve left it somewhere like the cafe or a clients desk and the damn thing has been seen and happily kept. Damn. Anyway, the call.

I sat at my desk with my mobile in hand and my face frozen in shock. I felt everything and nothing all at once. I felt cold. I felt lost. I felt found. It was like oh shit what have I done and then thank god at last. But what was ‘surgery’, did they mean another practice, did they mean they’ve penned me in for fucking surgery! ‘Don’t be silly, Hannah, they don’t do that. Besides, she said March anyway.’ I had to listen again and find out what was said.

I grabbed my cup and went to the office kitchen to make a cup of tea. At least the kettle will be loud enough so I can put the volume up a little and listen properly given the open doorway to all my colleagues. I filled the kettle more than I needed so at least I could be there a little longer and chucked a tea bag in my cup. I pressed the play button on the voice mail message. Suddenly the message came through loud as you like on loud speaker for all to hear. “THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR – ” I press anything and everything on the god-damn mobile just to shut her up. Last thing I wanted was for everyone to hear something about the mental health unit and referrals. Fortunately what I pressed worked, it was the delete message button.

I couldn’t let this go. I needed to find out for sure where I was. I couldn’t go back to my desk and work with this on my mind. I needed to know exactly where I stand so I know how to feel, or at least know how to think about it so I can get my thoughts straight. I grabbed a pen and pad from my desk and headed to the top of the back staircase near one of the deserted offices. It was the one place I might get some privacy and a mobile signal.

I called the hospital and Carey answered. “You left a voice mail for me earlier but I couldn’t hear everything.” I said hoping she would remember.
“Oh yes, hold on I have my notes here from Dr Neil.” she rustled some paper and then bump-spoke some words under her breath as she got herself up to speed again. “So the message I have here, Dr Churchill has approved you for referral. There was no need to have an appointment with him so that is done and funding has been obtained.” This meant not only had Dr Churchill approved me but the funding board had agreed. “You’ve been referred to the tertiary hospital in March.”
“Oh ok, thank you. What hospital is that?” I asked, though at least that had cleared up the use of the word surgery being just a place rather than an operation.
“I don’t know.” she said as confused as me, “that’s what it says in his notes.”
“Could you spell it? I’ll look it up later and find out what it is.”

When I got back to my desk I looked up tertiary in Google. It was either the Cenozoic Era from about 65 to 2 million years ago, well I guess it could be as it felt that long since I was put forward, or it was a tertiary referral hospital that specialises in tertiary care. Okay, may be the latter. It was a general term and not the name of some special hospital in the shadows of the valley. While it was a general term the description does, at least, mention some services that it usually covered; two of which included psychiatry and gynaecology. There is hope for us yet.

I felt revitalised. I got back to my desk but I didn’t want to work. I wanted to go home. I wanted to clean the kitchen that didn’t need cleaning. I wanted to order things around my house. I wanted to throw away the things that clutter spaces and weigh me down and my ability to feel free and mobile. Bring in the new and be prepared. Was this genuine relief that something might happen and I might find my own answers or was it a way of deflecting. Over the next few days I had many thoughts about where I would go from here and how I should feel. What it actually meant was that at least something was happening and I still had plenty of time to think about it; after all I have until March before the referral happens.

I got up again from the light of the keyboard and the word processor hammering out these words. I’m going to check all the clutter on the dining room chair and find that bloody pen. I’ll shift some papers around and the damn thing will be there. I knew I’d looked through all the mess of bills paid and food shopping receipts and general crap that hadn’t been returned to it’s home. Then there was a round feeling between my fingers. Wrapped up in an old receipt. Unwrapping like a birthday present. Then the shine of chrome topped glass crystal stones and pearl white body. My pen.

Until next time.


7 thoughts on “Female

  1. Hi Hannah,

    Do not let them fob you off. Phone them back and ask what hospital, where is it and what are you being referred for. Ask them to confirm all the details by letter. They have not really told you anything other than you have funding. For what?

    I have not read all your blog postings but I have read a number of them. If this is a referral for surgery then you have a lot of preparation to do and it has to start now because it takes months. I spent nearly a year on pre-op stuff and I feel like I should have started earlier.

    YOU are the person being treated and you have every right to ask questions about your treatment.

    • Thanks for your help. The receptionist isn’t privy to all the information so its not really a case if being fobbed off. It probably reads confusing if youd not read from the start understandably. The referral is to a GIC not for surgery and the funding is for that. I’m in Wales not England so things work a little differently when it comes to getting approval to a GIC which will be in England. I have another appointment with the psychiatrist in July so ill find out the Hospital/GIC name then.

  2. I often found it a good idea to take an A4 sheet of paper and write down the 3 or 4 things I really needed answer so and to hand that to the Psych in the GIC. That way I made sure I got my questions answered. I found that otherwise I would forget things

    I hope it all goes well for you.

    • It’s a good idea. I usually take a note book with me for that sort of thing but there is always that one question or answer I forget. 🙂

      Thanks, appreciated. x

  3. I hate it when you lose a favorite pen. I have dozens (maybe hundreds) around the house, and always 2 or 3 with me at any time. I’m a complete pen addict. But you only have to lose one that has become a particular favorite and it spoils the day.

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