Having decided following discussion with a senior hospital medic, that a relatively minor AF operation might be attractive to avoid the occasional heart double beat and very occasional light headedness, experienced over the past 5 years and to dispense altogether with the beta blocker tablets recommended to overcome such symptoms, an half day in our local NHS hospital was arranged for various tests and to have the whole system including the potential advantages and disadvantages of the operation, explained.
Possibly this slight problem arose at at c. age 59 from running a marathon too many or possibly not...
The patience kindnesses and interest from all the hospital staff who I met were most welcome and given the criticisms of the NHS that appear in newspapers virtually daily, almost surprising. There is so much negativity in the media about the UK National Health Service, that I really expected to find the local hospital which is St Georges NHS teaching hospital in nearby Tooting, awful. The reality so far is entirely different.
The staff are friendly and informative and the building is clean, bright and modern. No intrusive questions about insurance, or payment or credit cards which would be the last thing on one's mind having regard to the nervousness usually applicable to any medical procedure.
I arrived arrived slightly early for the appointment with the medics so a visit to the hospital's in house coffee shop was ideal. Interestingly not only was an early morning latte 'just what the doctor ordered' - apologies for the pun - but also its cost at £1.50p and taste, compared pretty favourably with a cup of coffee from one of the usual suspects on the high street which mrs maytrees and I enjoyed later in the day.
The receptionist at the cardiology department was fun to talk with when I entered that department.There then then followed a whole range of blood and other tests with a couple of specialist nurses accompanied by a student, all of whom were interesting, friendly and with conversation that perfectly balanced the medical with non medical matters - such as families work education and house prices.
After the tests there was a meeting with the British Heart Foundation arrhythmia nurse specialist, who analysed the expected procedure and answered the various questions I put to him in a completely unhurried informative way.
The op is due to take place in a week with an expected stay in hospital of about 2 days.
So far at least, the whole procedure seems remarkably speedy with the op being scheduled barely two weeks after being put on the waiting list, human and efficient. Nothing to pay either; yet when analysing the costs of medical services in other countries especially in the USA where currently government is being put on hold while the politicians argue about the cost of health care for ordinary people there, the costs of the NHS to the taxpayer in the UK (including yours truly) seem substantially lower than the cost of health to taxpayers and insurance premium payers, elsewhere in the West.
Still as they say; "the proof of the pudding is in the eating", so assuming of course that I live to tell the tale - more soon.