The other week we had to take mum to the Outpatients clinic in Huddersfield for a follow-up session with her doctor in which he decided her blood pressure was a little high (without any sort of quantification and somewhat at odds with her own doctor who had seen her the day before and said she was fine) but released her, as it were, into the wild to fend for herself.

What was a completely soul-destroying about that meeting was that it lasted about 10 minutes, and we waited nearly two hours for mum to go in. We felt a little bit short-changed, in all honesty. Having waited for so long, we expected something a bit more substantial than what we got – she didn’t even have to hand in the urine sample she had lovingly clutched all the way there, then lost, then found when she got home again. At least, we assume it was hers she came home with…

Today we were back at the Outpatients clinic enjoying the sights and sounds of the Ear, Nose and Throat department where mum was summoned to have her eyes looked at in more depth than the doctors in the hospital (i.e. something a bit more high-tech than just “can you see my fingers wiggling if I hold them here?”).

Having been bitten by the lateness bug last time, we turned up not expecting much. We got to the waiting area – which was full of people with ears, noses and throats, and as a collective unit our hearts sank as we saw all the messages about late running clinics scrolling across the bottom of the screen. These were some seriously late running clinic as well, we’re talking 90 minutes late. If you’re going to do late, you may as well do it properly.

We settled in for a long wait, especially as mum’s letter just said she was seeing an eye specialist, as vague as that. So we had no idea who she would be seeing (partially, at least… ho ho).

We’d been there about five minutes and someone came and got her. And took her away. And she was gone for about half an hour. And then she came back and it was all done. And there was nothing else to say apart from the fact that she’d be back again in three months for another test. We left the waiting room seven minutes after her appointment was supposed to start – somehow she’d lucked her way into the only person in there who was running early.

We weren’t bloody happy about that either.

Because any plan after that – in which we were going to take mum for some tea somewhere so she could indulge in her new hobby of complaining about how stuff doesn’t taste or smell like it used to (her current target is anything potato-based)  – was out of the window due to the fact that we were too bloody early to dine unless we were a child coming home from school. Which none of us were.

The NHS is a wonderful beast, it really is. Mum wouldn’t be where she is now without them, I have no doubt about that.

But they really know how to bugger up your afternoon…