Friday, September 17, 2021

Bloody Scotland Weekend

Happy Days at Bloody Scotland 2? 3? Years ago?

Today is the first day of the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival. The festival this year, after much thought and deliberation, - and trying to cover any and every eventuality-  is hybrid. They decided to do some live events, some events online and generally have the bar open as long as possible which was the most important thing. 

I contributed in a minor way by providing some covid guidelines. These were the recommendations  sent to my business by a very sensible human being in the council re what to do in events of such size re covid, masks, distancing, sanitisation etc. The language of it was encouraging and more 'do this and this and this', rather than 'Don’t do that!'

A little social distancing, popular events being online as well as live, masks when moving around the venue were recommended. No masks outside, lots of sanitiser amongst the other forms of alcohol that are available.

I had already made up my mind not to go. Just felt it was too risky with the day job, too much cross contamination possible from both sides and to be honest, the rules are now so complex that even well intentioned people are getting it wrong esp "the isolation of a double vaccinated person who has spent fifteen minutes or more  within two metres of a person who has tested positive,  has to isolate themselves for ten days unless  there's an R in the month and Jupiter is aligned with Pluto."

In the next two weeks, we should be getting the booster jab for the Pfizer- the third one. The studies are showing the drop in immunity and the rise in the delta variant are going to have a perfect storm over a cold but wet winter, so we are bracing ourselves.

But the Bloody Scotland event was like a beacon of normality on the horizon. Then a rather weird but familiar thing started to happen; a  strange tingling in my legs, a sense of weakness and, knowing these symptoms, I suspect that my little fracture has fractured again. No trauma, no nothing, just a disconnect between my brain and my legs. 

There was lots of swearing.

I'm now lying flat on my back typing this on a laptop. I’m waiting for notification of an MRI scan, and there’s the problem.

Our GPs are not seeing anybody face to face. It's all  phone call consultations. So many people, in pain, unwell, concerned about something, are waiting until out of hours and calling the 111 system in an attempt to jump the queue or get the attention they deserve depending on the patient. At 111 you speak to a nonmedical person who types the patient's answers to a questionnaire into a computer, that document is then looked at by a nurse. Somebody calls the patient back  within 4-6 hours and tells you what to do. 

Urgent cases are heading right up to A and E. This has resulted in a bagatelle of patients being bing bonged  around the system, often getting no where. Because we do have a truly marvellous system of free health care, underfunded for many years, we have very few private hospitals. The outpatients department at those private hospitals are now fulling up with those too worried or in to much pain to  wait on the NHS- bearing in mind that these patients will not have had a face to face consultation with any health care professional.

To put it in perspective.  Healthcare is free, a scan takes about 6-8 weeks on the NHS – obviously urgent things are put higher on the list- they will scan during the night etc if needed.

Precovid there was a wait of 2 years for  a hip replacement, it's now up to four years in some areas of Scotland. 

My research this week has shown that an MRI privately, normally occurs within a day or two, now has a five-week waiting list. The cost of this will be about £350. One surgeon was telling me that privately, his hip replacement surgery was now at two years due to lack of operation theatres and staff.

And as I can’t really get up and walk around until we see what’s going on with my strange spine, it's a bit of a waiting game to see what happens first where.

 So, its going to be interesting. 


                                                              some Scottish crime writers- best avoided!

    Caro Ramsay



  1. Oh, Caro! It's amazing how you're able to keep up your sense of humor in the midst of all you're going through. BLOODY SCOTLAND will surely miss you as its #1 spark plug. Barbara and I can't wait to return to Sterling and the crew. Let's hope we all get to be there next year along with whatever new orthopedic apparatus we need...or in my case kneed. Barbara's and my thoughts and prayers are with you. xx

  2. Sorry to miss you in Stirling Caro. You were among a few familiar faces who weren't there, for a variety of reasons. Sending you big virtual hugs and lots of aroha.

    1. Thanks! I was just reading your blog and feeling very jealous indeed! Mr Skelton popped in for a coffee yesterday ( he had to make it himself!) and kept me up with all the news. Glad it was a soaring success, I knew Bob had it in the bag but you can never tell!