This morning I have woken up deafer than ever before, and it's all my own fault.
I went to a Pavlov's Dog concert and didn't wear earplugs.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WAS THINKING… I mean I always take earplugs but on this occasion I was so excited I didn't think about it.
Last night after the concert it took all my willpower not to panic as I stepped out of The Borderline and found I could barely hear the traffic noise, and I went to sleep last night telling myself it'd be OK in the morning. It wasn't. My hearing on waking was tinny, my voice sounded robotic and I couldn't hear my TV at the normal volume.
A lovely audiologist peep on Twitter told me I probably have Temporary Threshold Shift, which normally disappears in 16-48 hours but in some cases can be permanent. So I now have a bit of a wait. A bit of a wait to find out whether, after years of doing everything to protect my hearing, I've stuffed it up in one go by attending a 70s prog rock concert.
The only small mercy is that Pavlov's Dog were amazing – apparently it was their first ever UK gig and they chatted and laughed with the audience in between songs. There was a hilarious mix of people there, too. From 50 year olds in suits who'd come straight from the office to hardcore ageing rockers with long hair, black T-shirts and faded blue jeans. There was also a man right at the front who was tearing his hair out with excitement at every song that began and headbanging the whole way through, which seemed a bit out of place, but I imagine out of the two of us, he may actually be the deafer of us this morning.
Anyway, on to other things – I have some more news in my quest to find out and solve the problems with accessibility in the NHS.
As you know, last week I went to see my GP to get a referral to my audiology department because I had dropped off their records, and he gave me a print out with details of how I could book my appointment online for this.
I almost passed out with shock!
Called Choose and Book, all you have to do is go to chooseandbook.nhs.uk and type in your booking reference number, date of birth and provided password and you get given access to the available appointments. No more getting a letter with a 1.30pm appointment and having to change it because that means missing a whole heap of the working day. I could pick and choose and get a 9.30am appointment at a time convenient to both me and my work.
Isn't that brilliant?
It's things like this that I want to know about. Things like this that need to be shouted about so that people know that the services to make things easier are there.
My first experience of Choose and Book appears to be a complete success – and perfectly timed, too seeing as I've just given my hearing a thorough beating up.
And really there's just one thing left to say:
WEAR EARPLUGS PEOPLE! WEAR EARPLUGS!