7 minutes.

26th November 2020, St George’s Hospital, London, England.

I’m a glutton for punishment.

What a day today has been.  I checked out from The Lister at lunchtime with a month’s worth of drugs, and a clean bill of health.

The ward sister worked some magic behind the scenes, and I didn’t get ripped off at the hospital car park. I did return to a note on my windscreen though. The lady that had just finished writing it decided to come over and offer me some face to face advice.  Apparently my “parking was inconsiderate”.

It took less than thirty seconds for her to wish she hadn’t found a pen and paper in the car, I’m definitely back to normal.

I got home in time for the school run, and it was great to get back into the daily routine.  Edie was buzzing from the school play, and Sam had won another star of the week award.  I might go away more often.

London bound

Before I knew it, I was back in the car and driving down to St George’s.  It took two and a half hours to get to Tooting tonight, and London traffic was Pre lockdown crazy.  No parking charges at the hospital though, which was nice. Congestion charge is £15 now, and that’s not nice.

This is the first CT scan I’ve had on the NHS since this all began. I walk down the familiar corridors to the Lanesborough wing, and check in.  I have a 6:40pm appointment, as the NHS clearly think I have nothing better to do.

What happened next was amazing, and I may have been party to a Guinness world record attempt. At exactly 6:40, I was picked up from reception.  En-route to the room I was name and safety checked, and all the boxes were ticked.


I put my coat on the hook and laid down.  Next, I pulled my jeans down just enough to get the metal buttons out of shot.  I was cannulated, and the machine made two planning scans.  

I felt the contrast dye coursing hot through my veins, and the real scan was over in 30 seconds. My cannula was taken out, and it was all finished.  From beginning to end, it took just 7 minutes and I was on my way home.

Truly remarkable efficiency from the St George’s radiographers.  The same scan would take 2 hours at St Anthony’s, with all the blood tests and gowns and other nonsense. If I was giving reviews, I’d recommend everyone gets their CT scans on the NHS. Despite plenty of irritation, I’ve had a really good week at the hands of our National Health Service.

I drove home over Battersea bridge and along the embankment.  The south bank really comes to life in the dark.  The lockdown has made me realise how much I really miss London. Or maybe I just miss the things I can’t have.

Scanning waiting room at St George's hospital, London
The scanning waiting room at St George’s Hospital, University of London. November 2020
Battersea power station, London at night.  Taken from the north bank of the Thames
The new Battersea power station on London’s south bank at night. Taken from The Embankment. November 2020