Last week the hospital called me asking me to rearrange my oncologist appointment. On the basis that I was in the country, not seeking work and very much unemployed I agreed to their proposed time. After all, I’m costing the NHS a fortune so being flexible in appointment times is the least I can do.
I’ve nicknamed my oncologist “oncobabe”. Not that she’s a babe at all. But it does make me think vaguely more positively about a sequence of meetings that started with “You’re a dead man”, progressed to “Here’s a pill to keep you ticking over for a couple of years” and will, inevitably, return to “you’ll be dead quite soon” at a yet to be determined point in time.
The appointments invariably involve blood test, X-ray, meeting to discuss the quickly analysed results and me throwing out a couple of questions about pain and different treatments I’ve read about.
Today I entered the Harold Wilson opened Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and headed to the bloods section. Because I’m not sure how to spell phlebotomy,
I handed in my fast track form and waited. For forty five minutes. The room was packed. The corridor was packed. I assume NHS Direct had been busy over the weekend and sent most of West Yorkshire in for a Monday blood test. When I was finally called I pictured rivers of blood flowing around somewhere in pathology seeking quick test results.
My samples were extracted with minimum fuss. I’m fascinated by the NHS ability to collect my blood with minimum effort when my private sector experience involved hacking at elbows, wrists and even thigh – often by multiple staff – to get what was needed. At least I got wifi when I went private!
Then over to X-ray. My regular chest snapshot. “Why are you here?”. “Who sent you?” … I’m getting the feeling oncobabe hadn’t updated the new computers with this! Eventually I’m asked to say cheese and hold my breath as some radiation goes flowing into my upper torso.
Right, it’s Oncobabe time. Check in at the ward to be weighed. Lost 1.5kg. Good. Waiting room. A slight woman wanders in and calls my name. This isn’t Oncobabe. Today I get the registrar.
This is a little bit of a surprise. But I roll with it. Dr Richardson gives a good summary of my history and even demonstrates some chest X-rays in time lapse fashion explaining where the nasty bits were and how they’re not even visible in May.
She then goes on to tell me that the results from the bloods and X-ray aren’t available. I’d always been quite impressed with the hospital for getting this information to the consultant faster than I could use a lift. No such luck today. I assume they’ll call me back if there’s any bad news.
I went on to discuss ongoing discomfort around my right leg, hip, pelvis etc. She said she’d arrange a CT scan for me to have on return from Chile. Given I’ve had these pains for a couple of months it’s no bad thing. I’m assuming some sort of fallout from the knackered back is to blame rather than an unexpected return of tumours.
I left happy. Until my sister rightly pointed out I knew nothing more than my May appointment had told me. Sometimes not knowing can be beneficial. As long as you’re not worrying. I’m beginning to understand those who bury their heads in the sand when it comes to health matters.