Friday, 16 October 2009

Which year?

I went to the doctor’s today about the catarrh I have had since starting chemotherapy in January. Several times it has resulted in a chest infection which is not good when you have low immunity as it can turn to pneumonia. However, this time it seems to have developed into sinusitis which is rather painful. It also does not look too good walking around breathing through your mouth.

The last time I went to the bone marrow clinic they were rather concerned that this catarrh problem had been hanging around for a long time and suggested I obtain an appointment to see an ENT specialist so that the problem could be cleared up before I go into the bubble for my transplant. Although I explained to the ENT appointment’s clerk that I needed to get myself as fit as possible before the transplant, she did not demonstrate much flexibility.

Consequently, I told the doctor this morning that I would have to wait until 17th December for my ENT appointment. He looked at me dryly and said, “Which year?” Fortunately, we could laugh about it but it is tragic that the NHS thinks this sort of delay is perfectly acceptable.

To be honest when you visit the hospital it is quite an eye opener. Some people are really efficient, caring and working hard. Other people are slow, unhelpful and inefficient. Having had two bouts of MRSA I look at hygiene much more closely and despite all the training, there are still people who think it applies to everyone else except them. This is a very personal remark but it also worries me that so many of the hospital nurses are so very overweight. My mother was a nurse for years and worked very hard but she was almost as slim at sixty as she had been at twenty.

I am very grateful for all the help I have received from the nurses who have boosted my confidence and so much trouble to ensure minimum pain for me, particularly my BUPA nurse. I think though you have to have your wits about you when dealing with some consultants – it’s great when you can really feel part of the decision-making process, but when you feel excluded, when you have to be passive and everything is done to you, for some people, like me this is pretty unsatisfactory.

Fortunately, the staff at the bone marrow clinic are very approachable and when I go to see them on Tuesday, I should get an update on the likely time-frame ahead of me. The journey into the bubble is now well on its way.

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