Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Testing Times

On Tuesday I had lots of tests at the hospital on kidneys, heart and lungs to ensure I am medically fit to undergo a bone marrow transplant. I had been disappointed that I would not be admitted on 6th December but there were still some problems to be overcome before it could all go ahead. There was some remaining cancerous activity and it had been decided that I should have radiotherapy. In addition, I have had chronic problems for eleven months with catarrh and a cough.

Unfortunately, although my oncologist moves very swiftly and happily between the NHS and my insurer, BUPA, not every one is so quick and now I have been transferred to the care of the Bone Marrow Unit. I wrote a letter to the Transplant Consultant which Raymond delivered by hand to her secretary on 2nd November, indicating that it might be quicker to use a BUPA consultant for my ENT (ear, nose and throat). To cut a long story short, the Consultant when telephoning us 10 days ago denied having received the letter but promised to arrange an appointment.

Yesterday, while I was having my tests, Raymond collared the secretary to find out what happened to the letter. She admitted receiving it and said it was attached to my file. Surprisingly just 10 minutes before I was due for my final appointment of the day, with the Transplant Consultant, I received a telephone call on my mobile to say that an ENT appointment had been made at a BUPA hospital on Friday! Only three and half weeks late. Unsurprisingly, my admission has now been put back to the end of January. The Consultant made a number of excuses about why she hadn’t seen the letter and I also reminded her that I wanted to start the radiotherapy. Today at long last we received a phone call that I have an appointment with radiology on Monday

What is disappointing about all this is the procrastination and evasion of truth. It makes you lose confidence in people. Raymond even asked me whether I might prefer to have the treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. If I lived there, I certainly would but it is not just the difficulty for visitors during the time I am in hospital, but afterwards I shall have to attend three times a week for some time which makes this impossible. So I am stuck with the hospital I have been attending (although to be fair there are some very good consultants there). I know though that we are going to have to be super-vigilant to ensure the correct care.

However, I do now feel that although my admission has now been postponed, everything is in hand to ensure I will be fit for admission and, therefore, I should stand a better chance.

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