When Ady went to see the Rheumatologist (thank God for spell check) back in December, he said he wanted to see him in three months time.
The receptionist said that we would get one through the post. We thought no more of it, cos we usually get an appointment through the post, and forgot about it.
Well, the postman came with our letter.
It wasn’t with the date of an appointment at all, it was with a bloody 0845 flipping number to ring, to make the appointment. And if we don’t ring within 14 days then we will be struck off the list. (good job we are not on holiday then eh ! So I rang the NHS number and was given a list of about five options. 1 for children, 2 for old people, 3 for mental people, 4 for something else and 5 for some other things plus bones.
So I pressed number 5 and waited, and waited and waited. They were sorry but all the phone people were busy so I could either leave a message or ring back. I took the ring back option, so the next day, I went through it all again , and again they were busy, so I took the leave a message option this time and they would ring me back within 24 hours.
The next day, they rang back and asked to speak to Ady to make the appointment. Ady happened to be out with one of our neighbours at the time, so I said that I can make the appointment. “Oh no” she said, “I can’t speak to you about it because you are not Ady and it doesn’t say anywhere here that he has given permission to speak to you”
I thought to myself, “Bleeding hell, it’s only a bloody appointment”, so she said that she would send an appointment in the post and if he can’t make it, then ring back and change it. Funnily, whenever we have had to change an appointment, they have never had a problem with speaking to me...oh well, never mind, I asked her to make the appointment for after 20th March as he is having radiotherapy until then.
God, all this patient choice drives me up the wall sometimes. Why can’t they just do what they have always done and send you an appointment and if you can’t make it, then ring and change it instead of all this faffing about. It’s only a minor irritation but still....what a flipping carry on!
Last Wednesday was day one of radiotherapy.
Ady’s session time was 9.25. So, I got up at 5.45, had a quick shower, some coffee and fags, let Bluebell and Pepper ( the chickens) out, fed the cats, turned the fish’ bubbles on and at 6.45, I woke Ady and the girls up with strict instructions that we were leaving at 7.35 prompt so no buggering about!
Off I went to get Brian (my elderly man I look after) up and came back at 7.25 (timing is crucial donchaknow).
Ady’s timekeeping is shite, frankly, and he is not that good at getting the girls moving either, so we all set off at 7.47.
I know it was 7.47 cos it said so on the clock in my car when I started it.
Off we went around the back roads to take the girls to school. Well feck me, if there wasn’t a lorry whose twat nav had sent him around the lanes. No one could get past at all cos the road is so thin. Everyone was doing 52 point turns in the road to go back the way we came and take the longer route, so we did the same...bloody cars everywhere and some people simply shouldn’t be driving, and dare I say it, but especially mothers in 4WDs.We managed to get to school and dropped the girls off before making our way to Maidstone. At that time in the morning, we were expecting the traffic to be pretty crap, and it was, going the other way, so we had a lovely clear run and got to the hospital in good time.
We found the car parking attendant. I couldn’t tell if he had a limp or not cos he was sitting in his hut..never mind, we showed him out benefit scroungers paper and he gave us a season ticket for a week.
That was all nice and easy and off we went into the hospital. No burning smells or anything!
We signed in at reception and she checked that the time for our appointment was OK for the next day. Ady went off for his wee and we settled down in the waiting room. I watched the news on the screen and Ady started his 500 ml of water 45 minutes before his appointment.
Ten minutes later, along came a nurse who called Ady’s name.
She came over to us and noticed Ady was just finishing his water.
“Oh dear” She said. “You are supposed to have drunk that and have a full bladder 45 minutes before you appointment and then wait until we call you.”
Ady said “That’s not what we were told the other day, and anyway, I will piss myself if I have to do that”
“Well, never mind this time” She said. “Come with me and we well get you sorted” and off he went with her for about half an hour. He was shown what to do and where to go and given his special shoes in his green hospital bag.
They gave him his zapping and off we went...completely confused about this whole water drinking business and whether he is supposed to go to the hospital, have a wee and then drink 45 minutes before being zapped,( which is what we were told the other day at the mapping scan thingy) or drink before that, don’t wee and hold on for 45 minutes before the appointment.
This whole wee and bladder business is very important, cos you don’t want you bladder zapped or you will end up with a lifetime of piss problems!...His arse, however, will just have to take its chances.
Never mind, we have the MacMillan review tomorrow, so we will check what to do then.
Rather handily, it was about 10 o’clock when we got out of the hospital. Just in time for women’s hour on radio 4. Whatshername does some interesting talks sometimes.
Wednesdays talk was about women and having cancer when you are pregnant and whether to have chemo while pregnant and risk the childs life or risk your own and wait until you have had the baby or terminate the pregnancy and save yourself. Bloody hell, what choice..poor poor women.
I looked over to Ady, and he was fast asleep, so I drove along quietly with my own thoughts about how cancer knows no boundaries. It doesn’t care who you are or what you do, whether you are rich or poor, with child or without, young or old. If it gets the chance to grow inside you, then it will and there is nothing we can do about it.