Friday, 22 July 2016

Little Miss Grumpy

Last week I had an appointment with the Oncologist, a general kind of check up, I thought I would get them to look at my arm, which was more painful than normal and slightly swollen.  So I'm sitting in the usual waiting room, waiting as usual. I've never complained about waiting times, and I've waited a lot lately, because I understand everyone else has needs too, but I waited 1.5 hours today and I was starting to get a bit peeved.  Other patients were making grumbling noises and comparing appointment times, we realised we had 15 minute slots, is that long enough to discuss whats gone on over the last 6-8 weeks? Hmmm, my peeved status was increasing.

Finally they called my name. "Hello" said the Doctor,  "I'm the Consultant's Registrar, sorry she couldn't be here but..." I interrupted him "I've only seen her once and that was back at the beginning, I've seen someone different every time since then, so it doesn't really matter!".  Oh my Lord! Where did that come from? Be nice Alison, be nice.  We sat down and did the usual, how have you been etc, I mentioned my arm and said it was Herceptin side effects, the Registrar said that was unlikely, it was probably the Hormone Therapy. Uh oh!  Red flag to a bull, off I went "I disagree with you there" I told the Oncology Registrar with his years of training and experience. I went on to emphasise that my symptoms had reduced when I had my treatment delayed last month "which proves it's Herceptin" I said rather determindly.  Mr Registrar quite rightly defended his position by stating the majority of patients find their symptoms are caused by the Hormone Therapy not Herceptin. I interrupted him again "Well the manufacturers and the NHS website and other patients I've spoken with all say the same as me, whereas you Doctors all say its the Hormone Therapy".  Why was I arguing with him? What difference did it make? None! But rationality wasn't going to stop me. "I appreciate that until more research is done on the side effects, you will take that viewpoint". I stared him out, not for long because my motor mouth was off again "Besides if it the Hormone Therapy, that means I will have these symptoms for the next four and a half years and I'm not prepared to accept that!".  There! Take that! I'm done! Ha! You and all the others trying to tell me what's going on in my body!  Now, there is a possibility here that I was in a bit of a bad mood, a bit of the grumps had set in,  but did I care? Nope!  Mr Registrar took a deep breath and very calmly, as he probably wanted to either slap me or walk off, explained "In the medical profession we say, Never Say Never, there are Idiosyncratic symptoms which are particular to individuals".  Hmmm, not sure if he was agreeing with me or placating me. "If it is Herceptin, then you will be very lucky because your symptoms will stop when Herceptin finishes rather than lasting for four more years".  My mind was going "No no no, don't believe you", thankfully my mouth decided to stay closed.  I'd been very grumpy and had argued with this man for no real reason other than he was in front of me.  He changed subject to other test results and stuff, I just nodded appropriately. Time to leave. We stood up and shook hands. "Can you tell I'm feeling a bit fed up?" I asked him.  Not sure why, but he didn't respond just did a sort of half smile.  As I walked out of the room I'm sure I heard him bang his head against the wall while muttering..why me?  Poor man, I wasn't the kind of patient you want at 5.30pm on a Friday afternoon! 

As I headed towards the lift, guilt swept over me. Why had I given him so much grief? I had achieved nothing. Oh to hell with it, Grumpy 'R' Us today. Deal with it World, being nice is overated!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Super Heroes and Davids

I have only three more Herceptin injections to go, the end is in sight. I cannot wait to be rid of the side effects, after 9 months it is wearing me down a bit. I'm focusing on September, that's when they stop.  I do have to temper my moaning with what the treatment is actually doing, it's fixing me!  Thanks to the NHS.

The super heroes of the NHS just make it happen.  Those heroes manage to take our sick and broken bodies and with a slice and a dice, or a pill and a potion, they reset us back on track to recovery.  Sometimes that recovery is just about giving us extra time to spend with loved ones, sometimes the recovery invokes a brand new lease of life, other times its simply the cessation of pain, or it can be long and slow and involve discomfort and pain before real benefit can be felt.  All of the above situations have happened to my friends and family during the past couple of weeks.  These situations are not unusual and will be happening to people you know too, week in week out, throughout the country. 

There have been a couple of personal heroes in my life recently, both called David!  One donated his kidney to his wife, just wow!!  There are no superlatives to express that!  The other David, in a much more mundane situation, found me looking utterly despondent and forelorn as I had left my car keys in my desk three floors up. It was the end of the day and I didn't have any umph left, so he offered to get my keys for me. It was the end of his day too and a trip up three flights of stairs was probably the last thing he needed, but I was so so grateful.

Big thanks then to the NHS heroes and the everyday heroes in our lives.