Thursday, 30 December 2010

Appointments & The NHS

23rd March 2010


I have arranged for Steve to collect Sophia from school so I am able to go with Kayleigh to her MRI appointment. It also gives us mum and daughter time to chat and go for dinner. We don’t get much time together at all since she moved to University.
She took me round campus and the fruit stall they run on a Tuesday. She was excited about the dried dates they sell there and wanted me to try them. Personally I got excited about the ripe galia melon that was calling my name. I had not had any breakfast and I knew that would fill a gap till lunch time.
Kayleigh gave me guided tour of her dorm and I met a couple of the girls she shares with. It was funny checking the kitchen out and trying to behave like a mum. I am extremely lucky because I do not look forty at all. When walking round campus a group of the syphilis be aware campaigners cornered us. “Girls please take theses” she slips some leaflets into our hands.
Kayleigh quickly explains I am her mother and did not require the leaflet they gave me. Then I started to think about Steve and his escapades at work. Would the man I married risk my health any further by not using a condom if he was messing around.
Her naivety of my situation at home worries me, but does she really need to know.
   
The hospital she has her appointment with is just five minutes away from the University. So we took detour while she gave me another guided tour of the area and her new rented home she is going to move in of campus.

We arrive at her appointment early, but it gives us more time to catch up on gossip as we wait. The receptionist asks “Do you have any music with you or would you like to choose from this list we have?”
We look at the music they have to offer and Kayleigh chooses Michael Jackson.
“I am telling you now you will be moving” I reply laughing to break the nerves.
The receptionist begins to laugh at my reply to her request of music. We take a seat and wait for Kayleighs’ name to be called.
We only had to wait ten minutes and she vanishes through to another room. The waiting for a parent is agonising in any situation. There is nothing I personally can do for her because she is nineteen. Part of me wanted to follow her into the MRI room, but she is no longer a child. My daughter is now a young women who needs her privacy unless she asks differently.
On her return she said “You never guess what track they played. Only Thriller of all things.”
I start to laugh has she describes the full event in detail. How she had to listen to the laughter on the music track has she went inside the machine.  
I was nineteen when I gave birth to Kayleigh and we both nearly died then. We had gone through so much together on our own. Dealing with racism and family arguments. Being homeless and out on the streets in an October month. But it has prepared her she is a tough old boot like her mother or she is very good at hiding it. Her determination to get a university degree and make something of her life has spurred her on. But now she is questioning whether she should have children. This I am concerned about and hope she sees past and realises. Maybe she is questioning the whole ‘life is to short theory’, but personally I don’t want her to make rash decisions. I and Kayleigh discussed a lot of things when she was young, but our relationship has become distant recently. The death of my father has left a gap for her to fill.
I just hope she does not see a child as a replacement.  

The following day I spent a whole hour on the telephone trying to confirm an appointment for my results with no joy.  
Yes I was offered an appointment for the 21st April which I personally delayed on confirming, but what if I could not except that appointment for other reasons. I feel the system they have in place for patients and the waiting time is so inadequate. We hear how they are trying to shorten the waiting time, but in my area they are threatening to close down emergency departments.
The request from the radiologist was I needed a appointment in two weeks time to discuss my results yet in reality I have a six week wait or longer. If there was anything serious would I have been told on the day of the MRI? That is the serious question I ask myself.
I know from my mammogram everything was rushed through and samples were taken the same day. Then it ended up as a four week wait from first appointment to diagnoses. The fact that someone who is not as positive as me has to go through this beggars believe in my book.

We trust the NHS system to provide a adequate service for all, but I do not think it is safe to say it is. With any illness the sooner you have answers the better the outcome for all involved. Because it is not just the patient it is family and friends who are waiting too. I have remained humorous and level about my treatment within this system. Even when trying today to get the very appointment I need to move on. You can understand why people do have their treatment done through private medical insurance. Yet the very people that are treating me are treating private patients. It is just the NHS system and the red tape they have to follow that holds treatment back. There are so many people needing treatment that the NHS cannot cope.
Thankfully the patient services that deals with appointments has given me a number to call tomorrow morning. I have been advised I should speak to the breast cancers specialist personal secretary.

Thank the lord my voice has been finally heard. Rang the Hospital up spoke to my oncologists secretary and they are arranging an appointment for the breast cancer clinic. All that confusion and stress could of been avoided.
Now I have to go for my cervical smear and I am praying hard that nothing comes up on that. The thought of something else knocking me from the opposite side is something I personally do not need, but my luck recently has not been good.

The BC nurse finally phoned me back. She apologised for taking so long to call and gave her reasons. She then went on to give me my results from my MRI. I should be pleased that nothing was found, but a part of me wishes they had. Again I am back to square one trying to understand why my right breast is playing the devil. Even the BC nurse spoke of her concerns and how further tests may be done. At least she understands my worry over the whole thing. My breast is continuing to throb and burn. The hospital is going to arrange for me to have a follow-up appointment, but she could of said we have done all we can and stop making a fuss.

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