The label of just another “neurotic” patient yet again strikes hard. This word does not even have to be directly said to you. It is just the fact that an individual’s tone of voice or actions can actually lead to this assumption when you are not being heard.
One of the chemotherapy side effects is the urge to sleep. Yesterday I fell asleep and woke with my forearm throbbing and found fifty pence sized lump. Now this nasty lump could have been there before I fell asleep I honestly cannot remember the if’s and what’s, so like a good little patient I ring the emergency number in my chemo book for the big CC hospital to get advice. I had gone down the list of things they say to look out for in the book. And it does not mention anything about lumps on forearms. Straight away I get through to a female out of hours oncologist who we’ll call Miss B. Now on speaking with Miss B I straight away had the feeling what I was saying was not actually being heard. I explained how this lump had developed on my forearm where the veins were damaged from chemo. After a very brief conversation on the phone she said well it sounds like just damaged veins which will sort themselves out.
I placed the phone down and for a minute or so I inspected my arm further. Straight away I say to myself nope this is something that needs checking one on one, so it meant a visit to a different Hospital to get a second opinion. It is 7pm and off we go to the big N hospital like a family outing.
Chemo patients know the worst place to hang out is an A&E department, but ten minutes later on arrival I’m taken into the emergency department. After two hours of waiting finally I’m seen by clever Mr C. on closer inspection he diagnosed a cyst. Now cyst are not an unusual side effect of treatment in fact they are one of the must look for issues that can develop, so why didn’t this out of hours oncologist pick up on this? Did I explain the symptoms wrong? Well I did say it was a hard prominent circular lump.
On waking this morning I decide to ring the chemo unit to update them of last night’s events. Their reply well you can make a complaint to your oncologist at the next appointment. My reply look I’m tired and all I want is this treatment to be finished so I can move on.
|A cyst and a damaged vein Whooopppieeee!|
But the truth be known how can I actually complain to handsome Mr L when he too is echoing the same behaviour. Your team is the extension of who you are. I understand that handsome Mr L has other patients to attend, but I can’t help having the opinion that I am just a number when it comes to meeting a cancer patient’s needs; this includes one on one emotional support which develops trust between you and them. Mistakes can happen, but this was a mistake that could have determined and still can receive my next cycle of chemo.