Friday 10 December 2010

You just couldn't make it up (2)

I just had a call from my surgeon's secretary.

We hadn't heard anything about my surgical slot for 22nd, so Dave chased them this morning.

The secretary told me Mr Genius (surgeon) wanted to see me on Wednesday for a pre-op appointment!!!!!!!!!!

I've been sent home, 130 miles away, to live on a diet of opiates, fortisips and a cocktail of other drugs for three long weeks. I didn't want to come home, I tried all I could, but here I am. I need an injection every 2 hours or so and I have just spent the last 36 hours vomiting every 20 minutes.**

Like J-Lo at the Ivy, I asked her "Does he know who I am?" I explained that he's operated on me 6 TIMES before and that I saw him just a few days ago as an in-patient. Surely he doesn't need me to sit in a car for 6 hours vomiting in order to sit in front of him for a maximum of 5 minutes, repeating everything he already knows???? Do they actually want to kill me off? (Actually, by now, that might be exactly what they want, lol

Despite my astonishment, I managed to joke with her a little and she's agreed to check that he really does need to see me. Of course, this all adds to my reputation as being "difficult."

If she gets back to me and says, yes, he does insist on seeing you, I will have no choice but to smile sweetly and half kill myself getting to the appointment. Dave will have to take another day off work (£75) and it will cost us £50 or so in petrol. (I told her all this.) Nothing but nothing matters more than having that op on the 22nd.

Oh, the myriad ways they can make this harder than it already is!!

**You'll probably be pleased to know that that's passed today by the way, so panic over!


  1. Pre op appointments are usually very different from regular appoints. They need things like bloods and possibly an ECG ( most likely if you are older or have heart problems. The bloods/tests/ECGs that you had during your last admission are now out of date so to speak.

    They also need to ask you questions that they have probably asked you before. This is because a health care professional who says "but the patient answered that question a week ago and I didnt think that there was any point in asking her again" is going to get in big trouble.

  2. But Nurse Anne, he already saw me!!! If he wants bloods, previously I've had them done here and they've sent them up.

    AND, (shock horror) is it beyond him to phone me? Lol

  3. Oh yes, and if I didn't make clear, he's never needed any of these things before.

    Just one of those "But we always do x so x must be best" moments.

  4. Nurse Anne makes perfect sense but I also expect that these checks could be done at the Royal Sussex instead of the long round trip!

    I'm sure it wasn't always this difficult ... I've had endless battles with schools and universities wanting a medical certificate every time my diagnosed-with-ME/CFS daughters had time off. My surgery charges £18/letter.... and exactly what do these institutions do with the certificates!?? The prevailing attitudes are punitive and assume that one is guilty of swinging the lead... or asking for special treatment for no reason. I have even had to photocopy the packet of Tamiflu tablets as evidence that my daughter had failed to hand in an essay when diagnosed with Swine Flu.

  5. It's pretty impossible for clinicians to make phone calls but I can see your point too.

  6. Bed occupancy in the NHS is a neverending battle. We run at 98% most of the time, so finding a bed for non acute admissions is like expecting the Red Sea to part. We often have patients on the ICU that we send home because it has taken too long to get a ward bed and they are now well enough to go home. Where I work, patients who are having elective surgeries get preclerked a month or two beforehand. The week before they attend for surgery,more bloods are taken...some at the GPs (depends on the type of surgery) but most at the hospital OPD. Its a safety check to make sure that you haven't become anaemic, have some sort of infection or have something wrong with clotting that you are still fit for surgery. Some patients, as Anne has pointed out, will also need CXR, ECG etc etc. Lots of studies have shown that recovery is vastly improved if patients are as fit as possible. Just look at the differences in outcomes between hip ops as electives and hip ops for fractured neck of femur. Its obviously up to the consultant as to whether an op goes ahead or not and he needs all the info he can get. If he is happy for you to attend a different OPD or your GP or not to have these tests then thats fine- if not I'm sure its not that anyone is being difficult. It would be more of a shame to attend for your op and then get cancelled at the last minute due to abnormal blood results that need to be sorted.

  7. Maybe they can get you in sooner?

  8. Was talkimg with a colleague today who gas Crohns, presumably in a different part of bowel, as they have performed as procedure which has allowed her to now lead a relatively normal life ( internal pouch replacing colon), vastly improving her life.
    I hope something can be sorted for you one day.

  9. What an incredibly frustrating thing to have suddenly sprung upon you :( I sincerely hope that, once you've got this operation done, you'll have a very long hospital-free time.

    It seems logical to me that if a date has been set for an op the patient should be told "and we'll need you to come for a pre-op appointment x days beforehand", especially since so many people are travelling long distances to specialist units rather than being treated locally.

  10. Sue D, Education need medical notes to continue tuition , but it is ridiculous that they should charge. £18!! Can this charge be challenged? Education and NHS both ( at least for a little while yet) are both funded by the public purse.
    I get round the medical certificate charge by contacting the doctor myself as a professional, so the evidence is provided but the patient does not have to pay.
    You would be surprised that some parents exaggerate illness because 1:1 tuition is very cosy.

  11. Pam

    I'm sure that the system varies all over the country and between institutions... home tuition is no longer an issue for us, and actually having a diagnosis, we did not have the same problems at school.

    It was 6th form college and university that have these idiosyncratic requirements which I'm sure nobody ever looked at but just ticked the box on a form that nobody ever looked at ... but which caused my unwell daughter to be made more unwell by being taken to the GP for no other reason and the enormous amount of time and trouble it took for me to organise, let alone the fee!

    (PS Glad that we can at least meet here!)

  12. Haha - Nurse Anne - Why on earth should it be hard for clinicians to make phone calls?? Did they miss the 20th Century altogether? Lol.
    God forbid we should tell them about email eh?

    It's that kind of thing the NHS must start to challenge. For every problem, there is a "But we've always done it this way" answer.

    My Cardiologist doesn't do routine out-patients appointments at all. He rings me at home (himself, not a secretary) discusses the necessary problem and arranges appointments to coincide with other Addenbrookes visits to save me time and money.

    Obviously if he then needs to see me, he would, but can you even begin to imagine the time and money he's saving the NHS, let alone the pointless tripsw saved for patients?

    The first time I ever spoke to him, he called me on my mobile 2 hours after I was referred to him!! (Mind you it was an emergency.)

    When he said who he was I nearly fell off my chair.

    Oh, and after procedures or visits, he makes me sit in a comfy lounge with a TV and gets someone to bring me tea and biccies before I drive all the way home again.

  13. Pam - Are you sure she doesn't have colitis? Removing the colon effectively "cures" colitis, but crohn's can occur anywhere from the throat to the anus, so removing the colon is rarely effective - the disease just springs back up somewhere else.

    (Course, if she does have crohn's and is feeling good, don't tell her what I just said will you?)

  14. Sue,
    Well I thought she said Crohns but I may have misunderstood in the past she had a partial ileectomy,external pounch and there has been some cancer. She is very well now. Then colectomy and internal pouch. She is young too, only aout 30. Currently, well
    Hope that continues for her.


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