Tuesday, 2 March 2010

1001 reasons why I *dislike* the British NHS

I'm angry,to express it in a moderately sensible word.
Very angry.
In rage, actually.

Some of you who know me know already, I had an appointment this morning to do a follow up of a follow up of something that is not clear to me even now, to do with my breasts.
In 2005 I had cyst removed of my left breast. It was nothing, they just drained it there and then, and I had the company of a marvelous girl at the time, a girl impossible to describe, unless you see her art and what she can do
She had gone through the same before, so not only she kept me calm and free of worries in the weeks until that appointment, but also gave me a laugh and the hyper reassuring gift of her company on the date.
I had a check up 6 months later, then a year, then I forgot everything about it.
This was 5 years ago, right?

Well...if I was in South America, I would have been seen every 2 years for a mammogram as (though people tend to think we are the jungle and called us *undeveloped*) this is routine for every woman after 40. Same for smear tests. Two years.
And it is not because one has to pay. National Health Services in both Argentina & Brazil are free. One may have to wait a bit to be seen on a routine check up, but they are even getting better at that...

Anyway....just before Christmas, I had been having some sharp pain in the lower left side of my breast, so I made an appointment to see my GP (whom, I should add, has saved my life on the aftermath of the failed hip replacement...I would not have survived if this woman didn't take it up to make sure I was properly looked after).
She said it was muscular and it had to do with my using crutches.

Three weeks ago I got a letter for an appointment at a local Health Centre, for a mammogram.
I got organized and attended.
I was told, as it is normal procedure,that I would get the results on the post.
This was on a wednesday, 3 weeks ago.
On the following saturday, I got a letter communicating that they wanted to see me for further testing, only this was not to happen at the health centre or my local hospital, but the St Bartholomew's Hospital in the city.
I was so shaken up I did not realized it was to St Barth's, but one of Sarita's friends was coming to stay for a sleepover, and her mum (who is a wonderful friend too) saw the letter and called my attention to this...and the fact that is in a very, very difficult place to get when you have mobility impairments of the one kind I have....

I set up to get this changed to my local hospital, the Royal Free, which was the place I had my cyst taken out in 2005....reasonable and easy enough...wouldn't it be?
Well...one would think so, if the NHS worked on something called LOGIC.
It isn't.
It wasn't.

First it took me an hour and 22 minutes (of me paying the bill) to try make the lady in the appointment line at St Barth's understand my reasons to want to change it..... Little Britain's *Computer says nooooo* lady came to mind.

Then I tried to speak to my GP.
(for all this I had to wait a weekend of uncertainty, which anyone who has gone through any kind of health matter would know, is the worse part of all. Then I had to wait for 48 hs without my doctor getting back to me.
Finally I got to speak to one duty doctor, he seemed to be listening and I thought he was, as I got a letter for an appointment at my local hospital 48 hs later.
That was last week, for an appointment this morning.
I said he *seemed* to be listening because today, this morning, I realized he wasn't.
Neither was the lady whom I spoke at St, Barth's bothered with what I could be going through.....

...as today they did...NOTHING.
Zilt, Zero, Nada, Rien de Rien , nadinha de nada...
oh wait...no...
they did do something:
They upset me.
BIg time.

The results of the mammogram I had in the health centre three weeks ago weren't there.
And the consultant who saw me (with a very limp hand shake, I have to add, which makes me distrust people big way) almost spelled the fact that, unless I lied and said I actually had felt something in my breasts they could not see me today.

So I said yes, I have felt something in my breasts...he came back into his own steps (he was actually leaving the room...arrrghhhhhhh!!!!) and agreed to have a look.
He did, noted something in the diagram
They sent me to the mammogram.
Only the radiographer ( a gorgeous aussie girl, but to me she looked like the devil incarnate) wouldn't do it, because I had another one only 2 weeks ago.

They wanted me to wait another two weeks , *until we get the results of the mammogram from St Barth's*
Two weeks?
Another two weeks?
(wasn't that Arnie's line, what was is, Total Recall?)
That got me of on one....

In these times of digitalized everything...two weeks to get an email with the digitalized results?
Two weeks to get something from one computer in some not so distant part of town into another?
this brought back thought of Kafka, but then again, my whole life is some Kafkian joke since 2003.

But hey...if you know me, you know I would not have it, right?
I shouted.
To my poor daughter's embarrassment (but also lesson as to how to get things done) I shouted.
I threw all my health advocacy skills (which I had employed in the five years in which I was one for the Health department to which this very hospital belongs) through the window and shouted.

They got their counceler to try calm me down....but instead I got her to get me seen on thursday.
So, there.
I have another...what? almost 48 hours of uncertainty.
And I'm utterly pissed off.


Vengeance said...

You're so right - the uncertainty while you're waiting is the worst part - and that's the part that they keep stretching.

I wish I could do something to help you.


Memories By You said...

Ugg, i hate incompetence! You have a right to scream and shout! Sending you love and best thoughts. Love ya Ms Peel. DIdn't know you had a blog! I'm adding you as a friend.

MrsPeel said...

thanks guys :)
I have calmed down now, of course, it was good to write and put it out....

Lucy, great!!!!!
Didn't know you had a blog either!!!
Gonna follow you too!!!
Huggzz to you both

David, thanks again... I shouldn't get so worked up with things like that, I know, but at least I know some of my friends had a laugh redaing this, now I'm looking at the good side of the whole thing: it got me writting again...which I haven't done properly for a while... :)
Huggzz to you both too:)