Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hurry up and wait

We spent nearly 8 hours at the hospital today, but it was eventually productive.

We arrived at 8am, parked the car in the multistorey carpark, and went for a blood test which was done promptly. We then walked to the radiology clinic (outside the hospital) for a 8.45 appointment. We were early for this so were prepared to wait, but at 8.30 I was ushered into a cubicle, told to put on a gown and left there, sitting on a very hard wooden bench with no reading material. By 9.15 I was a mess. No-one had come near me, I had heard the CT machine operated twice on people who had turned up after me and we had been advised that processing the films and preparing the report would take at least two hours when I had a 10.45 appointment with the oncologist. I was really stressed out.

Finally, they were ready for me and the scan started at 9.40. More problems. I needed to have a dye infusion and they couldn't pump it in - first one arm, then the other and a third attempt on the original arm. Success at the price of an aching arm because I had to hold it up straight while all this was going on. The scan itself took almost no time.

More waiting faced us, but we decided to walk down to Subiaco Square and have a coffee rather than sit in the waiting room. We collected the films at 10.30 and went to the oncologist's rooms. More waiting. At least this time Kevin had something interesting to read - he had spent over an hour waiting for me with only New Idea and Woman's Day available as reading material (he reckons he can now answer any quiz question on Brangelina) - but the oncologist has aviation magazines.

By the time we left his rooms at 11.45 we had received some more bad news (there are some small tumours on my lungs) but had treatment organised for the whole shebang. I am to start chemotherapy on New Year's Eve for the first of 12 fortnightly cycles. We were advised to make an appointment at the chemotherapy suite for an information session. We asked for one today, not wanting to drive all the way back, but could not get one before 2pm. So, yet more waiting. We had lunch at the hospital restaurant - quite nice sushi - then sat outside under shade for an hour and a bit.

When we fronted up we had to wait a bit longer - and fill in another set of forms! The oncologist rang on my mobile - he had got a waiver for me to take part in a clinical trial of a new treatment. This involves radiation as well as chemo. We have another appointment for tomorrow at RPH.

The information session took over an hour. The really good thing was that they swapped our parking ticket for a fully paid one, so no parking fees today. They would have mounted up, too, at $2 hour.

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