"There's a myth that anyone who has a liver problem has brought it on themselves" This quote is from a Crohn's disease patient living with a blocked portal vein hoping for a liver transplant (Independent 31st Oct 2010)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Even the best made plans

This is the route between home and the North Manchester hospital where my liver surgeon sees me once every 6 months. Part of the drive is through busy built up areas chokka block with traffic most of the day, so it can take up to 2 hours despite the AArouteplanner optimistically estimating 38 minutes!

Normal clinic procedure would be the patient returning to NM hospital about a week prior to clinic for a CT scan and bloods, so that the surgeon gets to see them before pronouncing his verdict on my health face to face.

Due to kind hearted Macmillan Nurse Clare, the team decided O'Blimey's buddy Dr S, my GI at Macclesfield, could be trusted to organize the CT and the bloods. As you see from the map the distance between the word 'Macclesfield' and the green flag of home is conveniently tiny. So tiny that I'm fine to get myself there and back for the CT without needing support. The IV part of the procedure tends to leave me a bit shaky and certainly not up to a 2 hour drive on my own. The results of the CT and bloods to then be sent electronically/by courier/by carrier pigeon *(delete as applicable) to NM hospital.

Dr S was highly organized and carefully booked my CT for 3rd March - PLENTY of time - 2 months - to get the resulting image and report snail-mailed 26.8miles??


At least I'd taken a copy of the summarized report. And a copy of my AFP blood test result. I almost offered to hole punch them and file them in my file!

So he asked how I was and I said the results suggested I was fine thanks and he said bye see you in 6 months. About 5 minutes out of the 5 hours (including the late running of the clinic).


  1. Bloody clinics eh - BUT at least you can say 'I'm fine' and that's the important thing :-)

    If you've got a minute Fiona, pop over to Cancer Chat because there's a question on there about chemo and cirrosis (sp?) which you might be able to help with?


  2. As Carole once said, "Grrrr!"

    Yay for Dr S, boo for all the rest.

    You shouldn't have to be the most thorough and organized one on the team. And 5 hours for 5 minutes... Hopefully there were good songs on the radio. :-)


  3. That is so lame that your doc is so rushed with you. I certainly hope that is not always the case. Sounds like you might need a doctor who is more willing to listen to you and take some time out of their oh so important busy schedule to save your life. Just a thought :) It just angers me that the people hired by US to work for US make us feel like we should be "privileged" to get 5 minutes from them...and then they just rush us out anyway without telling us anything that is remotely useful...
    Keep on kicking some cancer booty! You have another one in your corner fighting with you! :)

  4. Hi Laura
    Thanks for popping in.
    Yes there were a number of restless patients in the waiting area who felt they were being kept hanging around longer than necessary.

    I go to 3 different clinics, (this one is my 'cancer' one) and they vary in their efficiency. Sadly this one is particularly busy as it serves an inner city area where the overuse of alcohol means a lot of people queuing for treatment to damaged livers. The docs do their best but maybe they just have too many patients with access to cheap booze?

    The cock-up here was that the docs secretary SHOULD, (apparently) have called my other docs secretary and got hold of the CT scan and report in advance, but she didnt. So he had nothing to base his consult on.

    Now I know where the hiccough was, in 6 months time when we repeat the process, I have diaried in a note to self to ring round in advance and check they are communicating. In an ideal NHS I shouldnt need to do that, but in an overused underfunded NHS its the only way of being sure the communication is working smoothly.

    Do you have a blog - I couldnt access a link from clicking your name.