Moved away from all things breast based today and moved to orthopaedic-land. There is a “system” for this pre-operative clinic that I attended which involves moving between 7 people/tests. You need to see all 7 before you can leave – except (naturally) I didn’t! I did wonder whether we were in the lobotomy clinic rather than orthopaedic clinic – as the “blue” form (with these 7 processes on) asks you to carry this form at all times whilst in the department and ask each person you see to tick the appropriate box, so that when and only when, you have 7 ticks you can go home….I didn’t tick any (nor did the clinicians) and yet can still remember which 3 of the 7 steps I completed! No memory clinic needed yet…that’s a bonus!
I met with a doctor who only seemed interested in listing my medications on another form of several pages in length (I had already filled in a similar one at home and another two when I arrived at clinic this morning) which, if I had seen nurse first – they would have done. I have answered questions this morning on everything from the height of my toilet, the style of my sofa legs to the level the pain was affecting me doing a variety of “tasks” from sex to housework!
I was asked for my insulin dosing range which is not the easiest question as my dosing depends on what I am about to eat and what my blood sugar is. I asked why this was needed as (aside from pre and during surgery) I would manage my diabetes myself, which seemed to be an issue…(furrowed brow and silence) I did try to explain that my 2 previous experiences of hospitals managing my insulin intake was disastrous and I wasn’t going there again (silence). The diabetic nurse team are happy to do a sliding scale for insulin for the surgery and I am happy to sign whatever waiver is necessary to be able to manage my own insulin whilst in hospital (silence) – but this obviously doesn’t fit the system….although interestingly it wasn’t an issue for the breast surgeon who positively encouraged this “help”. I really hate how “difficult” I am seen when I just want to manage my own diabetes care in a hospital setting.
I then moved to see the consultant who seemed far more at ease with this approach, phew! He was however quite concerned about the number of risks there were with this major back surgery. We discussed other ways of managing the problem and agreed that a nerve blocker injection in the spine might be a better starting point. Whilst it is neither a long-term solution nor long-acting, it could buy me some time whilst the breast surgery and recovery takes place. I will be sent an appointment for this with a follow-up a month or so later so that we can re-examine the options when I am done with the breast surgery.
The thought of not facing 2 lots of imminent surgery is a relief. So instead of multi-tasking my anatomy I can now focus on next week’s meeting with my breast nurse. This is a time to look at photographs of mastectomies, scars and more, as well as “touching up” prostheses, looking at suitable bras and making a decision! I know this will be done in the same professional and caring way as the rest of the breast cancer meetings – in a cheerful patient-friendly room – but I just can’t help summoning up the encounter in a seedy, sticky floored Soho location instead. My imagination is running riot at the breadth of possibilities…What’s the matter with me?