People constantly ask me if I will run out of things to talk about on this blog. When I started writing I did wonder, but I surprise myself, when I sit down and think about how many interesting things happen in my life. I suspect, that my life is no more interesting than anyone else’s, just that I have more thinking time. I have time to reflect on peoples words and actions. My disease has given me a lot of time to bounce things around in my head. Things that maybe if I was working, I wouldn’t give any time to.Since I am not, I have time to look at the world, from a different perspective.
This post has come about for two reasons, and is particularly timely. On Friday, I was unfortunate enough to need a blood transfusion, as my body is currently struggling to deal with my disease, and the aggressive regime of treatment that accompanies it. I am losing nutrients and consequently, my energy levels are dropping rapidly.As regular readers will be aware, I am treated at St Georges in Tooting, and have been for more than five years.Unfortunately, it has become my second home, but that is the highest compliment I can pay it!! From day one, I have received incredible care, from the Oncology and Haematology depts. So much so that I spend my spare time raising funds for the ward that looks after me, ( Ruth Myles ), and work with the management of the hospital to try and improve facilities for cancer patients.
I have been discussing my physical symptoms with my consultant as I have been feeling worse and worse as the weeks went by. When I went to St Thomas’s for my regular treatment, their tests showed that my red blood cells had dropped too low to continue treatment.They told me I should let St Georges know. I emailed my blood results and the very next day, I had a call back to say that they were arranging for me to have a transfusion the following week. Also I would need a programme of nutrients, which they would arrange. This was done without any phone call from me, having to chase anyone.
Everything was duly arranged, and I went in on Friday.Everyone was pleased to see me, from nurses to doctors, and my fellow patients. My chair was ready, and everyone knew what was required. I was spoken to by numerous nurses and my consultant, to explain that it may take a bit of time to match my blood. This I fully understood, but it was nice that I was told. As regular patients will know, hospital time can pass very slowly, but the tea and coffee was flowing and lunch was served.
Matching my blood proved a bit tricky, and when it eventually came, it meant that my treatment wouldn’t finish till at least 530pm. This meant that someone would have to stay with me until it was finished. This was no problem, as the staff were so helpful, and were not concerned to stay beyond their time. During my marathon day, I was visited by staff from other departments who wanted to drop by and say hello. Before I knew it, my treatment was done, and I was wishing the staff, a great weekend.
I also receive very similar care at St Thomas’s and their Haematology team. I am always welcomed, and feel very comfortable there. The staff have almost become friends, but the boundaries are never stretched! Everything about my care is absolutely top class. I have never had to raise my voice, to get anything done.
My case is a particularly difficult one, and has been going on for more than 5 years now, but I am never given the impression that I am a nuisance, although I do feel that way at times, as I seem to have one problem after another.
We are always very quick to criticise, when things are not as we expect them, but not always so quick to praise, if something is done well. I see at first hand, a lot of the problems that hospital staff face, and I certainly don’t envy them! Yes, it is their chosen job, and they get paid to do it, but let’s not forget that they are also human beings like you and I. We all make mistakes! In any field, you will find people who are not up to the required standard. I blame the system not the people. Unfortunately, due to the pressures in our system, from finance and pure numbers of patients, there will always be something that can go wrong. That is the situation from the very top to the bottom in our society. The trick is to devise a system that means one persons mistake is not critical.
After recent days of reading about my hospital in the media, I struggled to recognise it, as the place that I get such wonderful care! I really do appreciate how lucky I am, and that I truly owe my extra life to the skill and care of the staff in the N.H.S. Thank you to everyone involved with my care!!