Trigger the second appointment with another new young GP this time female; I like her as she listens to what I say accepting my assessment even if it is not supported medically. By this I mean I know there is an infection in my body if my symptoms flare up i.e. the drunk weeble plagues me at the oddest times of day! Balance confounds me especially if distracted by something on the ceiling when I have the tendency to fall backwards.
Bless the cautious inexperience recently qualified professional but heavens it adds to the patient experience in ways that are not exactly welcome. Consulting the previous doctor’s notes she remarks that she isn’t familiar with this new drug and tells me that written on my records is ‘making this change would be a very brave decision’. This is after I received a letter (in January) from the MS Rapid Access team appointment in October that began ‘I saw this pleasant 42 year old right handed woman’! Well that sums me up perfectly: pleasant and right handed how apt. Before you ask I have no idea about the relevance of being right handed. Nor why it took so long for the update letter to be sent from the hospital to the GP.
The use of the English language seems to undergo a curious transformation when the Consultant (very educated) writes to the Patient (presumed to be less educated; what one used to refer to as ‘IQ 22’). OK there is a need to translate medical language into plain English but it’s the process of translation I question. Cite the example of recent results of a CT Scan (in December); the letter reads ‘I am pleased to tell you the scan revealed nothing sinister. I hope things have improved’. What precisely is that conveying? Is the concluding sentence really an invitation to go for a follow-up appointment when it is receded by this earlier one? For devilment I did request a follow-up appointment for which I was roundly ‘rewarded’ with a time in April! I have not yet decided whether to waste my time by attending or not given that there is obviously nothing ‘sinister’ irrespective of the fact that ‘things’ have not improved!
Back to the second appointment. The young female doctor trots off to find the doctor in the practice who is the pain specialist. Said individual – (known amongst the female patients as being the ‘hot’one – I wonder how he would respond to overhearing the changing room banter; along the line of the flattering cling of the denim to the curve of his rear coupled with the one too many undone shirt buttons that draws the eye (eventually) to his chiselled jawline..) – is not available so an appointment is made for me to see him the following week. The 330 pm appointment with the female GP was replacing an 830 am appointment that had come acropper at the ‘hands’ of the automated system. I had booked an 830 am for the 15 February and the system had jumped and booked the appointment for the next week! The day had not started well.
Accordingly I depart with a sheaf of prescriptions to my favourite pharmacy where I am a familiar customer; when I first collected my prescriptions in carrier bags and had to clear an entire cupboard for my supplies I confess I could have cried. This fleeting emotion passed; some things are best let go and so I watched the thought bubble float into oblivion that is Porthkerry Park where no doubt it too was gobbled up by the squirrels along with the fatballs hung for the birds! If the Welsh Government decides to reintroduce prescription charges I shall have some serious thinking to do about the 18 items on the three page repeat list. I will not rehearse (again) my (curious) logic that the VAT (huge) on my cigarettes (lots) more than pays for my ‘care’!! Ultimately it’s all about compromise but in the context of health care I do wish the argument considered value as well as cost.