The Cancer Blog

ros an d gladstlones grandsonChemo Club Blog Two

By Ros Aitken in London
(Ros continues her series on her experiences in a top London NHS`cancer hospital)

Calloo callay, oh frabjuous day, or the Day St George’s Hospital Cocked it up

Up at 6.15 to catch bus for 9am short chemo – ie about an hour.

Arrive in good time and am ushered into treatment room, but start to sense something is wrong – hear my name anxiously repeated by nurses just out of sight.Told  that my dose has not actually been prescribed by the doctor.  Only when this has been done can it be ordered and then there will be a wait – no one knows how long.  At least they won’t be sending me straight back home.

Sigh. Settle down, to speed things up have canula fitted into the back of my hand, all ready to be connected to drip. Start on book borrowed on impulse from Richmond Library and foolishly not begun at home.  It turns out to be tedious  beyond measure.

11am approaches.  Have meanwhile  been told that a doctor is off ill and my doc. is covering the ward round and unavailable to sort out my prescription, so this explains a lot of the delay. Now enter flustered doctor, to hidden nurses.  Hear them saying ‘Who’ll tell her?’ I’ll tell her’, etc.

Doctor approaches, practically grovelling.  Not only had she forgotten to order the mixture but she’d misinformed me.  No such thing as ‘short chemo.’  All my chemos are long, and I might be here until 8pm.  (This is to prove to be a wild exaggeration.)  What can she possibly do in recompense?  I say I’d like a copy of the Independent. Off she goes and returns not just with the paper but a copy of Homes and Gardens and a couple of very decent books.  I forgive her.

11.20 finally get hitched up to 2 litres of water – results as last time.

1pm get lucky with lunch –not sandwiches, but some lasagna left over from the ward round. Not bad, though unbelievably served with potatoes, which I leave fastidiously on the plate.  One does still has some standards.

1.20 further delay as drug still not delivered.  Throw hissy fit. Fair haired, blue eyed nurse, straight out of Daisy Pulls it Off  (or alternatively think Anne from the Famous Five) brings me cheer and black coffee.

Drug soon follows and olé, I am now on course for departure from hospital at 5pm., a mere 8 hours after arrival. (Another tip for female friends about to undergo chemo: as one hand will be out of action because of the canula make sure you have a handbag you can successfully rummage about in one-handed.)

4.20 Actually get away.

Good old National Health Service.