Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Friday 31 May 2013

Mr Fats day at Broomfield

The reception at Broomfield 
Well, if I didn't tell you I attended the 'other' hospital last Friday, 24th,  with Ishbel to meet with the consultant surgeon Mr J, a couple of junior Doctors, one from Bangladesh and one from Italy (and as I write this with the news on there is a report that there is a 80% increase of death if you have surgery on a Thursday or Friday in the UK, nice to know! Is that because the staff are thinking about their weekend off?).

So, met with the consultant who again confirmed that yes I do have a cancerous tumour in my gullet but that the last scan, a PET, indicated that the tumour was localised. He then went on to explain that there would be three further tests, starting next week, an *ultrasound then June 6th for a Laparoscopy* and then finally a fitness test, on a bike machine on 10th June, to test my fitness for surgery.

Once all those tests were done they would then have a video conference with the team in Basildon who referred me to Broomfield! It was the left to the delightful upper GI Nurse Specialist J B to go through the tests in more detail explaining the procedures and issuing me with another library of literature on my condition, very competent and put us at ease. Although I did point out to her that as it didn't come in Kindle format I probably wouldn't read it, and as it turned out, that was a mistake that led to an argument with the doc with the knife, before he cut in to me ....... More on the later

We were then handed off to the two Junior Doctors and both Ishbel and I immediately thought "The Big Bang Theory" for no other reason than, like Leonard, Raj, Howard and Bernadette, the two doctors were perfectly formed little humans; tiny perfectly formed little people - and if I may say so without getting another smack from you know who - gorgeous wee things - a total distraction, for me at least.

The only thing is, I can't remember their names, sorry ladies. But it's your own fault for being so distracting..... The Italian was from Naples and the Bangladeshi one was from East London and had never been to Bangladesh! Me, I'm from Scotland and consider myself British but there you go, they were still great and put us at our ease.  They had a a battery of questions for me on my general health issues and the symptoms I had been experiencing and then a wee poke and a prod before sending me off for an ECG and a blood test so they could have my blood type, should I need a transfusion during / after surgery. And during this poking and prodding they told me I have a heart murmur too, bit not to worry about it, do I ever - not really, but suppose it is nice to know!

Of course, surgery will depend on whether I pass the fitness test.... Oh, and after giving me a good going over and taking swabs to test for MSRA   So, although all these clinics are operating and there were still patients waiting to be seen and it was now 4.45 pm we discovered that the blood test clinic closes at 4.45 on a Friday, way to go Broomfields Hospital, no wonder then that more patients die going in to surgery just ahead of the weekend if departments can't wait to get out the door for their off time, is it!

So it was back to the clinic and the two wee darlings fighting over who was going to draw blood, I suspect my flirting had taking its toll on them and the pin prick was going to be a reminder to behave, but no, they liked me and were gentle ...

Ishbel. looking good 
Atrium Information boards 
When we arrived earlier in the afternoon, The Boss came with me, and we did arrive much earlier than our scheduled appointment for 3 Pm we were struck with the look of the hospital, very modern and high tech entering into a high roofed glazed main reception area with a couple of giant statues and their fancy patient friendly booking in machines so that you didn't need to stand in a queue, not that there was a queue at the reception desks though, it looked impressive. I wasn't in the system for the self booking machines but was on the system at reception. We were then directed to the atrium where there was a coffee shop, a WH Smiths a Marks and Spencer's and a Costa coffee and all

around the atrium were screens where names of patients kept popping up with directions to where they had to go. We had a coffee and a sandwich while we waited and eventually my name popped up and we were directed to where we needed to go, all very high tech.

Then they let themselves down in the Upper GI clinic as they too had a screen on the wall giving the names of the consultants and I suppose patients names would pop up too, the only problem was that it was showing doctors names for the AM surgery and my doctors name was nowhere to be seen. You are just left to sit there with none of the nursing staff asking who you were or who you were to see until eventually one turns up and calls your name. Well, we all know I can be a bit of a tit and I can get irritated at the most innocuous of things that most others would just shrug off, including Ishbel, but for gawds sake, if you are going to use this technology and put it on the wall, at least make sure it is being kept up to date, or switch the F*****g thing off, it's not rocket science and when patients are sent round from the reception area, it doesn't take much for one of the many nursing staff to at least enquire who you are, look at a list and at the very least say, ' Ah yes! Mr Stronach, Mr J will see you in ...." I know that they can't say, " he will see you in 15 or 20 mins" but any communication is better than no communication at all....

Which then brings us to Wednesday. So I was booked in for a 7.30 am appointment and because I couldn't have a routine ECG on Friday because they close early too, leading into the weekend... I have to get one of them as well, I was told by the clinic on Friday that they normally pick you up about 2 hours before but at 6.40 Am still no sign of the transport. I phone the hospital switch board on the number on the card issued by the Upper GI clinic only to get a recorded message that the number has changed! Re-dial and explain the situation and that my appointment booking is for 7.30! Can't help with that other than to give me the number for patient transport, which I duly ring but get no response.

Then at 6.55 AM 'C' arrived to collect me and I told him that I had been trying to ring patient transport services, he told me that they do not man the lines until 7 AM and that the first collections are scheduled for 7 AM or as near to, WTF, are departments not talking to each other or is this just a case of total inefficiency within the NHS and associated services, who knows, but for me at least very irritating. Just before the transport did arrive I left a message on the Upper GI nurses answer phone explaining that transport hadn't arrived and that I would probably just go to work, I hate hanging about ...

So anyway we arrived just before 8 AM and I was taken to the day admissions ward.  The anaesthetist who had me on his list for surgery for a Laparoscopy- this is when it all started to go even more downhill after the irritating wait for the transport - and I explained  that I believed I was in for an endoscopic ultrasound and that the Laparoscopy was for next week, He said no, laparoscopy today and ultra sound tomorrow! I said no one procedure today and the next on the 6th, so confusion reigned and of course I was also getting my Laparoscopy confused with my Gastroscopy that I had had at Basildon back in April, well there are all *copys*, so easily done for an idiot like me, so he toddled off shaking his head not knowing whether I was being done or not ...

The Polish nurse, who I think was in charge came to see me after that and I must say she was delightful and helpful and her command and use of English was second to none, just a pity that M the male nurse from Spain wasn't the same as he had to have every thing repeated to him, when he would utter, Huh! every time you spoke to him and not just me, other staff had the same problem trying to communicate with him and at one point he answered the ward phone, gave the ward name  listened for a few moments, didn't say anything else, but after a few moments, put the call on hold without saying a thing, nipped into the ward office and asked one of the other nurses to take the call as he couldn't understand what was being said.  it's just an observation and I have made it elsewhere in these posts, but I have absolutely no problem with other nationalities coming to work in this country as long as they can speak and understand the language, but I find it incredible that you have an SRN who has such difficulty with the language working in an NHS hospital....

Then Mr H turned up to discuss the procedure, the Laparoscopy, and said he noted that there was some confusion and asked who I had seen in clinic and when.  I informed him that I hasd seen Mr J on Friday of last week and he responded, 'no you didn't!'

Apparently I hadn't seen Mr J as he and Mr H were in America last week! Well I know I am probably going a bit senile but I know who I saw, unless of course the clinic notes were wrong and the consultant I saw gave me the wrong name or there are two Mr J's, so of course this got my back up and I responded in an argumentative fashion that I knew who I saw and I knew what I was told... ending with, 'that the initail impression of the glamour and glitzy show of Broomfield was being let down by all the little niggly things under the surface and that I had been receiving much better care, treatment and response from Basildon Hospital'

At this Mr H sharply retorted that I seemed to be blaming him for me having cancer and that at least, unlike Basildon, we are not under investigation for killing patients, WTF! I was left speechless by this little outburst and couldn't believe what I had just heard.  He went on to point out that unfortunately for me, 'coming from Thurrock and others from Basildon and Southend who had cancer HAD to be referred to Broomfield, and as such, they dealt with over 2 million patients and did I want the procedure or not'

So rather than say what I immediately though, which was F*** You mate! I said off course.  Before he buggered of he did admit it wasn't last week he and Mr J had been to America but it had been the week before thereby implanting the thought in my mind do I really want his guy near me if he can't even remember what country he was in last week .....

The nice Polish lady came back to me then to take my blood pressure, and do the ECG, I suggested she might do well to wait a few moments ....... she smiled

After all of that , I was first up and still in surgery for just after 9 AM so all of the aforementioned while seeming like hours wasn't that long but I don't suppose it helped them or me towards a stress free day and I was back on the ward just before mid day.

I felt absolutely fine when they woke me up, was on a drip and didn't feel in any discomfort, although I have to say and it was probably the as an outcome of my argumentative nature and his outrageous comments about another hospital I was probably the day patient from hell for the remainder of my stay and just wanted to get out of there, even had the elderly chap patient in the next bed complaining about my loud tapping of my fingers waiting for the drip to be removed and released and that was complicated as M the SRN from Spain, when asked when I could be discharged and transport booked to take me home, said he had had a colleague book the transport and they would get me off the drip soon, that was around 1 PM, I eventually got out of there at 5 PM.....

Now I have to say that in defence of the hospital, that the clinic on Friday did give me notes an the procedures and that I was due in for a Laparoscopy but I didn't read the note and that the Endoscopic ultrasound was for the 6th, even although they seemed to think I was staying in overnight and having that on the Thursday, but Ishbel said  the same thing as me that we were sure that we were told the reverse order, so it was all my own fault for not reading the notes, but that does not make Mr H's comments any more excusable and just as a matter of note it would seem that I was not the only one complaining about the level of service this week as I noted in one of the local papers, that a mother was complaining about the treatment of her 14 year old son at the hands of Broomfield, so not as perfect as Mr H would like to think, but then none of as are, including me.

Finally, I suppose you are all asking the question, if you have hung on this long and if you haven't I don't  blame you, as to what the results were, well, a severely bruised tummy for one

and the results showed a 33cm long tumour but with no spread. So, Mr H who came back to see me in the afternoon tells me that that is fairly good news and that after the Endoscopic ultrasound and the CPEX test on the 10th I shall probably be referred to Southend Hospital for Chemotherapy and then back to Broomfield for surgery... So looks like I am going to be a TiT for a few more years

Back to normal I hope tomorrow with a Carrot and Coriander soup recipe and a Book review of Henry Wood Detective Agency by Brain D Meeks on Sunday or Monday


  1. Ah Tom, You have encountered the System and the System must survive and must be obeyed. The System. Always the System.

    Sounds like you might be on the mend despite the System's best efforts. Yay, you.

  2. Jaysus! Can't they just do everything at one hospital??? They have you running in circles. Jules says they better shape up and take the best care of you.
    Just stay mad. You'll do much better. Speaking from experience. And go get some ginger. You may need it with chemo. Tell them I also said they are not to give you the runaround if you get nauseated.
    I don't think I have ever seen such a bruised belly... ever. What the hell was that doctor doing?

  3. Jaye, they may try and grind me down but they'll not succeed xx

  4. Jules, according to Mr H they are the only ones that do it in the area, but then the contradiction comes in when he tells me he then has to send me to Southend for the chemo and then back to them for the op. I followed the discharge sheet to the letter too it easy, didn't go to work and didn't go near the car for driving and just had a couple of gentle walks. Spent the rat of the time laying along he sofa and the bruising just keeps getting bigger. Mind you, not comparable to SIL's trials at the moment . Thanks Honey xxx

  5. I could say all kinds of rosy shit, Tom, but I won't. You're a good man, sir. Hang in.

  6. No need for the tinted hue Tim, just taking it as it comes xx

  7. Whew! You've been through it, Tom, and yes, there's more ahead. But you're stronger than the cancer, and more stubborn...and you have grandchildren doing a cancer walk and holding your hands when you trek in the woods.
    And remember, in tiny Victoria, KS, St. Fidelis Church, also famously nicknamed Cathedral of the Plains, will have a candle burning for you. (Google Cathedral of the Plains--very interesting--and this massive, beautiful cathedral was built by immigrants from Germany and Poland who had really known terrible times.)
    I'm smiling at the comment about avoiding surgery in the UK on Thursdays and Fridays. The same is true for buying a car in the U.S. that was built on Thursdays and Fridays. It's not just medical procedures that suffer when people are thinking of their weekends!
    Demand that your surgery be done on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. Post-weekend Mondays aren't the best days, either.

  8. Wow Marylin who knew Kansas has it's own 8 wonders and then of course there is you too xxxx yep, I know how lucky I am to have such a great family and friends rooting for me and even allowing for my rant I am sure the NHS will take care of me, mind you I made the mistake of looking up that Ivor Lewis procedure on YouTube, yuck

  9. Even though I've now lived 2/3 of my life in Colorado, I still have strong roots in Kansas. Contrary to popular opinion, it's a state of much ethnic diversity. In southeast Kansas where I grew up, the Italian influence was very strong; western Kansas has Czechslovakian-based communities, as well as areas built by Russian, Polish and German settlers, and then there are quiet little communities of the Amish, Mennonite and Brethren. And in the center of it all, a candle will be burning just for you and your family at The Cathedral of the Plains! See what you've got on your side, dear Tom?!! Marylin

  10. Quiet little communities are sometimes the most precious places Marylin. My gran, on my Mom's side lived in a wee hamlet called Fernigair nestled between two large towns, Hamilton and Larkhall, surrounded by woods. It was a great place to visit, everyone knew everyone, not that there was that many folk there and they all seemed so happy all of the time.

    I appreciate the candle and the thoughts, My Sweet xxxx


All posts and photos copyright to the author, unless otherwise stated, and should not be reproduced without permission. If reproduction permitted, full accreditation and link to site must be provided.
Anonymous comments are not invited and will be sent direct to the SPAM box....