Wednesday, 12 June 2013

That's... reassuring?

Half way through the afternoon I get a voicemail from an unknown number. This isn't, in fact, a rare occurrence. So far today I’d already had some random video games recruitment company calling me to ‘have a little catch up’, despite me leaving the industry quite a few years ago now, SKY (or some dodgy fuckers who are pretending they are SKY offering me their internet even though I already have it by default because I signed up with O2. Yeah, I don’t get how that works either), so I wasn't expecting anything very exciting when I listened to my voice mail.

Maybe it’s one of my PPI friends I thought. Maybe it’s that one who called me the other day and in response to my terse: 

“Please remove me from your list, I’m not interested,” responded with:

“What if I was calling to tell you you’ve won the lottery? Eh?”. 

“Well, to be honest,” I said, “I’d be really fucking surprised as I don’t enter lotteries on the basis that I pay enough tax and get fuck all back so why I’d CHOOSE to take part in one I don’t know, and being at the mercy of the NHS is lottery enough thanks. I don’t think I could take the excitement.” He’d gone by then, but I enjoyed it.

Anyway, on listening to the voice mail it turned out to be my GP. My actual GP. I don’t think my GP has ever contacted me off their own back before. Ever. Her message said: “It’s Dr Flumpf. Please call me back”. 

Dr Flumpf is not her real name, obviously. But I need a pseudonym for her and, having worked the last 7 days non-stop, I’m finding my imagination is defunct, my brain is melted and I can’t think of anything other than Flumpf. It’s a pity though, her actual name is rather wondrous but I don’t feel right using it on a blog.

So if your GP calls and asks you to call back, it’s a bit scary. It just is. They generally don’t phone ever. So this must be special, I thought. Half an hour later I finally get through to the surgery. Naturally the receptionist tries to convince me that a) the doctor isn’t actually at the surgery today and b) won’t be available to anyone and then c) oh, she called you? Well did she tell you to call her back? and, finally, d) I’ll get her for you.

That hurdle jumped over I find I’m getting more and more anxious. The doc comes on the line. 

“We’ve had a letter from the consultant.”

“OK, and?”

“I just wanted to let you know that we have had something from them as you were so distressed when I saw you last. I’m not supposed to be working today and I don’t really have time to talk about it but I have had some notes through, but it’s a photocopy of a fax [a fucking WHAT??? What fucking century are the NHS living in??] and I can’t read the handwriting very well. You know how it is.”

“Yes. Yes, I do,” through gritted teeth.

“It looks like they’ve found something but they don’t know what it is. And she wants your bowel to resolve itself before she sees you again.”

“What? What have they found? And why would my bowel just resolve itself? HOW would that even happen? I don't understand. That doesn’t make any sense.”

“I can’t talk to you about it now, I don’t have any time. I just wanted to let you know they have written to us. You will have to come back into the surgery to discuss this.”

“Well, yes. I already have that appointment made to see you next week.”

“We can discuss it then.”

“Should I have a copy of this letter?”

“I have no idea.” [HOW? How can a GP have no idea whether the patient should have copies of the letters about her own treatment? Isn’t there a procedure of some kind? Surely there’s a procedure? She must deal with people who have operations all the time? WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT?]

“Er. OK. Thanks for calling [I felt compelled to say that as she had told me three times that she wasn't supposed to be working and she was only calling me to tell me she has received the letter].”

And that was that.

Not really sure what the point of that was or what new information I'm now in possession of. Apparently my consultant has ‘found something but doesn't know what’, and is expecting my bowel problems (that I didn't know I even had until the operation) will spontaneously resolve themselves and then, and ONLY then, will she see me about the endometriosis that we already know I have.

Once again I’m left confused, bemused and feeling like I've missed out somewhere along the line or that I'm just too stupid to fight my way through the morass of non information and doublespeak I just received.  

Did I miss the training in translating NHSisms? 

Am I meant to understand what the fuck is going on?

The worst part of all this is I feel guilty. I feel guilty every time a doctor takes time with me because they make me feel like my illness isn't important, so maybe they're right. I mean, they're the doctors. What do I know? I only know the pain and anxiety and fainting and vomiting and haemorrhaging.

But maybe that's normal?  It’s not even important enough to my consultant to write clearly about to my GP. It’s not important enough to tell me what is wrong with me. It’s not important enough to tell me what I should do next.

I feel like I’m taking up their valuable time for no reason. I have to remind myself that it’s not normal to be this ill, all the time. I am becoming increasingly desperate as I am unable to do anything other than work. I don’t go out, I can’t exercise, I can’t manage to get to classes after work. All I can do is work and stagger home to try and do the freelance that’s keeping my head above water, or collapse.

And that’s no life at all.

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