Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ah, the Long Liver, or how I fought the health system (didn't win but...)

Maybe the public health system in this state really is fucked. Mostly I have had really good treatment with hospitals - as I mentioned a few posts ago. Albeit they were all emergency admittances (except for the open choly which turned out to be a waste of time and of a perfectly good and well-behaved gall bladder. Umm, sorry about medical talk - an open cholysystectomy is when they take your gall bladder out through a hole large enough to party in, not the nippy little key-hole surgery that almost everyone else I know has had. Except my Mum, but then she had her open choly way back in The Dark Ages...).

So...my appointment was for 2 pm yesterday. Miserable and cold raining in Melbourne all grey and gloomy, we had to drive up 12 half floors of the car park before finding a space (so really only the 6th floor but 12 lots of ramps, dizzily spiralling up) that eventually cost us the same as a small car would have for the parking...

And when I got there it was a clinic, filled with HUNDREDS of people all waiting to see either cardio-vascular specialists or the biliary-hep clinics. Not the appointment I thought I had with my very own surgeon who had told my GP that they would be having a conference before they saw me abouot what to do, etc etc.

Surprise, surprise - my baby sister the nurse turned up. She usually lives on the Sunshine Coast - therefore totally out of her natural habitat in the weather sense but totally at home in a hospital being a nurse. And bearing an armful of gorgeous irises, and a box of gourmet cupcakes "for after". Cos, optimist that I am, I fasted from 8 a.m. so I would be ready when they pulled out the horse needle.

And we waited.

And swapped iPhone photos of her cute and clever grandchildren who live tied to her apron strings, and iPad videos of my cute and clever dogs. What a loser I am.

And we waited.

And my baby sis talked nurse talk to the receptionists and found out that because next week is a public holiday (for Melbourne Cup Day which is FOR A HORSE RACE - does that happen anywhere else but in Oz????) they had double booked patients who would otherwise be lining up at the TAB to place their bets next week. Or specialists polishing their Porsches and fascinators to head out to Flemington Racetrack.

And (AND) she found that the doctors were all at a conference and "were taking it in turns to come downstairs so they wouldn't miss important shit going on in conference" (may have misquoted a tiny bit, but not much really).

SO - twice as many patients and half as many doctors. Do the maths. Fucked system, to put it bluntly.
Oh, and they were graciously putting the country patients in first as they knew we had come a long way. But because (probably) my baby sister the nurse had stood up for me they 'forgot' I was from the country.

And we waited more till my baby sister the nurse had to leave.

It was 4.30 before I got into see 'my' surgeon'. Except it wasn't 'MY' surgeon (cos she was busily having cups of coffee and plateloads of cake upstairs) but some other dickwit who hadn't read my history and who had no idea what I was there for except a vague 'must be liver cos this is bilia-hep clinic territory'.

And he reckons they will do keyhole surgery, not neato needle through the ribs and slurp everything out, which however may descend into open surgery because of scar tissue from the previous open choly wound (of perfectly good unused gall bladder - I may have mentioned that before).
But before that he wants MORE bloods done - blood sugars cos I mentioned recent cravings for 3L of fluids/day; and hydatids because I grew up on a farm even though the radiologist's report was that it wasn't hydatiform; and also cancer markers (ditto radiologist noting that the cyst has no blood supply etc).

I know they have to be prepared for all sorts of nasty surprises. But it also means another THREE weeks before I return and get treated like cattle again and then it will be Christmas and I will be ready to explode. Or even exploded.

He says there "MAY BE ANOTHER REASON FOR THE FATIGUE AND THE SWELLING". WTF???? Because it is unusual to have happened so suddenly. Not that I think June to October is 'suddenly' but he thinks so. I did tell him about the size 12 jeans but that didn't mean much to a bloke. Especially one who was full of coffee and cake...

I went around to pathology, and the phlebotomist also thought I was pregnant and got very excited and happy for me. And the only upside of that one - again - is that anyone could possibly think that I am young enough to actually have a baby.

In two weeks I have another appointment with a totally different lot of surgeons at another hospital. After a lengthy text conversation last night with my lovely GP I have decided to keep that one. Because I sure as hell have zilch confidence in this mob of leech farmers.

Now I am going to get out of lovely warm bed and maybe slap a different lot of chemicals on my head to see what will happen to the colour. My baby sister the nurse said it wasn't too orange but it looks to me too much like a bad bleach job. Which indeed it is.

And I will post photos when I find out how to get them from various devices to here via the little notebook I use. Of my bellyful profile and (perhaps) the orange hair.


Maria said...

Oh dear...public hospitals are the same everywhere! How ridulous to doublebook patients on a day when the specialists are at a conference/cake-eating soirre? I hate it when you see doctors that haven't even read your files and just bumble along :-( Jasmine if you send me your address details via my blog email button, I have something for you as a cheer up after all the messing around and continued waiting you still have to endure!!!
PS first time ever! I got a real word (press) in the verification code!!! woot woot!

Anonymous said...

Ah...the Victorian Public Health system versus being abducted by aliens for medical experimentation. Is there a difference?

Quiltbug said...

Oh Jasmine, what a day you had. It's beyond belief . I don't know how you keep your sanity.


AnnieO said...

Omigod. Sounds typical of SURGEONS but not of regular docs, who make money by seeing patients and not just cutting into them...sorry this is turning into the year from hell, Part Deux.

catsmum said...