Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Round and round the waiting room.
It was such a beautiful if windy morning this morning as I drove through to the hospital for yet another marathon waiting room session. It is quite confusing finding out the procedure for a new patient but I'm becoming quite the expert with all my experience lately. I'll be able to give guided tours of all the local medical institutions soon!
After waiting in a queue to get a file made up in an outside office, I entered the hospital and asked a handy security guard where I had to go next. The cashier! Oh dear! I hadn't been told by the clinic that I needed to bring money. After a bit of persuasion to the unhappy cashier that I would pay the money into the hospital bank account, I joined a long queue to get my blood pressure checked and my weight recorded. Everything fine with the blood pressure (?). No matter how stressed I get and even with my overactive thyroid, my blood pressure is always fine. As a first time patient I joined a third queue adjacent to the blood pressure checking nurses. The two ladies in this cubicle were filling in forms and asking for a lot of information from the various patients they were interviewing. Eventually it was my turn. These ladies were giving patients the opportunity to have a free HIV test. They have little disposable testers which deliver a small prick to the finger. A drop or so of blood is squeezed into the little holes and a few minutes later you have your result. Hey, a freebie is a freebie! I wasn't going to say no.
Then the queue for the doctor. This moved along a lot faster. It was about 11.10am by this stage. The Indian doctor lady checked me over and confirmed that the lump needed further investigation (which they couldn't do at St Marys). I would have to be referred to R.K. Khan Hospital in Chatsworth. Now that is an area I don't really go to at all and it is a distance away. Anyway I took my referral letter and proceeded to the pharmacy for painkillers one of which helps with swelling. A short time later I was on my way. Another 4 hour wait. So 8 hours in 2 days of waiting for medical attention.
At work, several of my co-workers have come to know about my situation and the one lady has organised with our messenger to drop me off at the hospital tomorrow and pick me up when I am ready. If he can't make it back, my boss has offered to collect me. Everyone is being so supportive. So tomorrow I go straight to the relevant department for a mammogram and probably a needle biopsy.
When I was speaking about my situation to a young woman in our accounts dept., she told me that she had also had a lump in her breast and had had a mammogram and needle biopsy done. They ended up surgically removing the lump even though it was benign. It is good to hear of other people who have been in the same situation and have come through it and carried on with their lives. I wasn't going to do it this week but I decided that if I leave it until next week, I may just not get it done, so gritting my teeth and gathering my courage, here I go!