Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Walking cliches

I've become a caricature of myself. Like every business person responsible for systems, high standards and service delivery who spends more than an hour at Christchurch Hospital, I am now ready to revolutionize the Public Health System.

So far, I've met fabulous people doing their very best to work within in a 'system' that seems to have been designed in the dark. It's early days so I'll tread very lightly but let's just say that the appointment note I plucked from the mail box today at 4.30pm advising me that chemo starts tomorrow at 10.30am doesn't meet minimum service expectations. Not because it's late notice of a change, but because I have to start steroids 24 hours before the appointment. Do the maths.

Fortunately, for me, my middle name is agitator and on Monday I made a reconnaissance (the surname I was given at birth was Bourne - spot the spy connection) and staked out the two clinics I was due to visit. After going back and forth between the Medical Day Ward and the Oncology Day Ward, heeding the recommendations about which coloured-haired receptionist to bother to direct my enquiries to, I got to the bottom of my chemo and herceptin schedule for this week. When I asked how I would have found out about the changes if I hadn't Jason'ed my way around the building I was told 'everyone gets sent appointment notices in the mail'.

N.t.w - as I write, I'm 'roided up and ready to go!

Wednesday is Docetaxel, and Thursday Herceptin. In the last week I've already had an echocardiogram and E.C.G to establish my normal heart function. If the H starts to damage my heart we'll know by comparing new tests to the baseline. I've had blood tests, been to the dentist and am awaiting an appointment to get a cancerous looking mole taken off my back by the Plastics team. My goal is to visit every hospital department I can.

I saw another walking cliche while waiting for my E.C.G. A man, 45 perhaps, in his hospital pyjamas with pants rolled up to his knees, sports shoes and shoes on when everyone else was barefoot or slippered. An orderly came to take him back to his ward in a wheelchair. "I could run there", the man protested. "It's policy," he was told. I wanted to offer him my 'IN DENIAL' tee shirt I'm planning to wear when I jog to my September tennis lessons.

And so to my most important decision for tomorrow: what to wear? Every combination I think of screams cliche.

Business suit - career bitch who brought it on herself through stress - in denial
Sloppy tracksuit - overworked mother who didn't take care of herself - her fault she got sick
Smart Les Mills gear - fitness freak who obsesses about health - in denial, ha ha
Cocktail dress - drama queen creating a fuss - stick the needle in harder and jiggle it a bit for fun
Fairy ballerina dress - someone call the psych ward!

I've never cared much for how others perceive me. I'm just not sure who I want to be. I've never had to play a chemo patient before.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Go Sach - transform the health system - it needs you bad! bxx