Monday, 6 October 2014

Mr Pushy to the rescue...

That's a good word to describe me.
Assertive....also good.
Aggressive...well, can't really argue with that either.
Rude....jah...that as well.

We all develop an array of  different styles and coping mechanisms to deal with the vicissitudes of daily life...Mr Grumpy....Mr Professional...Mr Sarcastic...sometimes even Mr Happy.

Sometimes though, despite the apparent success of our  coping mechanisms we can become welded to a specific style which may end up being dysfunctional...mine was Mr Sarcastic.

After my cornea transplant last year, I started a process to change some aspects of  my life and behaviour. I felt calmer and happier after the eye surgery and just decided to infuse my whole life with that calmness....and it was working...until the CUP diagnosis.
In fairness Mr Grumpy often made a guest appearance in my life when confronted by blithering idiots who are my colleagues but gradually Mr Calm would mediate.
When he failed then Mr Big-Bar-of-Chocolate...or in extreme cases, Mr Bacon-Sarnie would intervene.

Mr Pushy never really seemed to go away though
Its simple...I work very hard for my money and if I'm  paying for a service I expect that service to manifest fully and as described and promised.

I'm the person who complains in restaurants and gets a better table.
I'm the person you see getting an upgrade on the plane.
Or a discount in a shop.
Or assorted freebies.

I think generally that you have to 'take care of business'...the 'business' of your order to optimise all the facets and interactions of  your life...and that anything is acceptable provided you don't break any of the Ten Commandants.

About 15 years ago, when I was Nursing Manager at a private hospital in Johannesburg,  my car was stolen when I was at a dinner party.
In fact the Flying Squad had recovered it before I knew it had been stolen and had it taken to the Police Pound in Soweto, the 'black' city adjacent to Johannesburg.
I went to the pound the following day accompanied by the head-of-security of the hospital - Joe was Zulu, built like the proverbial brick outhouse and a trusted colleague.

We entered the reception area of the pound and saw about 12 police officers sitting at desks in various states of not-working.
They ignored us for a few minutes...Joe looked at me and shrugged.

I pulled a R50 note out of my wallet...a lot of money at the time...and said...
"Anyone here speak English"

Zoooooooooom...suddenly the Officer in Charge was at the desk, deftly shaking hands and folding the R50 into his pocket.
He was very helpful...he took me to my car and asked me to sign all the paperwork and assured me that I could pick it up the following day.
I apologised for ruining his lunch and donated another R50 to the tea fund.

During the transaction, an Indian couple were also trying to get the attention of the police and then trying to get their car released.
They sneered at me for my bribe.
I didn't really care.
The following day my car was ready and had even been washed.
The Indian couple found that their car had been broken into the police pound...and that the radio had been stolen;and that their car was standing on bricks since all the wheels had been stolen as well.
Jah....thats life.

So I am due to start my fourth cycle of chemo this week.Its on a 21-day cycle and I am  supposed to see my oncologist prior to each new cycle and  have a blood panel done.
I wasn't surprised or worried that I  left hospital after the third cycle without a followup appointment because the ability of two parts of the NHS,-even in the same building-, to talk to each other is just not going to happen.

I wasn't too worried initially when I didn't get a letter with an appointment in the past two weeks but became increasingly worried as the cycle-four date approached.
There's  some free-floating anxiety building to that fear that you've been forgotten.

Part of the problem with the NHS is that because its 'free' at point of service, the patient actually has little choice in accessing take what you're given.... the NHS will offer you all sorts of choice on their website and in their literature but its difficult to actually access any choices apart from that which is local to you.

I tried  to get seen at a different hospital after my second cycle of chemo  owing to the appalling care I experienced but in the end that just didn't happen.
Instead they switched my oncologist and apologised  for their errors.

So today I had to become pushy with the NHS.
Mr Polite-but-tenacious-Pushy.

I put on my plummy accent and phoned and asked to speak to the Professor.
I got his secretary - a pleasant woman who knew who I was....I'm guessing because of my complaint.

I explained the situation to her and could hear her tapping away on her keyboard.

I wasn't on the Inpatient chemo list for the next month.
I also wasn't on the Outpatient chemo list for the next month.
Or on the pharmacy chemo-preparation list.
Additionally, I wasn't on any list to see any doctor at any time.
At all.

Sometime ....for some reason...since my discharge two weeks ago, I appear to have vanished.

She promised to call me back...and did within 20 minutes, having spoken to my oncologist...who wondered why she hadn't seen me but who had just assumed that I was on her list somewhere.

And this is the Service who is pumping poison into my body.

Its time to unleash Mr Nasty.
Unless I can find someone to bribe.


  1. I am praying for you. I love your funny blog.

  2. I too love your blog but I will be thinking for(of) you.

  3. My sincere commiserations - Sterkte, best wishes from Canada