Monday, January 25, 2010

French lessons again

Every night for the past five nights I have been crawling up the walls; this is not an attempt to bash down the cobwebs and those antique very thin ghostly spiders that inhabit old French stone houses, but it's the pain from my shoulder, or shoulder blade should I say that is metaphorically driving me up the wall. It started about four months ago with a strange deep itch and being even more fidgety in bed than I usually am when sitting up trying to read. It's nagged away since then and gradually got worse but then this week, sacre bleu it's like toothache, earache and labour pains all rolled up into one.

I had told my oncologist when it was just niggling but he shrugged it off, lucky him to be able to shrug! He says it's my lungs that matter which is a fair point but I'd rather have the full picture and anyway now it seems my shoulder blade is living up to its name, spearing me when I am trying to have a lovely chilled out time in front of my log fire.

So this morning we went unannounced, sans rendez-vous, to Dr Fraize in our nearest village, Hautefort. He gave us an appointment for 10, listened to the whole story, he knew the first chapter as it was he who had insisted I went to hospital right at the beginning when the UK docs were shrugging my groin off and doing bugger all about it. He examined my cote as they call it here and got immediately onto the blower to the hospital in Perigueux where they had discovered leio and pulled him out in his vein. He spoke to one of the senior oncology radiologist doctors and asked him to analyse the CT scan I happened to have with me - the German one- to see if anything was showing up on my shoulder blade, if not he was to x-ray me to see if the bones were all OK. I could go between 2 and 6 this afternoon; again with no rendez-vous. Off we went, it's a lovely ride, 40 minutes through ravishing countryside, to the MRI dept, I handed in my disc, we sat for ten minutes in which time three people came into have thier scans, each was taken immediately into the changing room and from there into the scan rooms, no waiting at all. After 10 minutes the Doctor came out and said he could see nothing on the scan, so I must have an x-ray, he took me upstairs handed me over immediately to a radiographer who snapped me three times and then took me and the x-rays back to the Doctor. After another 5 minutes he took us into a consultation room and said he could find nothing on the bone, no evidence of bone mets that is.

The whole thing took less than an hour, Ok I would have preferred an MRI scan and will ask for one in Birmingham while I am having the chemo, but given that I emerged out of the blue into the French system this morning and by this afternoon had been given pain killers that work, been seen by a specialist, looked at properly and had at least one nightmare scenario discounted, I think we can safely say that France has scored again!

The whole system seems so much more accessible and open-minded; it's better organised for sure. As I arrived home I had a call from Jess, she had taken Danny to have his dressing changed in Birmingham, she called me after waiting for two and a half hours with him in a waiting room full of other little kids and their families. She had complained and asked how many children were in front of Danny in the queue, no-one could tell her. Where are we going wrong!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jean!
    So, where are we going wrong? Well, one area is spending. Despite massive increases in spending over the last nine years, the UK still lags behind France; in 2006 (latest OECD numbers), UK spent 8.4% of GDP on public and private health care....France spent 11.1% - a third more! If we spent what they spent we'd be spending around 140 billion next year in England - not the planned 105 billion.

    Anyway, stuff the numbers (as we economists say), lots of love from Me, Claire, Jack etc blah etc (as the youngest 3 are known!)