Thursday, 20 September 2012

The (Im)Patient Patient

I've always had a problem with the phrase "caught like a rat in a trap". I feel it could be improved upon. Rats are smart. Rats, once caught, sometimes make it out of traps.

But they never make it out of cats.

I currently feel much like a rat in a cat. It has now been six weeks since I had an injection of lanreotide. They only last for a month. During that month I did feel much better. At one point I ran upstairs and my heartrate barely increased, even though I hadn't taken my medication that day. For me, that is a medial coup indeed.

Alas, those halcyon days are gone. I'm back to taking two or three propranolol tablets a day to keep my heartrate as normal as possible. My moments of hypoglycaemia (brought on by the lanreotide injections) have been replaced by finding the six flights of stairs to my desk much more challenging in the morning.*

As you can imagine, I am chafing under this new and irritating regime, rendered all the more irritating by the fact that if my stupid former GP's surgery didn't have such nonsensical rules then I would have had my second injection by now and all would be hunky dory. Consequently, I'm calling the hospital every week to find out what's going on. I contact one of the nurses in the endocrine department, who is lovely, and then we have a mutual guilt festival, whereby she feels guilty for not being able to give me good news and I feel guilty for making her feel guilty considering that it's not her fault in the slightest.

I called last Wednesday, at the five-weeks-since-last-injection mark, and the nurse said that she could confirm all the paperwork had finally been submitted, and she seemed optimistic that it would get approved quickly and I'd get the injection soon. I called again today but the atmosphere of optimism had sadly been replaced with uncertainty over exactly how long this would take. Apparently, if your life is not immediately threatened by the lack of medication, then it doesn’t matter that you're symptomatic and the tumour in your head could well be growing happily like an evil, greedy mushroom.** You just have to be patient.

If ever I had wondered how the word "patient" had come to have two such different meanings - meaning in the first instance, a calm endurance of difficulty, and in the second, a person receiving medical treatment - I stopped wondering some time ago, because it seems that extreme feats of patience are required pretty much as soon as you become a patient.

*I should point out that my desk is in an office which is accessed by climbing six flights of stairs and then walking along a corridor. I don't just have a desk sitting atop a massive staircase, although that would be quite awesome.
** I don't like mushrooms.


  1. Are there no other GP's you're in the catchment area for? because your new one sounds kind of useless.

  2. On the other hand, I can well imagine that having to go through the 'yes, I have a horrendously rare zebra condition, yes, i need expensive medicine, yes, it is necessary that someone, possibly you, pays for it' all over again with new doctors would be pretty shite.

  3. is it your GP or the PCT that is delaying? In my case it was the PCT that took 2 months to decide to allow Lanreotide, which is ridiculous really since it is standard NICE protocol. Keep pushing and good luck