The Patient, English Patient

lab results

Last Updated on April 19, 2023 by ADMIN-TOM

No, this isn’t a sequel to the The English Patient, the 1992 novel by Michael Ondaatje. This is all about me, my cancer and a small nod to the vagaries of the English language.
Let’s get the language out of the way first, because it always seems odd to me that English is the de facto world language. With English being such an odd language, we end up with me being a patient, i.e., I’m under the care of a doctor, while at the same time, I’m also patient, i.e., I’m willing to wait for information, results of tests, a cup of tea. See what I mean. I’m a patient who is patient. Yes, English is an odd language.
Even more odd is the way health workers with similar training, and in some cases training in Britain (here comes that English link again) can be so different in their approach.
My Oncologist does not readily give out information on the status of my Lymphoma. I must ask am I well or has the cancer progressed. My last meeting with my oncologist was three months ago, in which she said I needed another three months of chemotherapy, on top of the six months I had already endured. Yes, endured, I mean it at its most extreme definition. Going throgh six months of chemo can me gruelling. Nine months is soul destroying. But I have endured. So, what next? Am I cured? I have no idea. After my last – I hope – chemo injection last week and blood tests the day before, I expected a phone call Monday to tell me the good news. No such luck. I had to telephone the surgery to find out what was happening. Turns out I’m booked in for a biopsy at the end of April, the results of which will take two weeks to come back from the lab.
It’s not the biopsy, a bone marrow aspiration, that’s the problem. I can endure the pain, no problem. It’s not knowing what comes next, I find annoying. But that’s the way it is over here. They treat the disease; the patient is an afterthought.
By the way, you now have two English language oddities for the price of one. A patient, patient, who is having an aspiration, while aspiring to change medical practitioner’s attitudes to patient, patients.
Life is confusing enough, without having to bank on doctors and nurses changing their ways. And you can take that to the bank!

Copyright © Tom Kane 2023

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