Friday, 10 July 2015

An afternoon in the life of a couple

Appointment 2:15 Dr. C. Ottawa Hospital Trip #37

People have been asking, and it is good news. We have more time, the disease trajectory is slow, and we're not back for another 6 months.  I take notes on the iPad. Then, we review it later. It makes a difference in exploiting the healthcare system to its full potential. I have lots of advice from our journey through Ontario healthcare these past couple of years.

Laugh, a lot. Be silly. Take stuff to do – for you KNOW you will wait! Take snacks, regular medications, and water. Magazines. Selfies are fun. An iPad lets you take notes.

11:45 a.m. We left house, we usually give it 2 hours for a 90-km trip, including detours, construction, car incidents, and finding a parking spot. We went through Smiths Falls, North Gower, up went up Greenbank Rd. I spotted the Half Moon Bay development, huge, house for sale. Interesting story! I like to combine research with the drive.

Our first half hour was interesting, as we sat at a stop sign. I was watching an older woman drive slowly by, with several cars tailing her. It didn't look good. She passed by, as well as her entourage. A couple of speed demons passed her further along the way, she was doing 20 km/hr below the posted speed limit. I couldn't blame them. Then, we made it to Smiths Falls, driving behind a long line of pissed off drivers, to highway #43 and William St. (see Google image below - from the opposite side of the intersection). She was in the lane ahead of us, to go through town, when she suddenly veered and made a right turn, crossing just in front of a pickup truck turning right. These are the things that stress me out!
Google street view of Smiths Falls
Barrhaven was busy with construction. Riverside was crazy, too, with a motorcycle zipping in and out of traffic, speeding. Hubby wants credit for his photos. He's getting better at drive-by shootings!
Our Enroute show our driving distances and time.

1:30 p.m. arrived at the hospital parking lot, it was really full!

1:45 A long walk across the hospital, past many cheerful volunteers who will help guide you. If we stand, peering at the signage in the hospital many staff have stopped to send us in the right direction: we've been in for MRIs, CT Scans, Bone scan, blood tests galore. We were quickly ushered into a room by a French-speaking nurse, who pronounced his last name correctly! You know you're in the city when...

1:52 After high hopes, we're still waiting, hubby reading The Economist. I'm playing with iPad photos and other apps.

2:18 p.m. - still here, heard 3 other patients go in to other waiting rooms. He has good staff, to get everyone processed efficiently, prep work prior to the appointment, etc. We really like him.
The healthcare system isn't broken. Each hospital and each doctor has responsibility. Our man is tireless, and has phoned us at 9:00 at night with information. Ours takes his responsibility seriously. We take some, too; ensuring test results are in, taking notes, briefing ourselves prior to an appointment, debriefing, formulating questions, talking to our GP if we have questions, as well.

2:30 I half-opened the door, as it was getting stuffy, we both sneezed. Then, I heard patient #4 being ushered into a room. We wait.
More playing with the iPad apps. I like mirror, and hallway...hubby reads.

2:40 Always, someone comes in to get updates from us for the files, before the good doctor comes in. Helen, a 3rd year med. student, asked hubby for current symptoms (none), then goes over our recent results: MRI (positive for cancer on mesorectal lymph nodes), biopsy on the floor surrounding the surgical site (negative).

All files are on the system,
which helps track tests.
Thankfully, hubby'd gone to his GP, in between the MRI report info getting to both our GP and our Urologist, as there was some question about a statement. Our GP asked for clarification by the MRI staff, which was made clearer by the time we visited our Dr. C. It's frustrating waiting weeks after a test for information. You have to let it go, if you cannot access the simple data. Live each day to the fullest.

That said, you can always talk to your GP, who will have test reports, such as the PSA blood test (which is up post-prostatectomy – it's slowly creeping, just slowly, though). This is helpful and relieves pressure. They lost one test result last time, from an outside agency.

2:59 Dr. C. arrived and we had a conversation about next steps: back in 6 months. This is good, as we've been going in every 3 months, which is stressful and tiring, as you can see.
Dr. C.
3:20 p.m. We were back to car, $13 parking, heaven knows hospitals need the money. Happily, we were prior to rush hour traffic. This usually adds another half hour to a trip, although I was passed by rural rush hour demons, trying to get home in the Ottawa Valley in record time.
Ghost bike decorated for Canada Day

4:59 p.m. Fort Hemlock Pub, (more photos to follow) where we met the owner, Scott Prout, quite a keener, trying to capture photos of his heron. I'm so glad we can afford to eat out on our way home. I'd be too tired to cook. The staff are great, and they help us figure out what hubby can and cannot eat with his food intolerances. (If you suspect you have issues, go to a Naturopath. Our Dr. Jenn is terrific, and now we know which foods he must avoid (yeast, eggs, dairy). This has made all the difference in the world, as we traipse about the city.
I drove us into the appointment,
he's still reading,
hubby drove from here, home!
6:29 Down to Rideau Ferry Store for 'candy' and home again. There were a few fun photos, I'm not driving anymore, as wine was involved in my dinner!

We arrived home safely, more so than this poor man!


eileeninmd said...

I know you are happy and relieved that this appointment is over. I am glad you have a doctor that you are happy with, he sounds awesome!

Nancy J said...

Oh Jenn, I had forgotten you had another appt., we are so lucky as the visits to Wellington have been few, so far. Not sure about after the surgery, if Hugh is sent home with stitches still in,( or maybe clips??) do we have to travel back there 2.5 hours driving for that? I should know more on 14th, when the hospital phones with more detailed info about the 27th. I guess my birthday on 25th will be on hold till later. Family have asked what I want, I suggested some cash towards an iPad, and southern daughter suggested I get a cellular model, so I can assess the internet anywhere. SIM card has to be paid for separately, then you can go prepay for a data amount, ( my choice) or go onto a monthly plan. Gave up on the Murray-Federer match at about 4 a.m. too tired. Hugs to you both, and so glad the appt results and discussion went well.

William Kendall said...

That poor guy had himself a bad day. At least this is positive news for you.

I can't help but notice that old Charger, decorated like the General Lee.

And every time I pass that ghost bike, I wonder how much longer this has to continue. At what point is enough enough?

Karen said...

I think we followed that route a couple of weeks ago. Nice drive to get out of Dodge before the rush starts!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Good news about the six months. All the med stuff sure does test patience of the patients... as do the drivers you describe. (Another issue with our father... but if the doc won't take his licence, who are his kids to say anything?)

Love the first 'doodle' above!!! YAM xx

Red said...

there's a lot of stress involve with medical travel and appointments. I'm the driver so I don't get much time for research. Driving on busy narrow roads is a pain. I hope things go very well for the next six months.

Cloudia said...

May you lovely folk enjoy many many happy moments together!


Powell River Books said...

That's quite a day. But you take everything with such a bright outlook. By the way, drive-by shootings mean a whole different thing where I used to work in El Monte, California. There the results didn't have a pretty aftermath.