Sunday, October 24, 2010

Getting Good Treatment: A cautionary Tale

As I mentioned in my last post, I had an appointment for treatment and to visit my doctor on Friday. Originally, the appointment was set for Tuesday, but since I had visitors, I moved the date to Friday.

I went in and waited. I was ushered to the exam room and as the nurse deposited me there, I asked that perhaps while I was waiting for the doctor, I could have my Faslodex shot, but I hadn't had my blood test yet. She nodded, not saying anything and left.

When the doctor came in, I told him that he didn't have any labs because I hadn't been drawn as I was told that my appointment was for him, the Faslodex and the Zometa. He told me I wasn't supposed to have Zometa until NEXT month. That was odd, as when the nurse called, she had said all three.

I queried him as to what his plan was for treatment for me, something which is very important to do. This oncologist and I don't have a "partnership" yet, something I valued with my former oncologist. Sam Bobrow always told me exactly what he planned to do, when, why, how much and how often. I can't emphasize how important this is, especially after what happened next.

I got ready to leave after the exam and I was retrieved by someone who was going to do my "check out." I was puzzled and I said, I don't think so, I haven't had my blood tests yet and I'm supposed to get treatment. Evidently, when I was rescheduled, the scheduler failed to include my treatment switch. I told her that I really didn't want to leave without it...the injection takes 10 minutes and it is a 40 minute drive for me to get to the office. Ten minutes is an exaggeration as it probably takes less than that. So....I had to wait. I had to get put back into the lab and have the lab read to make sure that everything was a go to get the Faslodex.

Finally, I went into the room. The nurse said " Ok, we'll give you your Faslodex shot now, and then you'll come back on November 10 and get your Zometa and another Faslodex shot." I think you had better check that, I said. I'm supposed to get my Faslodex once a month and since today is 10/22, it is only two weeks until November 10th. So....I had to wait while she checked. She finally came back, his annotation was Zometa and Faslodex in NOVEMBER of 2010 (hence, 11/10). So, I got my injection, got scheduled for my next appointment and at 11:38 I left.....three hours and eight minutes after my appointment was scheduled... I ran some errands and went home, and had lunch.

I was packing for the quilting retreat I was supposed to go on at 3:30 when the telephone 1:38. It was the nurse....she had made a mistake and only given me half a dose of the Faslodex....that Dr. Sabier's wanted me to have two doses as that seemed to have better results. So, would I please come back.

I'm irritated now...not only do I have to go back, but the last dose I received was only a half a dose as well then....I got two injections the first and second time, and one in Sept., and I'll have two now. If the doctor had told me exactly what I was supposed to have and when, then I wouldn't have to make a second trip and I wouldn't have missed half a dose.

Why is it so hard for a patient to get the treatment they are supposed to get? Why must we fight so hard? Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather you all know to ask exactly what is to happen and when so you won't have missed part of your treatment and have to return. One can only hope that it isn't going to threaten my results by getting half as much in one treatment as I should and having another treatment spread out over several days.

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