Tuesday, August 14, 2012

still waiting

We spent the past week and a bit preparing ourselves for Mark's surgery, which had been scheduled for today.

It's a pretty big op and we're a little bit emotional about it. Physically and emotionally, there is a lot of work to be done to get ready. At home, we had things to sort out, arrangements to make regarding work, pets, just general life stuff.

We were both pretty relieved to arrive at the same day admitting area this morning and be taken on time. Mark got into his charming gown, new housecoat and awesome IV. He sat in a little cubby while the nurses too'd and fro'd and tried to find him a gurney. From the waiting area, I saw his surgeon come in. All good signs right?

Next thing I know, a nurse is calling my name. She approaches me and says, "have you been told yet that the surgery has been cancelled." Dumbfounded, angry, sad, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, I say, "uh, no!" She takes me to where Mark is. He's now getting dressed and has big bandages on his hands from the IV stuff.

We're both upset but we understand, things happen. There was no bed available for him to go to once he got out of surgery. That is a problem. I suspect that they were backed up with trauma cases from the weekend. We suck it up and go home. Well, we try to go home.

We get to the lobby and I phone for a cab. While we are standing outside, upset, shaken, a smidgen angry, on the verge of tears (me anyway - I think Mark was probably more composed that I was), waiting for our cab, safely in the 9 m no smoking area. An older man approaches us, commenting on Mark's hair (it's long, silvery white and worn in a braid down his back). I can tell he's going to aks if Mark is aboriginal (he's not, he's a lapsed jew) and wants to start some kind of crazy conversation with us. I notice that he has bright blue nail polish on his very dirty nails. Mark sees his light cigarette and notices his "homeless tan" (not my description, I guess it's something Mark's observed while driving his cab). We both tell him no, to step away from us with the cigarette. The man starts into some discussion of religion. We ask him again to leave and I point out that he's in the no smoking zone. He tells me to call a cop if I don't like it. I pull out my phone and get ready to dial when I realize that there are security guards right inside the door. I tell the man that I'll just go fetch a guard. The man RUNS to the other side of the painted line and says, "there, what are you going to do now?" We say, "Nothing, you're in the smoking zone now, leave us alone." He starts hollering at us that we are hate-filled, are going to hell. Which is hilarious considering we don't believe in hell. We're both pretty sure that dead is dead and there no where to go when your number is up. However, he keeps hollering "well that's where you're going." We shout back at him to just leave us alone and to f-off and get into our cab. He was still shouting at us as we drove away. Mark told me that he sees guys like that all the time. They hang around outside the hospital and bum smokes from patients who go out for a cigarette.

Normally, I would probably just ignored someone like that but we were both so upset and he just picked the wrong moment. When we got home, I was still shaking with anger and frustration but calmed down enough to call the surgeon's office to rebook.

I have to say, the surgeon's office is amazing. They have given us a spot for tomorrow, we're checking in at 6 a.m. and Mark should be having his op by 8 a.m.

We're early birds most of the time so that won't bother us too much and I have to say, the blue-nailed smoking dude probably won't be up to greet us when we arrive tomorrow. We're feeling really lucky to have this new slot assigned to us so quickly. it was a real relief because I know how long these things can take sometimes. We'll both be really glad when tomorrow is over and we start down a road that gets things back to something close to normal again.

Monday, August 13, 2012

missing Kathy

Spring 1972
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Four years ago today, my strong, sweet, beautiful cousin Kathy lost her long-fought battle with brain cancer. We lost her far too soon and still miss her every day. This picture of Kathy and me was taken in the spring of 1972, over 40 years ago. Yikes.

Been thinking about her a lot over the weekend, about cancer and illness and how many people in our life are fighting right now.

In Kathy's honour, I'm trying to focus on the good times and remember all of the goofy stuff we did as kids together. Usually we would see each other at my nana's house on Jasper Avenue in Smiths Falls. Nana is gone now too, almost 15 years this fall. It's hard to believe how quickly time passes sometimes. Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that it happened. I don't think that you ever get over a loss like that.

Best we can hope for is to laugh more often than we cry when we look at back at those we've lost.

Friday, August 03, 2012

front of the line service

As I've mentioned here before, Mark had surgery in June, late June. He had been suffering with kidney stones for a while and finally they called his number and he got to go in and have those suckers blasted with lasers. It was a fairly simple procedure, no incisions, done by a surgeon who confided that he had kicked ass at Dragon Slayer in the 80's. Good stuff. Excellent result, Mark's had an awesome recovery. All is well.

So, we find out this week that he needs to have another surgery. Slightly more complicated surgery this time, to deal with a completely different issue. The issue was identified during his Kidney Stone diagnosis and some of the pre-surgical screening stuff he had to do.

Now, because he has been a surgical patient so recently, and us being thoughtful folks who don't want to cost the fragile health care system anymore money than we need to, we were hopeful that we could save the taxpayers some money and us some time, by avoiding the pre-surgical screening stuff.

When we met with the new surgeon (different issue, different doctor - both are AWESOME), he gave us a form to fill out and we figured that was the end of it. Mark gets a call on Wednesday that he is required to go in for another PSS. When he called back yesterday to talk to the folks in charge, he explained how he'd already had one and, had filled out a form. They were insistent that he go in and told him that it would only take 10 minutes because all they needed was a blood draw. Fine, he parks the cab and goes in.

One hour and ten minutes later, he walked out, fuming. I can't blame him. They did do the blood work but they also sat with him, went over his questionnaire (the woman who he met with had his form from Monday with her) again. Not only did she ask each question again, slowly, she circled his answers which had already been checked off.


Now, this is an excellent hospital with helpful, well trained, courteous staff. We're very happy about the level care he's been receiving in recent months and have no doubts about the level of care he'll continue to receive when he goes in for his surgery in a week and a bit. Honestly though, how much did it cost the system for him to have that meeting yesterday? Not to mention the wages he lost by being in there instead of out on the road. Maybe I'm just crabby from the heat but this really bugged me and I know it bothered Mark too. Ugh!