Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First Radiation treatment today

Just finished my first radiation treatment today. I was called last week and told my first treatment would be at 4:30 pm today. I asked about subsequent treatments, and was told I would be given more information after my first treatment today. I explained that in my job I was expected to make arrangements and get leave slips signed in advance rather than just not showing up when it was inconvenient. As a result if they wanted me to return tomorrow I would need to be aware of that appointment in advance of close of business today. After what seemed like a stunned pause, I given 4:30 pm appointments for the rest of this week (Today Tuesday through Friday) and told I would get the remainder of the schedule today. Between then and now I had to schedule a Urologist appointment and was offered 4:30 PM on Friday 3/6 as the first available appointment. I took it, as I needed to find out whether I need a stent and in addition it seemed a safe bet that I would not be getting appointments after this week at 4:30 pm. But today when I showed up I was given a calendar by a cute little nurse (or technician or...) that showed 4:30 pm appointments every weekend starting today and ending the last Monday of February - 20 in all. Since the radiation oncologists had been talking about 6 or more weeks of treatment, I asked if this calendar represented the entirety of the planned treatment schedule or merely the part that had been scheduled to date. She told me she did not know. I asked who did know and when I could find out. She told me usually on Wednesdays after treatment I would have opportunity to meet with the doc and that I could ask them. Let me point out that this is the third conversation I have had with someone from this practice over the past week trying to get clarity about what my treatment schedule will be. She seemed to think it odd that I felt I should know now how long this treatment will continue. I find it bizarre that I am having so much trouble getting clarity on the schedule and even now it is now clear. And that I need to wait for another appointment and again the convenience of the doc before I can get an answer to that very reasonable question. Then I explained that I would need to reschedule the one for 4:30 next Friday 3/6 because I have a Urology appointment then. She seemed startled that I had anything interfering with the schedule I was just provided. I explained that since I had discussed at least 3 times that it would be best if I could come in the AM, I thought that a PM Uroloigst appointment was least likely to interfere with the schedule for radiation when I finally received it. I would have been glad to schedule around their appointments, but I had been unable to get any info on what that would be. I asked if I could reschedule that specific appointment today. It was explained to me that I can't do that until maybe Wednesday of next week. My request that I be able to schedule now so I could plan resulted in it being explained to me that I cannot receive so much very special treatment that it disadvantages other patients. I cannot describe how cynical I felt, but I suspect it showed on my face. I explained that I would have been happy to schedule the Urology appointment around the radiation therapy appointments but I was unable to get any information from this practice regarding when my radiation appointments would be, so I was forced to go ahead and schedule the Urology appointment. I also stated that it was not my impression that I had been getting a lot of special treatment. In fact it was my impression that this practice was more indifferent to the needs of patients than any other practice with which I had been associated as either a patient or a physician. She seemed to think I was way out of line, but asked specifically what time in the afternoon my Urology appointment was for that Friday. I had not brought it with me so was uncertain of my memory but I am pretty sure (can't check till i get back to my office tomorrow) that it is an exact conflict at 4:30. I did not tell her that, however. I told her that it did not matter what time it was since if we tried to schedule this appointment any time that afternoon I would have to complete the appt, travel back to Atlanta and from there up to Marietta GA in time for the next appointment. It is not feasible to plan this all in one afternoon. I need an appointment in Gainesville in the morning on that particular day. I have to wait until next Wednesday to see what slots are leftover to be able to schedule anything. I continue to be very unimpressed with this practice. They seem oblivious to patient needs. First treatment went smoothly I guess, although a bit uncomfortable. I now possess 3 tattos. And since the senior partner in the practice did come into the treatment room afterward to speak to me I took the opportunity to ask him if the schedule of 20 appointments I was given was the entirety of the treatment or only the part of the treatment they had scheduled to date. He checked and confirmed it was the entireity of the treatment - so it was possible and apparently even easy to confirm that. I did not bother trying to reschedule the appt for next Friday today. I will wait another week and just assume I will have to take that entire day off work. the good news is, now that I know my radiation treatments will routinely occur at 4:30 for the next month, i can plan around not needing to leave work until 3:30 or given rush hour commuter traffic, maybe 3 pm. That is helpful. AT last, something helpful.

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