It’s like pulling teeth. Not that I’ve ever done that but it’s a phrase commonly used by people with little experience in dental medicine to describe a long drawn out process. So I’m in good company.
Here’s the thing:
Mr ENT writes to Oxford asking when I will be free of heart complications and able to resume the voice procedure.
Oxford reply; “6-8 weeks after the ablation” (i.e. anytime now). However, they’ve not yet seen the results of the 7-day heart monitor and so advise merely taking a break from warfarin, while the procedure is carried out, rather than stopping altogether.
Mr ENT writes to the consultant anaesthetist asking if he’s cool with this. (Consultant Anaesthetist pulled the plug on the voice procedure last time because I was still on warfarin).
In the meantime, Heart Doctor No1 (who has seen the results of the 7-day monitor) writes to my GP saying I can stop taking warfarin altogether on the 20th August. He even suggests Mr ENT might like to get busy any time after that date.
The only thing is – he omits to copy Mr ENT, or me, in on this correspondence. I only find out when I see my GP. So my GP makes a copy and I take it round to the hospital in the hope that although the letter is not actually addressed to him, Mr ENT can act on the contents.
The voice procedure is lumbering forward. All the major players now appear to be in contact with each other, either directly or indirectly, although it’s left to Annie and me (especially Annie) to nudge them along. My GP, being a professional, really doesn’t like to criticise his peers. But he is clearly as frustrated by the slow progress as we are. He rationalises it thus; “they’re just trying to keep you safe while you have the procedure”
Annie rings the hospital to find out when the next slot might be free as we’re planning a short holiday. There are slots available towards the end of September – but the Primary Care Trust is (allegedly) refusing to release funds for the operations. There are some 30 of us in the queue. Sounds like the ‘wait till they die or go private’ approach to managing waiting lists that are being reported in other parts of the country.
So we wait while Mr ENT digests the contents of the letter from Heart Doctor No1 – or gets the affirmative from Consultant Anaesthetist – and for the PCT to get back from the newsagents with their lottery ticket.