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I had an appointment with Dr Gahir today at 12 noon. It is a check-up six weeks (almost) after the radiotherapy stopped. We once again entered the awesome Main Building and this time - I did have an appointment on the screen and it printed it out for me. A helpful nurse pointed us in the right direction for the ENT Department. We went into the Main Reception and booked in. The Receptionist said we had to listen out for the number that was on my slip of paper, which also popped up on several screens. "Number 1364 please go to SubWait 1". It was like being in Argos - waiting for your number to come up and being redirected to a counter. Here however - you were redirected to another waiting room. Nathan thought they were saying "Subway" and was expecting to get a sandwich. It was making him hungry anyway :-)
We saw Frank and his wife in there - so we sat and had a chat and catch-up. He is still not eating as his throat is still too swollen. He did look a bit better than last time I saw him though. He never did have any more chemotherapy either. I felt a bit bad telling him about having my PEG taken out the other day. He asked how bad it was having it removed - and I told him it was much quicker and easier than having it put in! He told me he still had a sore mouth, stiff neck and ringing in his ears too. It was comforting to know that I wasn't strange in still having the same. I expected to be all better by now!
I had thought that I'd read somewhere that the new Outpatients system would mean that everyone no longer had the same appointment time. But Frank and I had the same time of 12 noon. We were called through to SubWait 1 first though - and sat in a smaller waiting room with a few others. They all went through one by one, then just as I thought it was my turn as we were the last ones in there - they called Frank's name and he came from the Main Waiting Room - so I am not sure how the new system works. We were next though - and went in about 1.10pm - which isn't too bad. I'd done the SuDoku and Spiralword in The Sentinel and was half-way though the crossword by the time Frank came out. They'd popped a camera down to look at his throat and told him not to try eating yet. He has to return in four weeks.
I was surprised to see Mr Hughes when I got into the room - no sign of Dr Gahir. (Hello Dr Gahir - if you are reading this - hope you are well :-) There was a more senior doctor (who Mr Hughes referred to) a student doctor (I think) and two nurses.. It was a very smart new consulting room with a big dentist's chair in the middle of the room. He asked me to take a seat - and I tried to sit in a chair by his desk but he said "No - you're in the hot seat!"
He asked how I was and I told him how things were. He had a look in my mouth and felt all round my neck. He said to the senior doctor - "I don't think we need the camera down do we?" and luckily he shook his head. They decided to do some "Imaging" - not sure what kind of scan but it was to be pelvis to head. He said usually they'd just so head and neck, but with my kind of cancer being so unusual in this area - adenocarcinoma doesn't usually show up in the head or neck - that they'd check everywhere to make sure it was all gone. I had expected this. I'll get an appointment through the post.
He then declared that he was very happy with me. He said that usually at this point patients are looking like they are at death's door - and stay like that for several months. The recovery starts now - and will take twelve months. He said as I was so well he wants me to stay active and keep exercising my arm, neck and shoulder, as the scars would start to mature. He said he's see me in another six weeks.
I was very happy with that too :-)
On the way into the building we'd glanced up and seen the new cafe on the upper level - so on the way out we decided to investigate. It looked lovely and the menu was quite enticing so we decided to get a bite for lunch. We tried the chicken and mushroom pie, which came with carrots. There were chips and wedges there - but they were extra. I think to encourage healthy eating. There was a doctor in front of us who got a pile of chips too though - heehee! Lots of staff were eating in there as well as some builders and lots of visitors. We shared some wedges between us - and the pie was really nice and tasty. We sat by the window trying to figure out what the builders below us (at the front of the Main Building) were constructing. They were moving and placing curved white blocks - a bit like giant lego. We guessed it might be a water feature of some kind - but I guess we won't know until our next visit. I'll keep you posted - watch this space :-)
When I got back I had a phone call from the Physiotherapy chap at Occupational Health. I have to go along to Green's Health and Fitness by the Britannia Stadium for an assessment on Wednesday morning. Hopefully they'll be able to get my arm and shoulder moving a bit better before I go back to work.