Pilar & Isabel
2/3 of my fabulous nuclear medicine team

Made personal history yesterday by going to The Hospital for an oncology appointment … ALL BY MYSELF. I’d called all my usual hospital buddies and they were either away on holiday or, like Nog,  not able to get away from work because of the very inconvenient appointment time – 1.45. This also meant that I would be at the tail end of the typical morning’s backup and could expect an extra long wait. You can probably imagine how much I was dreading this. But in the end I decided to take the bull with the corns (a wonderful malapropism from an old student of mine) and do something about this instead of feeling scared and helpless. And so…

I called Pilar on Tuesday night to ask if she would be around for lunch the next day and suggested meeting after my appointment and going out for a tapa. She thought that was a great idea and said she would check to see if Ricardo and Isabel wanted to come too, as they would both be leaving for holidays on Friday. As it turned out Ricardo had to leave early (and although he disappeared before I could get him in the photo you can catch a glimpse of him here) but that still left Pili & Isa.

And so … when I got to the hospital I put my appointment card in the appropriate box up in Oncology and then hustled myself downstairs to Nuclear Medicine. And the whole Team was there! It was great. And so I just hung out there in the computer room, chatting a bit, twittering a bit, and basically feeling very safe and at home. After about an hour I reckoned I should probably go up and see if I was anywhere near being called … it turned out that a woman who’d had a 1.00 appointment had just gone in (it was 2.45 by this time) and so I wondered if lunch was going to be possible after all. But in the end I got in quite quickly after that, got what I needed (or so I thought!) and then met the girls for lunch…

Afterwards I went back to the hospital to make my two appointments, because there had been a massive queue earlier at the oncology front desk.  Why two appointments? Well, going back to my meeting with Dr Ana, the first thing she  said to me when I walked into her office was, “Oh Shawn, I can’t find your latest PET scan here in the computer files”. Which was bullshit. Ricardo had printed me off a copy of the results from his computer the week before, so it had to be in the system. I have no idea what that was all about, other than it seemed like she was in a hurry. And so I told her I’d already spoken to Ricardo about the PET results and that he felt it best to do another PET scan in January. Fine. But then I had to mention the whole tachycardia thing, because Ricardo had also told me to get Dr Ana to ask for a new blood test and also get me an appointment with the cardiologist. And for reasons that escape me, I ended up with an appointment to see an internal medicine specialist … or rather, I ended up with an appointment petition. Whatever!

After lunch I got my oncology appointment okay, but I then found out that the internal medicine office is only open in the morning (wtf??) and was told I’d have to come back the next day. Well, fuck. To cut a long story short, Agustín is going to try and make that appointment for me today by telephone … after a small eternity standing out in the full glare of the afternoon sun I finally managed to hail a taxi and make it to Agustín’s for my one and only English class of the week. Got home around 7.30 just as Peter was leaving for his evening class, had a shower, put on a clean dress and … FLOPPED. And it was then that I realised … I’d done it! But as it turned out, not all by myself after all.

My Team. I love these guys so much. Without them this whole cancer nightmare would have been – and would still be – quite unbearable. They know me, they care about me, and I trust them. Which pretty much says it all.

I also had some friends keeping me company on Twitter – that also helped a lot! So as usual, I got by with (more than) a little help from my friends. It’s that George Bailey feeling all over again…

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