19th September is my birthday and this year I booked myself a tiny stone cottage in the middle of a nature reserve in Wales - total solitude for 10 days (well, obviously the dogs came with me)......my idea of a perfect birthday present to myself.
I also needed to get away because I have been feeling a bit under the weather since March and had a blood test recently to see if that showed anything - I asked the nurse when I would get the results, she said try in a week unless something shows up you won't hear anything, you have to ring.
Next morning there was a text on my phone to ring the doctor. Slight panic sets in.
I duly telephoned the practice - which is a combination now of two practices, not the nice familiar practice we are used to. After pressing numerous options I got through to someone and explained I had received a text to call
"oh yes, the doctor needs to speak to you"
......"is it urgent?" I ask
"the doctor will explain".
Now I am starting to get a little alarmed; what has shown up? Is the cancer back? Has it come back in a different form? All sorts of things going through my mind.
Bear in mind that it was Friday.......
"I will get the doctor to call you on Wednesday, is that ok?"
WHAT?? Wednesday? That is over 5 days away, I have to stew on the possible outcome of the test all that time?
I asked if he could call me earlier or if she could give me an idea of whether it was serious -
"well, you don't sound ill"
was her response!!??
After a long weekend of thinking the very worst - I am a glass half-empty person by nature - Wednesday came. By 4.30 pm I had still not received a call so I telephoned them, explaining that I had to go back to work and that I would not be able to take any calls until after 6.30 pm by which time I thought the doctor would be gone home.
The lady, same one as before, said she would ensure the doctor rang me at 6.30 pm. I thanked her and said that I was sorry to bother them but I was worried that my results were serious and (jokingly) said I was afraid they showed I was dying or something (keeping it lighthearted, but somewhere in the background that was what I thought)
.......and her reply?.......you guessed it "well, you don't sound like you are dying".
What a relief, that's ok then if the receptionist can make that diagnosis over the phone!
It gets better - the doctor duly telephoned at 6.30 pm, a doctor who is apparently my doctor under the new regime but one I had never spoken to before and his opening line was...... "I believe you wanted to speak to me?"
He had no idea why he was ringing, I had been left hanging for 5 days convinced that my cancer was back and this man had no idea why he was ringing.
Having looked at the results he decided he needed to speak to my oncologist and that I needed an examination to ensure the breast area was ok and the soonest one was in 17 days time. Yes, 17 days time, I know the NHS is pushed and I have up until now only received good treatment from them but I think a little empathy may be appropriate - just a hint of what he thinks the blood tests have showed would be good.
So an escape to Wales was appropriate, I have tried not to dwell on it and am mindful that by worrying I cannot help the outcome.
Time to get a half-full glass perhaps.
Watch this space x