Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I had my second appointment with an obstetrician today. I wasn’t holding out much for a pleasant experience as the clinic is held in a community centre that has not seen any NHS investment and the scheduling and time management is crap. Also, it’s pikey central - I don’t like to judge the overweight, bleached hair, teenage sarf lundun mothers, but of course I do.
So, having filled my sample pot, I stewed in my low expectations for half an hour while waiting to see whichever obstetrician picked up my file (they seem to operate a rush goalie system). A woman younger than me called my name - perhaps newly qualified, I thought. I tried to discuss my bendy pelvis and the pain, got some response but no definite idea as to whether she would be referring me to a physiotherapist. Two minutes into the appointment - answering all the same questions I’ve already answered at every previous brush with the medical profession since getting knocked up - a toad-like man entered the room. He didn’t introduce himself, but from the dynamic in the room I guessed he was a senior consultant.
Suddenly he’s all over my notes. He quizzes me about how my hydrocephalus was treated. He doesn’t listen to the answers. He repeats back what I’ve told him, but with key details muddled. He tells me that I must be mistaken about aspects of my previous treatment. Up until I nearly shouted at him, he was convinced that I’d had a check up on my shunt at seven and 12 weeks pregnant. No! I said it again for the third time - I was seven and 12 YEARS OLD. I’ve been completely discharged for the last 18 years. I do not need my shunt any more - it is redundant hardware. There was no getting through to him.
I laid on the couch and the woman ran the Doppler over Sprout - he’s still in there, heart beating, limbs flailing. The toad came back, what kind of editor am I, he asked. I explained about doing PR for evil software corp. He asked what was in the news recently. I said, well, today, evil corp has lost its appeal in the EC Court of First Instance. He tried to look knowledgeable and failed. Later I wondered if he was testing to see if I am mentally deficient.
The last painful minutes of the appointment, which had dragged on quite long enough, were spent with him dictating a letter to my GP requesting that in light of my hydrocephalus I be treated normally. He kept rewinding the Dictaphone, replaying a sentence and then deciding to tape over it. I learnt that I am to be allowed a normal second stage and that the use of instruments will only be considered after two hours, in other words a normal delivery. So much for birth plans, my right to choose and so forth.
I came out nearly weeping in rage. The one thing I need help with - my fucked-up pelvis - was ignored. Everything I told him was ignored. I was patronized and talked over. And now I have to make yet another appointment with my doctor to request the treatment that I was denied at this appointment. Jesus Fucking Christ. I love the NHS, I defend it to the hilt every time I get stuck in one of those conversations with moaners - it offers excellent free-at-the-point-of-delivery services to everyone who needs them. The treatment I have received has saved my life more than once. Yes you have to wait, yes, some drugs aren’t available...etc the fact remains though that 90 per cent of the service is excellent. St Thomas’s Hospital seems wonderful... That said, it only takes one idiot, arrogant consultant who has no real clue about medicine outside his specialism and clearly lacks listening skills to push me over the edge. Just remembering the whole sorry incident has reduced me to impotent raging tears all over again - why, why, why didn’t I stand my ground better at the time? I swear, I’m never going to mention hydrocephalus on any form ever again.

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