20 January - A let down

Today we were supposed to go to Carlisle for an appointment with the consultant oncologist, also to have a blood count and pick up the temazolomide tablets for my fourth chemotherapy cycle due to start on Monday. We were also, of course, expecting to get the results of the MRI scan that I had a couple of weeks earlier. Although I don't think I have anything to worry about I was still a little bit anxious as some other brain tumour sufferers have learned what they didn't want to hear when the results came back.

Olga phoned the hospital yesterday to confirm that transport had been arranged and was told we should expect a car from 12:30 for our 14:15 appointment. 12:30 came and went. As did 13:30, the point at which making the appointment on time by any means was no longer possible. It's doubtful we could even have arranged a taxi at such short notice because at that time of day the local taxi firms are on pre-booked school runs.

Olga spoke to the consultant's secretary who checked and told us that the transport had not been booked. This despite the transport box on my appointment card being ticked. Clearly the administrative clerk failed to tick the box on the sheet from which the transport arrangements are made up and the person Olga spoke to yesterday didn't even bother to check. Olga was asked to check in future that the request for transport was recorded. So as well as going for treatment we are apparently supposed to supervise the NHS admin staff.

This is the first time we have been let down by the hospital transport service and to be clear it is not the fault of the volunteer drivers, who often complain about being sent to pick up people whose clinics have been cancelled and other administrative failures. It is frustrating when you live in a place with next to no public transport having to depend on other people to get to and from hospital appointments and always being on tenterhooks over whether the car will come or not.

So now I have to wait until Monday morning, the time of my new appointment, to learn the result of my MRI scan, and I will start the new chemo cycle a day late. No big deal, but a lot of frayed nerves and half a day spent for no useful purpose.