All posts for the month October, 2013

Letters From the Edge of Blogspace: West End Girl Again…

Published October 26, 2013 by Christine

If there is anyone who actually reads this drivel, my apologies for the delay in writing this. I should have done this last week. Wednesday 16th Oct was my fourth visit to Charing Cross GIC. The day before I had yet another job interview. This meant that I was thinking more of these than of writing so, again, apologies. The job interview went well. I thought I did well but, as I found out a couple of days later, I hadn’t done as well as I’d though, mainly due to lack of commercial experience in one particular area, programming (VB.NET). So consequently, I didn’t get the job. Shame really. I like working in Alton.

Anyway, my CHX visit went well, apart from the weather, parking and timing. My appointment letter, which I had picked up at the end of my last visit, said that I was to see the Endocrinologist’s nurse at 1115 and then my lead clinician, Dr Barrett, at 1145. So, being the good girl that I am, I left nice and early to get there on time. Due to seriously bad traffic coming down through Putney Hill and Putney Bridge I barely made it on time. It had started raining hard as well, which didn’t help. I then had to drive round for a bit looking for a parking space, all the time, my appointment getting closer and closer. Luckily, one opened up close to the GIC and I zipped in there. The cost, being the West End of London was quite high, about £1.20 per half-hour, and I had enough on me for about three hours. I dropped in enough for an hour, knowing there would be a break in appointments, during which I could come out and top up. I practically ran into the GIC, my umbrella threatening to deform and collapse, only to find a mistake had been made. The appointment letter contained a typo. My appointment with the nurse was at 1315, not 1115! All that perfectly good worrying about the time had been wasted. All I could do was mope back to the car until my 1145 appointment with Dr Barrett. This also meant there would be a big gap between appointments during which I couldn’t afford the parking. Still, I’d cross that bridge when I came to it.

The appointment with Dr Barrett went well. He was his usual chatty self, digressing left, right and centre while somehow still staying on topic. The main subject was my weight, as I suspected it would be, with him explaining why there are no fat vegetarians, and why exercise has to be combined with a healthy diet, all the time going off on tangents. He was happy with my blood test results and my T and E levels, and explained why they do it so slowly, which made sense. He then told me he would increase my Estradiol dosage to 6mg/day and prescribe Decapeptyl (a testosterone inhibitor or, for the medically minded, a GnRH agonist), along with Cyproterone Acetate, a testosterone blocker, to counter the side-effects of Decapeptyl. This means that my body will be almost devoid of testosterone, allowing the oestrogen to work its magic. This made me a very happy bunny indeed. Dr Barrett promised to send out the required letter to my GP as soon as possible but, with the record of CHX, I didn’t hold out much hope on that.

Off out to the car again while waiting for my appointment with the nurse. I ended up driving further up the road, parking and sitting eating lunch, watching “National Treasure II” on my phone while keeping an eye out for any parking wombles. I managed to get away with this one and so, at the appointed time, I again parked closer to the GIC, paid up an hour and a half, (all I had left) and went in.

Iffy, the nurse, was running a little late which, considering all the work she has to do, is not surprising. I am a patient woman, (you have to be, in IT), so I waited until called. There is a notice on the wall asking you to notify the receptionist if you are waiting more than ten minutes past your appointment time but, I usually ignore this. Eventually I was called in by Iffy. We went through the usual weigh-in, height measurement, (I’m sure that doesn’t change much during appointments), and a chat about my energy levels and such. It then went on to a Q&A about weight, exercise, hormonal effects and such. She didn’t have my notes, since Dr Barrett was using them to dictate my letter, but it didn’t matter. She agreed with Dr Barrett on the hormones, reiterated about their effects and what I could expect on Decapeptyl and then that was it. I was done for another six months.

My next appointment is in April ’14 which, providing I have shed the weight, should be my surgical referral. This appointment should have been it, but there was a six month delay due to my hormone authorisation letter going missing in September last year.

On an interesting note, this Wednesday, the 23rd, I received my copy of the letter to my GP authorising the increase in hormones and the Decepeptyl. Seven days after my visit. I was expecting to wait at least thirteen weeks, the average time for a letter. So, maybe they’re getting their act together at last.

I’m still a happy bunny.


Letters From The Edge of Blogspace: PEBKAC

Published October 2, 2013 by Christine

Last week I went to see my GP, all excited with the latest hormone levels, with the wild expectation that, with the current levels as they are, especially the testosterone, I would be put on blockers (Decapeptyl) and the prescription upped by 2mg/day. This was not to be. The reason being my GP, being the cautious chap that he is, couldn’t understand the instructions from the consultant at CHX. At first I was disappointed but I then re-read what the consultant had written and had to agree with him. It didn’t make sense. I don’t know if it was a result of the the typist misunderstanding what the consultant had said or the consultant herself mis-dictating the letter but, the end result was that my GP decided to wait until I had seen the lead clinician later this month to get confirmation of what was supposed to happen. Annoying, yes. Drastic, no. I can live with it. In fact I’d rather live with a cautious GP than die from a reckless one. This does seem to be a pretty good instance of PEBKAC, an acronym frequently used in the IT world to describe a user-initiated fault : Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.

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