I went to my appointment today at a big Cambridge Hospital regarding my port pain.
I have been waiting to see the chap there (Mr. H) for about 2 months, so I wasn't going to cancel even though I have already booked my bypass surgery. Which I didn't tell him about either ;)
I arrived, a nurse checked my weight and height and then I sat with about 35 other people in a swelteringly hot room with all the windows shut slowly wilting. Thankfully it was only about 45 minutes that I had to wait.
Yet another nurse took me through to the consultation room and I sat there and waited some more.
Mr H. came through and asked me why I was there (!!) so I briefly told him: Lap band 10 years ago, which was then replaced some time later as it had burst, Huntingdon hospital didn't pick that up so I had had a lot of pain for months on end etc… Then I explained that in late February '16 I felt very bad pain in my port area similar to when my band broke before, which grew and grew and on 17th March I went to A&E as I thought there was something seriously wrong. They couldn't see anything, so sent me home with codeine. Then I was referred for CT scan because I was still in pain and now having to take tramadol regularly, which I had on 17th May. Apparently there was also nothing untoward in that regard either (except for my clips had come off from where I was sterilised 15 years ago arghhh!!!!)
I showed him the progressive photos of the bruise/bleed that appeared under my scar and got gradually bigger 2 weeks ago, but has since faded. I also showed him shots of the bruise by my tummy button.
Now remember today is 22nd July 2016, and the pain began suddenly exactly 5 months ago on the 22nd February. The bruising happened only 2 weeks ago.
He then felt the port a little for about 10 seconds and said I "probably" had a low grade infection, and would need antibiotics.
5 months to get antibiotics??? For God's sake!
Anyway, I said that actually I was very worried that as the pain was so sharp maybe it had flipped? and he said, "Weeeeell…. without referring you to X-ray to see the alignment bla bla…" In my mind then that's what you should flaming well do isn't it? But anyway, I then mentioned that I knew that if the band has eroded through the stomach wall it can cause a latent infection in the port site, but he was super vague and I got nothing apart from "It's a low grade infection… take antibiotics… it will come back… if its repeatedly getting infected then the system needs to be removed… more vague stuff, more vague stuff..."
No shit sherlock. Of course the damn thing needs to be removed!
The icing on the cake was when I said that if that was indeed the case, and the infection will keep coming back, then its horrible to just be constantly in pain for months on end and he said "Well there's nothing we can really do about that."
Wow. Cheers mate. All those years of training and this is all you can come up with.
So, after £7 bus fare and 3 hours of my life I'll never get back, he is writing a letter to my GP saying that I have some antibiotics immediately, and referring me to a level 3 obesity team.
Now, lets be clear, I understand that level 1 is like "If you eat less and move more you will get thin". Level 2 is a bit more advanced and gives you suggestions like "Did you know lettuce is good and donuts are bad?" and possibly someone looking down their nose at you and tutting in the hope you are shamed into losing weight. Level 3 seems to be the one where you get help after bands or bypass, or access to those treatments, but basically he is referring me to them so that if the infections keep coming back I will have it removed.
Going by previous encounters with these so called urgent referrals, I should get an appointment to see how the antibiotics are doing around the same time as I get back from my surgery in Brugge!!!!!!
Then I can just tell them to shove their crap care and pass the patient parcel game up their supposedly educated arses.
On a brighter note, I found my Hospital Card for AZ St. Jan Hospital, so that should save me some time and effort on the other side!