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Major surgery. Christmas Eve. Ono found out tonight at 6 pm. Not sure what to think, help?

(80 Posts)
DoItTooJulia Fri 12-Dec-14 19:38:08

Never started an AIBU thread, and haven't name changed. And I'm not feeling brave, but here goes.

My mum, who lives with us, has had a really crappy year. For one reason or another, it's taken 9 months to diagnose her thyroid cancer. There have been mistakes made by the hospital and various consutants teams. I do not want to drip feed, but to sit and type them all would take up paragraphs. My mum has discussed these mistakes and issues at length with the hospital and they acknowledge that there have been issues. We haven't complained formally (we are NOT NHS bashers) but have grounds to.

My mum has been watching for the post for the letter from the consultants that was a dictated copy of the notes from her most recent appointment. The appointment was three weeks ago and were told the letter would be out straight away. She was also told that she could expect and appointment for a mini operation to check her airways, a genetic test and then after those a procedure to crack the breast bone and conduct, with another surgeon a thyroidectomy and removal of all cancerous nodes, the thymus and anything else suspect looking in 6-8 weeks. The letter hasn't arrived.

Tonight at 6 pm the consultants secretary rang her to tell her that the major surgery is due to take place on Christmas Eve!

No mention of the other stuff, the smaller procedure, the results from the bloods that they took, nothing. When my mum said she needed to think about it the secretary got quite shirty with her.

What do you think? The context here is that the mistakes have been unaccounted for delays. A 12 week delay here, a 6 week delay there by the hospital and more. If there had been no mistakes, this surgery would have been scheduled 6 months ago. It's a slow growing cancer (thank god).

Are we being churlish to need time to think about it? Would you want that on Christmas eve. She's worried about skeleton staff, the impact on her dgc who she lives with, she's waited for 9 months for this is it foolish to delay it just because it may 'ruin' christmas?

I could type so much more, but I would love to hear what you think and will try to answer questions because there is so much I haven't said.

CheeseBuster Fri 12-Dec-14 19:45:10

I think if she needs the surgery she should take it.

Andrewofgg Fri 12-Dec-14 19:47:07

Do it, do it, do it. Please. Slow growing it may be but it is growing. Sod Christmas. Do it. And this comes from a survivor of cancer. flowers to you both.

WipsGlitter Fri 12-Dec-14 19:48:03

It's not ideal but I would go for it. She'll probably be in hdu afterwards anyway so a higher level of staffing.

AmserGwin Fri 12-Dec-14 19:48:09

She should go

Rowgtfc72 Fri 12-Dec-14 19:48:13

Fil had quadruple bypass surgery Christmas eve last year. We visited boxing day with a few presents and just did Christmas when he felt up to it.

kittycatz Fri 12-Dec-14 19:48:51

Take it - if she doesn't, who knows how long she might have to wait for a repeat appointment.

wfrances Fri 12-Dec-14 19:51:18

whens the next available date ?

ive been waiting since april for a procedure and have just been offered an appointment 22nd december - i turned it down ,next date 1st week of jan so only 2 weeks more to wait-

DoItTooJulia Fri 12-Dec-14 19:53:08

Thanks everyone.

Pretty much what we expected. (DMs a lurker, but is sat next to me as I read/type).

Next available could be as late as March.

sad thanks for the gentle replies!

wfrances Fri 12-Dec-14 19:53:54

forgot to add
ive been in hospital over christmas and i didnt notice any less staff or worse care.

DoItTooJulia Fri 12-Dec-14 19:54:48

Oh and the sad face makes it look like I'm being sarcastic. I'm not I'm sad and great ful. IYSWIM?

BumWad Fri 12-Dec-14 19:56:55

I would ask her to go for it and not delay. Don't worry about staffing, she will be cared for regardless of when the operation will be

dadtobe19 Fri 12-Dec-14 19:58:16

Definitely take it!

Surreyblah Fri 12-Dec-14 20:00:18

I would be worried about staff cover over Christmas, post surgery. Eg evidence of many more problems/deaths at weekends after Friday surgery. And why if it is cancer surgery - with diagnosis late due to their mistakes - would she be kept waiting until March if she doesn't want Christmas eve?

And given the mistakes they have made already they should be answering all her questions and having all the results and things ready, if they get arsey involve PALs.

Notmeagain1 Fri 12-Dec-14 20:01:10

Do it. Dont wait any longer where cancer is concerned. Postpone Christmas until moms home and feeling up to it. Lots of people do this for the. Same reason.

How old are your dc's and would they notice if Christmas was pushed back a few days or up a few days? You can make this work.

Good luck with your surgery mom!

mumonashoestring Fri 12-Dec-14 20:03:42

Take it, make sure she keeps that scheduled slot, but at the same time contact the Patient Advice Liaison service for your hospital/Trust, or Macmillan, and ask for some advice on whether there's likely to be any more little surprises from your rather disorganised specialist's team or if there is any preliminary testing that MUST be carried out before her surgery. It would be awful if she got there, all prepped, and only then found out that the surgery couldn't go ahead because someone somewhere had messed up and missed a step out of the process.

Girlwhowearsglasses Fri 12-Dec-14 20:03:50

But You aren't an NHS basher to complain!

Aside from the main issue any delays and such are not on, and if you love and are thankful every day for their existence it's just as important to want them to know and deal with any mistakes..

I do think that a mistake is only. Loved if someone flags it, and also that any institution makes them - it's how the deal with them that is more important
Best wishes to your DM in her treatment

SocialMediaAddict Fri 12-Dec-14 20:10:17

I'd check the staffing levels over Christmas.

Girlwhowearsglasses Fri 12-Dec-14 20:10:18

Not only Loved! 'Only noticed' !

TrousersSchmowsers Fri 12-Dec-14 20:19:18

A relative of mine had major surgery one 23rd December and it actually worked quite well, as lots of people had time off to visit and there were lots of distractions to make time pass while recovering - random telly, decorations, nice food, pressies etc. Hope all goes smoothly.

Cornettoninja Fri 12-Dec-14 20:20:22

First off - complaining isn't a vengeful thing, it is a way to highlight what isn't working and what needs to change. Often staff know what the problems are but are dismissed by the management. It needs a patient to formalise it to get anything done. Please do it. There'll be no comeback (if anything people who submit a complaint will be paid more attention to), you're not going to get anyone in to trouble who shouldn't be scrutinised - if the system they're obliged to work in is failing then that'll be what is focused on.

Secondly I would take the slot. Operating on Xmas eve suggests to me that there are some substantial waiting lists even without taking into consideration the background. You may have been waiting longer than others but things change quick and people will keep getting pushed ahead.

Ring and ask to talk with one of the specialist nurses or consultant. Gp is definitely an option to advocate for you if you're struggling to get hold of someone, but don't give up that slot just yet.

Has there been a pre-surgery assessment appointment? If not that's another excellent time to lose your queries and concerns.

Of course if you go to pals at this point they will more than likely help you chase all of this up as part of resolving your complaint. It's what I'd do to be honest.

Shitty time of year, but it's just not the priority unfortunately. Set a day to have Christmas II and record the queens speech for authenticity! flowers

TrousersSchmowsers Fri 12-Dec-14 20:27:01

Also found that the hospital was well-staffed, but much quieter, probably since few routine/outpatient appointments were running. Staff that were there were in good spirits as not quite so rushed off their feet, full of festive cheer and hopefully looking forward to double time bank holiday pay!

DoItTooJulia Fri 12-Dec-14 20:42:20

Oh dear. We hear you.

We just don't want to! Re complaining seeming vengeful, I think this is how we feel, despite being treated shoddily. It's with a heavy heart that we say that. But I think we are going to involve PALS.

DM asked the secretary for time to think. She has until Monday afternoon as it stands tonight. Mum is going to phone the clinical nurse specialist on Monday morning to discuss it.

One of our issues is that mum has a hoarse voice (a symptom of the cancer) and isn't great on the phone because of this and The other is that I work 4 days a week and she has my youngest dc for me and does the school runs on those days. I.e. She works and hasn't a huge amount of time to make phone calls ( well not a job where she can go to a quiet place for 10 mins to make a personal phone call). I have also had loads of time off to go to appointments and support my mum, so struggling for time off, if that's relevent?

She is still very much undecided. Appreciating all the replies.

windchime Fri 12-Dec-14 21:01:47

The nursing staff levels will be the same as always. It is just the senior doctors and consultants who will be at home with the turkey and a pager. In fact, she will get more attention because the wards are not full of the faux 'abdo pain' patients at Christmas. Funnily enough, they find something more interesting to do at this time of year.....fconfused

Mrsmorton Fri 12-Dec-14 21:07:14

Do it. Xmas eve is a normal working day in the NHS and the delay to her is huge.
My mum always used to work Xmas day as a nurse and it was never a thing, just another day at work. flowers

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