This post is just venting.
I feel like the oncology “team” is disjointed. They keep reminding me of appointments that are not made and not indicated medically. My surgeon clearly told me most mets are to the lungs. He actually said, the mets go to the lungs, then to the lungs, and finally to the lungs. When I asked the oncologist why they didn’t scan the lungs, he said mets go to the liver, not the lungs. The surgeon said, gleevec should be taken lifelong. The oncologist said, for 3 years. Obviously, they don’t talk to each other. My oncologist said the next supply of Gleevec would be 90 days. The pharmacist filled for 30 days.
The pharmacists in my health plan are charged with ensurin proper labs are done, by protocol. I know that. No one told me when to obtain my blood tests. The first time, when I went to refill, the pharmacist refused because the test was not current. I got the test and it was approved.
I asked for the fills to be sent to the clinic where I work. The refills took several days to arrive there. Not a problem, and i did not miss doses because I planned ahead. However, I did have to contact the pharmacy multiple times.
This time, with the labor day weekend, I meant to get the blood test before the weekend. But was so tired after work, I forgot. So I got the test after the weekend. Due to the short turn around time, I had it filled at the oncology clinic, a 45 min drive from my office, where there would have been no drive.
I asked the pharmacist how to time it so I could get the blood test at the right time. he said one day ahead. I don’t want to miss doses – one day is not soon enough to get it to my office – but I replied it has taken longer already. And that is without weekend or holiday. I said, I didn’t think that was enough time – plus there can be weekend or holiday how about 10 days. He said no, he would refuse it. It had to be the day before. Why? Because that’s how he does it. I told him, I am a doctor, you can use medical terminology with me, but I think there is no medical reason the test can’t be done a week ahead. This is not chemotherapy, I’ve been stable on the Gleevec, the medication is taken chronically and changes are not dramatic – otherwise testing would be needed more frequently than just once monthly. He then referred to me as “DOCTOR” – rude, abrupt, dismissing, sarcastic. When do YOU want it, DOCTOR? I say, how about 5 days ahead. That way I don’t have to drive an hour an a half round trip, and take afternoon off from clinic. I’m sorry you had to do that DOCTOR. Then he asked, would you like a 90 day supply DOCTOR? I said yes, that would make it go better. (So if 90 days is OK, why isn’t 10 days or 7 days ahead for the blood test OK? But I didn’t ask). He slammed the pill bottle into a bag, pushed it at me, and walked away without another word.
Cancer patients deserve respect, compassion, clear directions, and the confidence that their medications will be managed in a straightforward way. All patients deserve that. None deserve rude staff with poor bedside manner and a chip on their shoulder.
If I treated patients that bad, which I would never do, I would be written up.
OK, venting done. It’s just one day in for this cancer patient. I’ll get over it.