Tuesday, 22 March 2016


My face. Teetering.
We have the go-ahead. My daughter will have an operation to remove her spinal metal work. 

It’s more than three months since her op was cancelled with just three days notice. It’s more than 10 weeks since she had a scan which would prove whether she definitely needed the procedure or not - but which no-one would tell us the outcome of. It’s been long enough for my girl to rack up astronomical repeat numbers for the question: “Will I have the operation?” It’s way past breaking point for me, after scores of phone calls trying to get someone, anyone, at the hospital to tell me what was happening.

At first I waited politely. Then I started phoning. Again and again. Again and again I was promised someone would phone me back. Again and again they didn’t. When the consultant’s secretary and I were frankly getting sick of the sound of eachother’s voices, I contacted PALS (the Patient Advice and Liaison Service) to ask them to get answers on my behalf. Again and again the answers didn’t come. I pestered. I really pestered.

Do you know what finally worked? There was a moment, when I was leaving yet another message on another answering machine, where I was recounting the sequence of events yet again, when I got to my teeter point. (Not the moment when I go all wobbly after to much wine, that’s different). No, this particular teeter point is when I’m having a difficult conversation (in this case to a machine, but hey, it was still intense), and when I feel myself getting a bit emotional. What I normally do is take a deep breath, make a decision to rein in the inner tumult and pull myself together. But not this time. This time, a little voice in my head whispered: “Fuck it. Let it go.” You know, like some sort of X-rated version of Frozen.

So that’s what I did. I didn’t stop my voice from breaking. I didn’t stop the tears from coming. I didn’t stop the anger from rising. I pleaded, I cried and I seethed, and it worked. A day later I got my answer.

It will be May, or early June. My girl is having a pre-op appointment this Thursday, which I snapped up before even hearing the time and working out the logistics of sibling school runs and early morning traffic and other extraneous bollocks. Nope, I was taking up the first appointment they offered, because that would mean she’d be ready to roll when a date comes up. 

We have the go-ahead. Finally. We don't have an actual date, but we have a ballpark and the ball is in it.

Oh, and I have something else. It's a recommendation to any parent lost in the labyrinth of NHS admin: Whatever you do, check, double check, triple check, pester, pester some more, pester again, keep on pestering, and sometimes, just sometimes, when you’re teetering, don’t step back from the edge - jump right off.

Song is Let It Go. No, not *that* one.

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