Visitors since 20 January 2010

Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Mystery of the Missing Palliative Care Nurse

Some time ago I had a very good friend "D" who worked for Macmillan - I liked and respected him and we got along really well. We first met when we were both volunteering for a Gay Switchboard and we became firm friends. He was a guest at Gavin and I's Civil Partnership. After my diagnosis of cancer “D” was wonderful and explained all sorts of things to me. A good friend and one I respected a lot.

Then one day I rang "D" and only got an answer-phone message - I didn't really think anything about it - he was probably out shopping or some such - but it kept happening and on "D"'s mobile and home phone all I got was voice mail - when I knocked on his door there was no reply - ever. I kept trying to contact him for some six months culminating in leaving what I now realise was a very sad and rather pathetic phone message. Still no contact.

This was all going on whilst I was undergoing chemotherapy and then in May 2009 chemotherapy finished and I was passed back to my GP for best possible palliative care. My GP put me in contact with one of the two local Macmillan palliative care nurses – of course one of these two is “D” but he did not arrive and we saw the second nurse – “G”. Gavin and I had the usual extensive chat with her. During the course of this conversation I did ask about “D” but she was very dismissive and just said that “D” felt he couldn’t see me because of our friendship – I said to “G” that I didn’t think “D” and I had a friendship as I hadn’t seen or spoken to him for some 18 months or so. Anyway shortly after this conversation “G” dropped me from her list – probably quite fairly as at that stage in May 2009 I didn’t really need Macmillan’s help.

My GP retired and another GP took over and in November 2009 – I was starting to cough a lot – the new GP thought it would be a good idea to have me in contact with the Macmillan Palliative team again. He spent a lot of time telling me about “D” not knowing that I knew him and not knowing that “D” wouldn’t speak to me and hadn’t done so for nearly two years. When I pointed this out he said words to the effect of “Nonsense I’ll speak to him” but then and later the GP told me that “D” had said to him “Richard has been told at length that I cannot deal with him as I consider him a friend”

Of course that had never ever been said to me, although I would in fact have been very understanding if this had been the case – I feel that we could have remained friends and put boundaries in place so that we never talked about cancer. But I never had the chance to say that to “D” and I feel very bitter – conversely I have also been left with only one of the Macmillan Palliative care team – what happens when she is away on holiday?

Thank you

Thank you everyone for yesterday's messages of support - They really did cheer me up a lot