Even booking chemo is bumpy

Remember how last time my chemo schedule got fucked up and I was on a waiting list? A waiting list. For chemo. Which just seems wrong. Isn’t it one of those obligatory, time-sensitive things? As opposed to a voluntary, I think I’ll put myself on the waiting list for that fun activity, thing?

So here’s what happened this time. Last week when I got called to confirm my CT scan for Feb 6, I asked if my chemo was booked. 

“No,” the nurse said, it was neither booked, nor ordered. My appointment with the oncologist had been a week earlier. I’d done blood. The white cells were normal. I was good to go. Nowhere – it seems.

I sent an e-mail to Dr. J and left a message on the hematology nursing line to ask what was up. I was told everything would be sorted and I should call back Tuesday morning to confirm the 30th and 31st.

Tuesday I had a therapy appointment up at Sunnybrook so I arrived early to check my schedule in person. I asked the receptionist if my chemo was booked.

“Oh.” She printed out my appointment sheet and looked it over. “You have chemo today. In 15 minutes.”

What the fucking fuck? That was my inside voice screaming. “I was supposed to be scheduled for the 30th and 31st.”

“Well you don’t always get the day you ask for.”

“Yes, but if you don’t tell someone they have chemo, they are unlikely to show up.  No one called me. I’m here alone, I have no food, no childcare arrangements. I haven’t taken my drugs. And I have a therapy appointment in 10 minutes.”

“Do you think you can arrange to do it today?” I grabbed my phone to start texting, because texting seemed the way to begin looking for the answer to that question. Maybe I could just tweet my frustration.

The receptionist kept dialing the phone trying to get hold of chemo booking people until another woman told her they weren’t open for 10 minutes.

She finally suggested I go back to the main desk, sign in as though I were getting chemo, then head over to the chemo department myself to try to resolve the scheduling mishap.

Lucky for me the manager was walking by the chemo desk while I was gently complaining that I had received no call about my scheduled treatment. After a few minutes of staring at the computer screen and moving the cursor around, a chemo appointment was found for me on the 30th and 31st. Magic, no?

I arrived 15 minutes late for therapy, then wasted the next 15 minutes bitching about how fucked up the system was. On top of having cancer, and going through the fear, the fatigue, the tests, the treatment, did I really have to manage my own scheduling?

I received three phone calls that afternoon to confirm my chemo for the 30th and 31st. The last one was a message asking me to please call back and let them know I was coming. Seriously? I called of course.


God, Aviva, that sucks. I mean, the whole thing sucks, right? But you're really getting the extra-shitty-triple-suck cancer experience.


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