22 March - A most unsatisfactory appointment

Today was to be the day of our long-awaited appointment to see the oncologist, find out more about my MRI scan result and the plan for ongoing treatment, and to ask whether I can apply for reinstatement of my driving licence.

The weather was atrocious. Fine snow and a gusty wind made the roads and pavements treacherous. The Cockermouth to Carlisle road  was closed along almost its entire length. The news said it was because of drifting snow but our hospital transport driver had heard that there had been a fatal accident. We had to make a 20 mile detour via Maryport to get to the hospital at Carlisle. Despite this, we were in time for my appointment.

The oncologist, Dr K, did not appear to be around and eventually we were called in to see another doctor - the one I had spoken to on the phone a month previously after we had pressed for this appointment. He knew what we wanted to talk about from our phone conversation but was unable to tell us anything new. He would not elaborate on his description of my MRI scan result as "satisfactory." Nor could he tell us anything about my eligibility to apply for my driving licence, or about my ongoing treatment. For that, we would have to see Dr K, whom we had expected to see today, but who was apparently in India on holiday.

To say we were disappointed was an understatement. We were also quite annoyed as well. We had been out on an 80-mile round trip on snow-covered roads, risking life and limb, wasting not only our time but that of a hospital transport volunteer driver, to learn absolutely nothing. Why had they not just phoned, cancelled the appointment and given us a new one for after our oncologist's return from holiday? We would have been annoyed and disappointed about that but the end result would have been the same and at least we would not have had a wasted journey.