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Results and Report Cards

October 22, 2014

Someone I know in India had a surgical procedure done around the same time I did and got the histopathology results back within a week. Here I am, in “developed” Canada with no results back about the extent and spread of my cancer 4 weeks after surgery. They said it would take 2 weeks. I am getting just a leeettle tired of calling my surgeon’s office to ask if the results are in, only to be told they are not and that they will get back to me once they look into it and “if they are free”. “If they are free” – how overworked and understaffed are these places?

Canada Healthcare Downside_Joke JokeI also got a call about my new endocrinologist. New, yes because I decided to switch to the one my surgeon offered me. (The fact that my old one had smiled while telling me I had cancer didn’t particularly bring out feelings of loyalty). I now have an appointment in December. They want me to wait 2 months from now to see if my TSH levels are normal. Maybe I should call them and say that I feel very “not normal” these days and we might want to look into this sooner. Administrative assistants appear to have a lot of power and seem to be deciding when I get to see these doctors. Maybe I should resort to some good old-fashioned bribery and show up with some chocolates and a $20 bill. Alas, I have no ‘wasta’ in Canada.

I’m going to go call the surgeon’s office again. Those results must be somewhere. But in the meantime, since I am anxiously anticipating reports, I decided to issue some report cards myself.

Note: As with most grading, these report cards are highly subjective and should be considered as only one person’s opinion of their experiences. These reports also compare capabilities of people that aren’t necessarily comparable.


Endocrinologist Who Informed Me of Cancer Diagnosis

Ability to convey relevant information to patient B Sometimes forgets to mention information that the patient may want to know
Bedside Manner F Must work on timing and facial expressions. Constantly downplays thyroid cancer
Administrative Efficiency and Courtesy D The office staff messed up my appointments several times and forgot to put a referral through
Patient Access to Results B- The office couldn’t find the results for a while and the doctor assumed someone else in the office had already informed me of my diagnosis
Other: Office Aesthetics A+ The office has been professionally done up down to the detailing on the chairs. An architect may even have been involved.


Radiologist Who Performed Fine Needle Aspiration/ Biopsy

Ability to convey relevant information to patient A+ Explained the whole process succinctly and as a bonus, succeeded in calming me down
Bedside Manner A+ Created relaxing environment, funny until it wasn’t appropriate to be
Administrative Efficiency and Courtesy N/A
Patient Access to Results A Fast-tracked results when he suspected malignancy and knew I was leaving the country
Other: Biopsy Sampling Skills A+ Took one expertly sucked up sample which was enough for a conclusive diagnosis


Surgeon Who Performed Thyroidectomy

Ability to convey relevant information to patient A- Occasionally needs to be reminded to translate the jargon
Bedside Manner A Friendly, respectful
Administrative Efficiency and Courtesy C The office staff seems overworked and cannot find out what is happening to my results. Often get voice mail
Patient Access to Results D- Read above
Other: Surgical Skills and Scar Aesthetics A+ The scar is a beauty. Parathyroid glands and vocal chords intact