Fran Drury, a patient of Norris Cotton Cancer and participant in the Creative Arts Program's writing class, shared this story with Marv Klassen-Landis, our Creative Writer in Residence. It's a great as we celebrate hope during Cancer Survivors Week.
In 2013 I went to a Dr in California as I had once again thought I had a bronchial infection, pneumonia (which I had been treated for several times in the last 6 months or who knows what. The Dr I had randomly picked from the phone book basically saved my life. His name, let's call him Mr Great Doc.
It was June 22th, 2013 when I had my first appointment with Mr. Great Doc. I went to him with my trust in him as a professional, as I am one too. I cared for six patients in home settings for many years. Sixteen to be exact. Before that after graduating from college in VT, I had been a professional Cosmotologist. I moved to California to be with my boyfriend of 6 years. I worked for NASA/JPL in Pasadena as a New Hire Coordinator and promoted to Instrument Services/inventory Control. I wanted to be with technicians, Drs, and all those Space Guys and learn lots. I was sent to school, did learn lots and with all professionals.
When My Great Doc saw me I had trouble breathing, on antibiotics from another Dr and unable to eat. He took my temperature. It was 101. He said he would prescribe different antibiotics for me, and I needed to rest. I said to him "STOP RIGHT THERE". I want to know what is wrong with me? I want to see a Pulmonologist. He said okay.
I was given an appointment by a referred Dr. I went to see him, extras were taken stat, read, and the Pulmonologist came into the room where I was waiting for him to return with diagnosis/results of the X-rays of my lungs. He came and said to me you have cancer, and left the room, no nurse came in. I got dressed and still crying with no consignment whatsoever. I went back to My Great Doc, same day in tears. He had empathy, sympathy, and understanding.
I was sent for MRI, Pet-Scan, Blood Tests, and all the other tests needed when one knows they have cancer.
Mr. Great Doc notified my insurance company and did fantastic follow-up with me. As far as all the other Drs went they were not what I called professional whatsoever. I had to do my own follow-up, take whatever paperwork Oil got to my next visit. My older sister came to California to be with me. The very next week she came, saw how I was being treated, and said I am taking you back to Vermont. I will not let people treat you like this.
My sister went with me to get an EKG. I asked for the paperwork as I needed it for my insertion of my Port for receiving Chemo. The office was rude to us, refused to give us the paperwork and again I left an office with tears. Two days later I went in to have my Port Insertion. My sister by my side. I had been put into pre-operation room. With all except the copy of EKG I was ready for Dr. He asked me where my EGG was, and we both told him still across the street where I had it taken, and they refused to give it to me. Dr sent someone across the street to get it. I got the procedure, but not in a three hour time frame like they had said. It took me almost 6 hours. They had told me I only had 8 months to live. I had gotten all copies from my Primary Dr, and he saw I got All info needed. Had the main Oncology Dept send it to NCCC.
This whole situation had upset my sister. When we got back to my place she called DHMC, spoke to Drs, got me a Primary Dr., and I got new Medical Insurance, a place to live, and set up my first Chemo appointment with Norris Cotton Cancer Center.
In two weeks I had given everything away, sold or shipped what I thought I may use. Knowing VT was cold, kept my warm things. One of my friends from Arizona flew back with me as I couldn't get on a flight with my sister. We arrived 1 hour apart. I left from CA, and she from AZ. My first appointment was on October 1st for seeing Dr in Lebanon. I arrived to find out no paperwork had been sent from California Oncology Dept. Of course I/we were upset. There was a fantastic receptionist in the Cancer Center. I had all the copies which were needed, but didn't trust anyone at that point. With what I had been through, out west rightly so.
I gave my paperwork to a lady, she assured me of its safety, so she could made a CD and print all info for me.
She did, and they made me an appointment to see the most fantastic Dr ever. NCCC has gone above and beyond their duty to make appointments, call regarding appointments, make me enjoy my visits. They make sure any family member is comfortable with my visits as well.
All Depts of DHMC and NCCC are to be commended, for there nursing, Drs, cafeterias, their staff in all aspects.
On May 21st, to thank them for all they had done for me, myself and a roommate I had met while in for a 5-day Chemo Treatment and gave them a luncheon. I know they enjoyed it because they gave me a little furry stuffed mouse. They won homemade prizes as well. There is a story about the mouse.
The moral of this story is: When you think you can't bear anymore talk to someone at DHMC or NCCC, trust me you will meet the most wonderful staff in every Dept, starting with the receptionists at the front desks. Their smiles speak in every language.
For a closure point. I must add as of May 1st, 2014 I AM CANCER FREE. Still having maintenance treatments, getting hugs by Drs, nurses, other people like a harpist, journalist, blood work dept, and even other cancer patients that I have asked to sponsor.
I wish you all great traveling to your next Dr visit. Tell them I sent you.
Later, Fran Drury
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