Monday, 13 April 2020

Corona Confusion

Long-time no blog. Despite being in lockdown for three weeks I still don’t seem to have time for my writing. The demands of home schooling the kids whilst both my wife and I work from home has eaten away some of the time gains from losing the commute and pausing the usual treadmill of domestic activities. I’ll write a proper update on my goals later this week, this post is about how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected my CKD treatment. 

To date, thankfully, it’s been a case of potential rather than actual disruption, but I am a little nervous. I managed to get a repeat on my prescription for another two months, despite the review date passing in January, so I’m good there. However, there is some confusion around the renal clinic appointment I’m due in early May, and a little uncertainty over the pre-clinic tests.

After my last appointment, the nephrologist suggested I might like to join a video clinic trial. My CKD is on a managed decline, and staying free of serious illness, I might have five or six years before I need transplant of dialysis. Of course, there’s a very big IF in that scenario, especially now we’ve got a dangerous pandemic raging across the globe. So, the new strategy was to alternate video clinic appointments with out-patient appointments at the hospital, and if there were any hits to the function I’d be back on more frequent in-patient clinics. 

This sounded good, I could simply pop into one of the privacy booths at work and do the consultation on a tablet, rather than taking time off work or going into the office late and fighting for a desk.

A few months back the instructions for joining the video clinic arrived and we were all set. Then when everything kicked off I wondered if it might be cancelled, till a couple of weeks ago I got a letter saying it was still going ahead. Good news. But, (why does there always have to be a But?) the letter stated that I was going to receive a telephone consultation instead of the planned in-patient appointment at the hospital. This has obviously made me a little nervous as there never was a planned in-patient appointment, as the letter suggested I emailed the appointments people about a week ago to find out if it was the video clinic is going ahead as planned, or is it that appointment that has been switched to a telephone call. I haven’t yet received a response.

On the tests front things are also switched up, although this could be to my advantage. My GP surgery used to do blood tests on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, the samples being sent off to the hospital lab before lunch. As I usually work from home on Wednesday’s those slots were typically no good for me. So, a week or so before my appointment I’d drive to the hospital after the school run and wait for a drop in blood and urine test. Now I’m home permanently I thought I’d book a blood test at the surgery instead; only to find it is no longer booking appointments for anything. Instead I spoke to one of the GP’s last week and she told me I should ring up first thing on the day I want it and they’ll give me a slot. As there’s no longer any appointments tests are being done every morning, the only challenge is getting a place in the queue early enough to get it done before the samples have to be despatched to the lab. To hedge matters I’ll start trying for an appointment about a week earlier than normal, giving me a few shots at getting it done before I have to fall back on a hospital drop-in.

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