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The nurse seemed angry that I had phoned….

My Mum (who is in hospital with cancer) told me that a new nurse had said that she wouldn’t be getting any blood transfusions. I knew her platelets were low, so I called the ward and left a voice message regarding the fact that I believed my Mum needed a transfusion. Soon after, one of the nurses who has been looking after Mum for a while phoned to say she had talked to the doctor and they were going to give Mum the transfusion the following day. I was grateful and thought everything was great. About an hour later, I got a phone call from the ‘new’ nurse. She had a confrontational tone and denied ever telling my mother that they weren’t going to transfuse. She was angry that I had left a message on the voice mail. I haven’t been in or spoken to anyone yet – not sure if I will. Maybe I’ll let it go. Most of the time the communication from the hospital has been pretty good. Although there were a couple of days that my Mum seemed to think that she had terminal cancer that was going to kill her pretty much right away. I didn’t think that was the case and I turned out to be right. I think the problem was that someone had told her about her test results (it was a biopsy result) and all she heard was the word “cancer” (or “tumour”?). And for people of her generation that was pretty much a sentence of death. I sometimes wonder if the nurses and doctors get enough training about how ordinary people think about things and the levels of worry that non-experts might have about illnesses – especially the “BIG C”

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