I didn’t want a CT Head Scan. I hated the thought of my brain being bombarded with x-rays. The neurologist said he’d refer me for one anyway and I could cancel it later if I still didn’t want it. Like many patients do nowadays, I went home and googled CT Head Scan. I also googled the symptoms which had brought me to the neurologist and I convinced myself I’d had a partial seizure, which the neurologist had said it might have been.
I was already worried about having too many medical x-rays in both the recent and distant past, including intensive x-ray treatment to my face for adolescent acne, a treatment no longer used because of its dangerous exposure to high levels of radiation.
So… to scan or not to scan, that was the question. My internet research confirmed that CT scans are risky procedures because of the amount of radiation used – very much more than just having one simple x-ray. A friend said that surely no doctor would refer a patient for treatment that was harmful (sorry, after my past experiences of psychiatric abuse, I lost my innocence long ago and cannot believe this). But supposing I didn’t have the scan and something seriously wrong wasn’t picked up which could have been treated? After much agonising, I decided to go ahead (pardon the pun) and have the damn scan.
Results would take two weeks, I was told. Just so patients do not bask in happy ignorance, there was a notice on the wall in the waiting area at the hospital scanning department informing us that if we do not receive our results in two weeks we must NOT assume that means everything is normal; we would then need to contact the consultant who referred us for the scan.
Two weeks later I rang the neurologist’s secretary. She told me this was much too soon as he wouldn’t have had time to receive and read the report, let alone deal with it, though she also said he had closed my case. She suggested I ring again if I hadn’t heard in another two weeks.
After four weeks of anxious waiting, I rang the secretary again. I was told he’d probably just signed it and sent it for filing. I asked if that meant my scan was normal but she couldn’t say. I asked if I should make an appointment for the neurologist to discuss it with me but she said she didn’t know as she doesn’t make the appointments. What? I said I just wanted to know how I could get my result. ‘Well, I’ll ask him to send a letter,’ she said.
Today, six weeks after my scan and still having heard nothing about the result, I went to my GP surgery. The receptionist passed me over to her supervisor who brought up my details on the computer. The scan showed ‘no significant abnormalities’, Great! But why aren’t patients given their results sooner and without having to ring around and be passed from pillar to post during the anxiety-filled waiting time?
Okay, folks, rant over.