Have you slipped through the cracks lately?
Perhaps payroll omitted to process your pay, you missed out on an invite, or you had to chase up an overdue appointment. Whatever the reason, it’s not a nice feeling, being forgotten, even unintentionally. For some, the consequences can be far more serious.
For me, it was somewhere in between…
Definition of to slip through the cracks:
To go unnoticed or undealt with; to be unintentionally neglected or ignored, especially in a corporate, political, or social system.
It all started last August: a routine check up with my doctor, revealing abnormal cells on my cervix. Severe dysplasia is what she called it. Not cancer, but pre-cancerous. Caused by a virus called HPV, which had progressed far enough to cause a high grade lesion. Intervention was required.
I freaked out.
My doctor reassured me we had caught the abnormality early enough to prevent cancer and that lots of women go through the same diagnosis. I was in a good position —considering — and the course of action seemed quite simple. A biopsy to confirm the finding, then — most likely — an operation to remove the cells.
My only immediate concern was for my wedding planned in October. I hoped the operation would be scheduled for after my big day. The last thing I wanted was to be prodded and poked and scooped, and god knows what else, in the lead up to our wedding.
Be careful what you wish for…
After FOUR weeks of radio silence, I called the hospital only to discover that they hadn’t even yet received the referral from my doctor. It had to be faxed to them again, and only then would I be put on the waiting list.
You could say I was a little pissed off, but nevertheless I was confident it would be the first and last hiccup. So I arranged for it to be re-sent, and this time, I made sure they received it.
However, another month later, and the hospital STILL hadn’t been in contact, so I made another call and left a not so friendly message.
Unfortunate timing, or was I falling through the cracks?
I received a return phone call THREE DAYS later. I was at work. The nurse told me that — unfortunately — I had to be referred elsewhere because their clinic was full. I remember asking at the time if it was because my situation was less serious than the other referrals, from those who had made the cut, but she told me no, and that I was just unfortunate with my timing. I had to go back to my doctor.
By this time, our wedding was upon us, and after being referred to another hospital waitlist, I was left with no choice but to walk down the aisle with no clearer idea as to how serious my diagnosis was. Our wedding day was beautiful, everything I could have hoped for, but in the back of my mind, the lesion was there waiting.
I finally received a letter from a replacement hospital late November. I had been happily living my newly married life, busy with the children, back into my routine. Part of me was happy to sweep the issue under the carpet. True, I hadn’t heard anything, but I didn’t really mind so much. I thought that there was no way they would turn me away this time, and that the appointment would come along in good time.
I was right this time, thank goodness. This time, they hadn’t forgotten me, but the letter advised that I would not be able to see anyone until January. It was back to my sweeping then…
Christmas came and went, New Year’s Eve too. I became obsessed with every twinge in my body, every ache and pain, every ailment. Some days I was convinced I was dying and that the lesion had progressed. Other days I remained positive that everything would turn out fine. My moods were up and down like a yoyo on elastic.
By the time the day of my appointment finally dawned, I was a mess. My eczema had flared up, and I was anxious as hell. And to be completely honest with you, quite rightly so. The colposcopy was yucky, and I cried pretty much the whole way through. I think mostly because it had all been built up for so long.
‘You aren’t nearly through this adventure yet.’ — J.R.R. Tolkien
Today, I sit before you post surgery. It’s been over two weeks now since my LLETZ procedure, and I’m so incredibly glad it’s over.
But — can you believe it — I’m still waiting for my results, to confirm I’m in the clear. My discharge papers said that if I did not receive a date for my two week post-op follow up appointment within one week of surgery, I was to call to chase it up.
Well… I did what I was told… five days ago now. But still nothing. I’m still waiting for my appointment. My results. I still don’t know if they got it all. I still don’t know if I’m in the clear. Its been nine months since my original diagnosis. Nine whole months of worrying.
And can you guess what I was told by the receptionist?
… that I must have fallen through the cracks…
This is not the end of the story…. I feel it’s time to make some noise.
Have you ever been accidentally forgotten or neglected or pushed aside? What have you done to make yourself heard? Or have you let it slide?
Should we leave resolution to the universe? Or should we make some noise?
What do you think?