Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Life on the List for Lyall, Part II


Lyall is not eating or drinking very much. My husband expresses concerns about his father, who is also a type II diabetic, being dehydrated and the doctor agrees to admit him to the hospital over the weekend for a few hours of hydration. My husband and his mother Sandra take Lyall to the hospital on Saturday. The ER doctor asks Lyall a few questions about whether or not he is drinking water and urinating to which Lyall replies “yes”. The doctor then asks “Do you really need to be here?” My husband’s response is that his father’s doctor has told them to come and that they would like to speak with him directly. The ER doctor informs them that the doctor is in surgery. My husband tells him that they are willing to wait. Once he is finished surgery the doctor comes down to admitting and after examining Lyall admits him to the hospital for a few hours of hydration. He is then kept overnight. One night becomes two days, then five days, then…

Lyall’s life remains on the waiting list to see an Oncologist. 

Meanwhile my husband and I look into options for getting an appointment with an Oncologist. To the best of our knowledge there are no Oncologists practicing outside of the government health care system in Canada and therefore the only option for a patient is to wait on a list or leave the country. My husband and I have left Canada for medical treatment in the past and hold this option as a beacon of hope. We contact an out-of-country clinic specializing in the treatment of esophageal cancer and find out that a pre-appointment record review must be completed before scheduling an appointment. While organizing Lyall’s test results we discover an upper gastrointestinal series (barium swallow) performed five months earlier in May 2009. We forward the medical records. Two days later we receive an email from the clinic with the following message:

“A specialist in the Department of Oncology, who reviewed your medical summary, made the following comments: “Based upon the medical summary you submitted, the specialist would encourage you to continue to receive care with your local physicians because **** Clinic does not have anything significant to add to your current treatment plan.”   

The written words stab our eyes and their meaning momentarily takes our breath away. It is too late.

We contact another out-of-country medical centre with an international reputation for the treatment of esophageal cancer. They tell us that Lyall must be discharged from the hospital before they will review his records.

All any of us can do now is wait.

Life on the List for Lyall, Part III

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