The majority of patients come with family members for clinic and chemotherapy appointments.
I was not someone who would try and spend too much time figuring out the patient’s family logistics and dynamics. This has changed over the past few years and I am learning that the family is one of the main reasons why patients keep fighting cancer positively.
When a patient comes to clinic alone… worth probing more about why he/she has come alone today. Could just be coincidence… but worth asking.
The first appointment in a cancer unit can be very daunting for patients having someone along is a huge emotional support. Also there is so much of information which is discussion, including breaking news about cancer, scan and biopsy results, treatment options available. It is really important to have another set of ears to take in all this. This can then be discussed at length at home with other family members or friends.
One of the saddest things is when the patient has never told the rest of the family about the cancer diagnosis or details till it is too late. Some family members get really angry with the doctors and nurses, about the lack of information given to them. The thing to remember is that the patient decides who gets told or not (as long as they have full mental capacity).
Some OPD appointments can be a battleground between family members and other times it is so comforting to watch family and friends take control and soothe the distraught patient.
Everyday is different. Learn something new. Everyday.
Thank you for making me a better person.