Saturday, November 27, 2010

Making progress

The good news is that we have made some progress albeit not quite as quickly as we would have liked. Two more cycles (four sessions) to go !


This makes December a busy month. In addition to the bi-weekly chemotherapy (if there are no delays due to neutrophil counts) Prof Wong has scheduled a CT Scan, blood tests and a test for levels of Vitamin D3. The latter is a new one to us and I am curious to know why the interest in Vitamin D3.


When I first mentioned D3 in May/June he was ambivalent about Vitamin D3 supplementation, so we'll see what he has to say about it when the test results come out.


About a month ago, Lin had headaches and was feeling rather nauseous. But we were prepared for this and had the panadol and anti-nausea pills at the ready. But it had not entered our heads that we should have gone to the Cancer Center to have the side effect checked out!


Prof Wong asked if we had come into the hospital and we told him it hadn't occurred to us that it was necessary!


It wasn't as if Lin was feeling dreadful or running a fever - and it seemed like pretty small stuff to bother the hospital about. But now we know - if it ever happens again we will be there.


My guess is that the study of cancer is very much a work in progress and the doctors want to see all the manifestations of side effects in various individuals since no one case is quite the same.


On a related topic, we are still working with BUPA Hong Kong on Lin's health insurance claims; this is taking time because we are dealing with a bureaucracy. 


Admittedly, we had been late with some of the early claims. They have a 90 day window in which claims must be filed and that window evaporates faster than alcohol in the presence of an alcoholic.


The days fast-forward when transplanting ourselves to another country and getting to terms with treatment and all things new in one's life because of the requirements of the illness. Emotionally too it is a fraught time and the last thing on one's mind is sitting down to interpret the arcane demands of the claim forms; and applying oneself to collecting, sorting and collating paperwork and filling in forms.


The last six weeks or so, we have been back and forth trying to sort out what they REALLY need because certified copies will not do (in case we are also making a claim against another insurer). 


Also they want a diagnosis from the Prof which includes details of the treatment; this will also have to substantiate anything else the Prof has had checked out - for example an, investigation of Lin's heart (a detail that first appeared in the pre-surgery report in Hong Kong and then in the report of his CT scan, done here a few months ago).


Dealing with a monolithic organisation is not easy at the best of times and it does not help to have the South China Sea in the way. 


I don't blame the clerk ticking the forms because he or she is going by the book. But at some point his supervisors will need to read all the material and information we sent - copies of the Prof's CV, etc - since they would not know him from Adam.


Also we have to explain Medisave, a component in one's Central Provident Fund which can be used towards approved medical expenses. Otherwise they will invariably interpret it as a contribution from another medical policy!


Sometimes I just wish insurance companies were as genial and prompt in handling claims as they are in selling a policy or receiving renewal payments!


But life could be worse.

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