Getting treatment during Covid-19

Awaiting health appointments during lockdown

Having chronic ill health and being under multi disciplinary teams, is very difficult during the pandemic. Everything seems to be on hold even to the point that it is difficult to get hold of secretaries and Doctors in any instance. I understand that we should avoid hospitals if possible, but surely a phone call or video call isn’t hard to do?

I had a large muscle transfer operation and flap surgery in October last year for a perineal/vaginal fistula. I still had issues with leaking from the vagina post surgery. Just before the first lockdown I saw my colorectal surgeon who said it was still early days and it will settle down.

Well here I am a year later with some awful days of pain and leakage. I rang the secretary who didn’t reply the first time or ring me back. I rang again and this time got a reply and she said my surgeon had arranged an MRI. Well it was months before I got that because of Covid, as he had to arrange again because it was going to be months more before I had it due to backlog . So it was put as urgent now and so after a year I found out that the fistula has returned ( or at a fistula was there, not sure if same one).

I was so disappointed with having gone through such a big surgery. I saw the plastic surgeon for a check up last week who was also disappointed for me, the only good being that the fistula hasn’t reached the flap and muscle transfer yet.

So my question is , if I had seen someone earlier, or if I was looked at earlier, could things have been resolved sooner? Or if I am left now for more months waiting to see the gynaecologist, will that give the fistula time to grow into the flap and make the recovery or further surgery much worse?

I know that some cancer patients and other urgent surgeries have been postponed so goodness knows how they must be feeling. I am not sure how it has come to this with Covid and just hope that things change for the better very soon. Does anyone else have a story of their delays to treatment?

Anonymous