Some of you know I have had some knee problems over the last few months very painful and on the 18th July I am going in for some surgery to hopefully correct the problem. And I have to say I despair at the general standard of knowledge about AF and anti-coagulants within the medical profession.
So last week I went in for my "pre-op" check up, yes usual height and weight and then she tries to take my blood pressure, using a machine, I explain gently that as I am in persistent AF the machine will give a false reading and suggest she uses the old fashioned sphygmomanometer (that's the correct name for that rubber cuff) and she told me "she does not know how to use one" Despair number 1 unsurprisingly the machine has no idea what pulse to use, measures me at 120/115, and she has to call a "sister" to do it manually 120/72 which I would expect
Then we talk about the drugs I am on, I tell her Rivaroxaban she has to look it up, and then says "Oh a blood thinner" No I say it's an anti-coagulant none of them thin the blood. Oh she says I will have to refer you to the anaesthesia team. I ask if it is really that rare to come across someone on a NOAC (mistake that sends her into the books to try and find out what I am talking about)
Now we get to me AF, she asks me loads of questions like "how frequent is it" Persistent I reply, "How do you feel during an episode" I am having one now how do you think I feel?. What drugs do I take to control episodes" She it literally working down a checklist and not listening to a single word I say, so frustrating....
OK finish with her, she now wants blood tests and an ECG (yes to check I know what I am saying) Blood tests fine, and then off for an ECG.
Now this hospital which shall remain nameless is a PRIVATE hospital, although I am an NHS patient, like many of you ECGs have been very common maybe 30 or more in the last few years. I promise you their ECG machine was 15 - 20 years old, the very pleasant operator apologised for the state of the machine, we chat generally about AF she is very knowledgable, and takes my ECG, not a hint of a P wave very irregular, but at the top says "Patient is in NSR" She shows it to me and say "it's wrong we both know that shall I do it again? Same result. She says she will have to manually write notes on the ECG to the surgical team to explain.
It seems to be that our biggest battle with AF is not merely the education of those of us who suffer it, but the education of the medical profession in general, their knowledge is shockingly poor, and worse, they are confident in their ignorance, and refuse to listen to other points of view.
Rant over but feel better for saying it....Grrr