Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Pre Op Consultation

When I checked in to the Campanille I asked the multilingual receptionist to get me a taxi for 7pm so that I cold get to Dr De Bruyne's house for the pre op consultation. It was late, turning up eventually at 7.24, after she rang it twice, but thankfully he drove really fast and I don't think I was too late for my 7.30pm appointment.

Taxi drivers (all drivers?) in Belgium zoom around pretty madly and I kept inwardly twitching cos I thought we were going to hit something because we were on "the wrong side of the road" (I did warn you I've led a pretty insular life :-)
Dr De Brune (CDB) has kind of extension to the left of his house, bit like converted garage, only it is not. It is a big modern house, and I did notice his Lexus - and a motorbike outside.

He showed me into a waiting room, but it was empty, and I was his only patient, so I went straight through to the consulting room. He ran through what the band is and isn't, and what it does and doesn't. I definitely got the impression (it was Friday evening) that he wanted to say his piece fast and get on with his life. I could hear his children playing around in the rest of the house, he apologised and said "what can you expect with three children?" I agreed.

He didn't tell me anything I didn't know, since I'd researched the issues quite extensively, except to tell me he'd done 650 of these ops last year, 254 on foreign patients, of only whom two had to remain in hospital more than one night. Pretty good statistics, I thought. (But I should have remembered I am not a statistic, I am a human being, and it's with human beings things get screwed up, not with statistics)
I've put these pics in, so that if you are going to CDB you can visualise where you are going.
After his 10 min talk, he got me to weigh myself and asked me what the scales said. I was amused he asked, cos I could have lied :-) He was sitting at his desk and didn't know. I decided against taking off a couple of kilos for my clothes and just read out the scales to him. He then very businesslikely asked was I paying in Euros or sterling.
I'd been carrying Euros around all day, scared of getting mugged and losing them and was glad to hand them over. He did tell me which I thought was interesting that some people won't come to him (altho he is the cheapest European provider I know of) because they don't like to pay in cash (risks of carrying it, etc) He said he won't take any other payment for "administrative reasons"

Since I don't know any Belgian administrative law, he may well have a point - but payment in cash normally saves you paying tax as well. I mentioned that light-heartedly and he kind of scowled at me and repeated "administrative costs". Ooops, sorry. I can understand that cash payments make life a lot easier for paying hospital costs, etc, and it means payment upfront instead of chasing credit cards or cashing cheques. And if it means the end cost to me is less, I am happy.
He didn't charge me the 50 Euros pre op consult fee which was very good of him, and called me a taxi back to the Campanille, telling me to enjoy my "last meal" (he then laughed and said he hadn't meant to say my last meal - like a condemned prisoner type of meal) and to be in hospital at 7.15am.
Surgery would be late morning to mid afternoon (groan, I hate waiting, and since I was going home the next day really wanted an early op.) He said there was no way he could do me earlier since I'd need blood test analysis back, etc, so to be ready to wait till 2pm ish if necessary. Oh well, better to know it's a late op, than to lie there hopefully for hours thinking I'm going to be next.
Off back to Campanille . .

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