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NEWS - ROSS-ON-WYE
News - The weekly News Magazine for
No. 124 - 6th December 2006
Lights of Ross-on-Wye 2006 - Business of the week]
[Quote Me Happy . . . you're 'aving a laugh!] [Switched
on at The Gresleys - Upton Bishop Christmas Fayre]
[Morgans at the Royal - Garden Store Band - Quakers Helping the Homeless
- Christmas Menus]
[Rocking at the Barrel - LOF Coffee - Letters - Cans - Botanical Art
- For Sale - Rugby - Weather]
[Wyenot TV] [What's
to Z Site Map] [Property]
me happy' . . . you must be 'aving a laugh!
is a bit of a long story so I have used the whole of page
two of this week's news to cover it. It needs to be in two
parts because without full knowledge of the nature of the
problem, the 'quote me happy' part will not make sense but
if you ever feel the need to insure something or somebody,
it is a story well worth bearing in mind.
me happy part one:
My son, Matt has Hodgkin's Lymphoma which is a cancer of
the lymph system. He had been feeling ill for nine months
prior to the true nature of his illness being diagnosed.
In fact it was misdiagnosed by a doctor in Ross, whom I
shall not name at present because I intend to take the matter
further, if and when Matt's illness goes into remission
and most definitely if it does not.
. . .
at the Prince of Wales in October. Ref: DSC_7415
October 2005 Matt went to the doctor complaining of pains
and was told that he had 'an infection'. He was given antibiotics.
Whilst on the antibiotics he stopped drinking alcohol (not
that he drank much anyway) and the pain went away. A few
weeks later it came back. He returned to the doctor and
was given more antibiotics. He stopped drinking any alcohol
and the pain went away again. I think you can probably see
the picture here. This went on for months and months, just
like one of those jokes beginning, 'a man went to the doctor
. . . or a little old lady got on a train . . .'
after drinking alcohol is a symptom of cancer in the lymph
system, although we only know that now with hindsight. The
antibiotics themselves made Matt very sick. He spent months
of nights talking to God on the porcelain telephone and
getting hardly any sleep. When he was in bed, his sheets
became wringing wet every night due to heavy sweating; something
that we now also know is a symptom of lymph cancer. I used
to see him at work when I went shopping in Morrisons and
his long hair would be soaking wet whilst he just seemed
to plod around slowly, looking tired. I used to nag him
jokingly as parents do, 'You don't know the meaning of the
June, after months of being treated for an 'infection' ,
the doctor finally began to realize that the problem was
possibly more than an infection and an appointment with
a consultant was arranged, though this was just as a 'precaution'
and he was still treated the same way, with antibiotics.
(Even I know that one should not be given antibiotics for
this length of time.) At the appointment with the consultant,
Matt mentioned a lump which had appeared in his neck and
the consultant just laughed, taking no interest in this
whatsoever. We were not given any immediate information
following this appointment other that they had arranged
for Matt to see the General Medicine department at Hereford
Hospital for a scan on 5th September. This appointment was
three months away at the time, so we assumed there was nothing
was ticking by and by the end of June Matt was beginning
to feel really rough so he decided to take a break from
his work as he was having trouble with the physical aspects
of working in the supermarket and needed to take a holiday.
He booked a trip to Amsterdam and after badgering the hospital,
the appointment was brought forward for this reason. Not
through any urgency on the part of the hospital.
either the 3rd or 4th July (this time is important), we
cannot remember exactly which but it was definitely one
of those two days. Matt was summoned to the doctor's surgery
in Ross and I went with him because he was worried due to
the urgent nature of the phone call he received. We both
knew as soon as we saw the doctor's face that something
was wrong and when we sat down, we were told that what Matt
had was possibly a 'lymphoma' - cancer of the lymph system.
hospital appointment was made for Matt two days later and
he was given a scan. We were shoved to the front of the
queue of people waiting and we were given an immediate result
from this test. It showed that Matt not only did have a
lymphoma but that it had formed secondaries. The cancer
had spread from his stomach and was now in his chest and
his neck. Without even going home to get prepared, Matt
had the first of two operations that day. By now we were
in the very capable hands of a Doctor Ransford, who knew
what he was talking about and what he was doing. The first
operation was on Matt's neck, to remove tissue for biopsy
but unfortunately this was unsuccessful as the tissue removed
was already dead so the following week he had to undergo
a further, very painful operation on his stomach. This was
successful and the exact type of cancer could be determined
as a result. This was important as it was to determine the
type of treatment necessary.
25th July, we were told that Matt had Hodgkin's lymphoma.
On 27th July a chemotherapy programme was discussed. Matt
had bone marrow samples taken on 3rd August and his course
of chemotherapy began on 9th August.
. . .
place in Cheltenham where Matt and I sit and talk about life whilst
waiting for his chemo phone call. Ref: PB280017.
me happy part two:
In May 2006, Matt, an ordinary person with no known serious
illness and whose only visits to the doctor were for something
which had been diagnosed as a minor infection needed some
money to learn how to drive and buy a computer so he went
to the bank for a loan of £5,000. At the time his
illness could have been a plain stomach ache, an ear ache
or a tooth ache - anything. Certainly it was nothing one
would seriously worry about or think of as being possibly
life threatening. It was just one of life's irritations
as is catching the flu or a cold - that's all.
problem,' said the bank. And you'll be needing a loan protector
insurance from CGU Insurance plc trading as Norwich Union
to go with that, they persuaded him. It's only eight hundred
quid for the premium and will cover you in case you get
ill and cannot work while you're making the repayments.
left the bank a happy chappie and started planning his driving
lessons and how he was going to use his new computer. Little
did he know that three months later all of his plans
would turn sour. That he would have to undergo two nasty
operations, a horrible bone marrow extraction and eight
months of chemotherapy. He had no idea that he would be
unable to work for the foreseeable future as the chemo,
although it might cure his illness, would make him very
sick, give him insomnia, make him feel constantly tired
and kill off his immune system so that even a common cold
dear', thought Matt. 'Still not all is lost, I'll just have
to sign on for income support and when that starts I will
be able to claim on my loan protector insurance from CGU
Insurance plc trading as Norwich Union. That eight hundred
quid I paid was well worth it'. What
he did not realize was that the Job Centre would lose his
application form for income support and that it would be
three months before he would receive any benefit, and more
to the point, before he could fill in the Norwich Union
claim form to help with his bank loan repayments. In the
mean time, three months with no income had eaten into his
loan, £600 of which had been used just to make three
of the repayments.
he also did not realize was that his doctor would charge
him £34 from his newly acquired £45.50 per week
income support to fill in the claim form and that because
Matt had seen the doctor before he took the bank loan, even
through that doctor had sent him home at the time, telling
him that he had nothing more than a minor irritation, Norwich
Union would use the cunningly worded small print in the
insurance contract to say that he was unable to claim as
he had 'seen the doctor about his illness'. The fact that
the illness had been misdiagnosed as something trivial made
no difference - Matt had seen the doctor.
bank fully understand Matt's problem and phoned the insurance
people to ask them to re-examine his case as his illness
had been misdiagnosed. They fully realize that Matt was
unaware of his cancer when he took the loan and, although
we have not yet resolved the matter, they are being as helpful
as they can about the situation. I think that the Norwich
Union's literal translation of the small print however is
immoral. When Matt filled in the claim form, he also sent
a letter explaining that, although he was seeing the doctor
when he took the loan, he had no idea that he had anything
at all serious wrong with him.
insurance company employee who telephoned Matt to tell him
his claim had been declined even said that he was aware
of the situation, that the true nature of Matt's illness
was not known about at the time he took the loan and protector
insurance but he had seen the doctor and that small
print is small print and must be obeyed. Matt had seen the
doctor so the small print had to be adhered to, regardless
of how immoral it was.
me happy'. You must be 'aving a laugh!
three: on the positive side:
Matt had a scan a month ago which showed that his tumours
have become a little smaller. The sweating has ceased and
he can now drink a little beer, other than immediately after
a dose of chemotherapy but he still needs a further three
months of treatment before the next test. Matt is a strong
lad and although it is getting thin, he is hanging on to
his hair like his life depends on it. He still goes out
during the evening with his mates. Going to Cheltenham every
other Tuesday is a pain in some ways as it often means a
twelve hour day but it has given us the opportunity to spend
a lot of time together. In between his early morning blood
test and waiting for the phone call to say his chemo is
ready, we have eaten in just about every hamburger joint
in the city, looked in the window of every shop and have
learned the location of every park bench.
will eventually make a full recovery - of this I am still
absolutely certain and one day we'll go to Cheltenham purely
for reasons of nostalgia!
. . .
letter of confirmation arrived on Tuesday, 5th December, after the
above article was written.
added since the above letter was received:
way I see it, the above clause reads that due to his illness,
no matter what, Matt can never, ever claim on that insurance
means that Norwich Union were never at risk from the word
'go' as Matt could never make a claim, either from the very
beginning or at any time in the future. Norwich Union should
therefore at least refund the 800 quid that Matt has paid
out for something he can never benefit from.
Matt asked for his money back on the telephone, the man
from Norwich Union said, 'It doesn't work like that'.
trust an insurance company! I should know, I worked for
one for 30 years!
Norwich Union is anything like the insurance company I worked
for, Matt's 800 quid will be put to good use. It will go
towards some poor sod of an office clerk being sent on a
poncy 'Team Building' course that he does not want to attend,
where he will have to stay in a posh hotel and figure out
how to make a bivouac using nothing more than half a dozen
stapling machines, eight Lego bricks, four biros and a metre
and a half of used string. How exciting it used to be, when
that last stapling machine fell into place and you just
knew you had built a house which would sleep six men comfortably
in Antarctic blizzard conditions!
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