Monday, November 21, 2011

In Cape Town... Again!

Well after 3 years I am back in Cape Town, and for a lot more of a fun reason than brain surgery.  It is strange to be at the other side where I am engaging with doctors as a person and not a patient. Cape Town is beautiful as ever and we have been given complementary accommodation at the Commodore Hotel in the Waterfront. It is a 5 min walk to the BOE centre where the congress is taking place. I am so happy and grateful to have this accommodation that is so close to the area that we can just take a walk to the congress and back. So because they have been so nice to us and given us this spoil, I ask any of you to consider them when you are next in Cape Town.

When we got to the BOE building, everyone had set up their elaborate stalls. (Although due to space limitation, not as elaborate as the SASMO congress.) We had to wait to find a spot for us to set up, as the original space was too narrow. It literally took us 15 minutes to set up. We decided not to use a back for the stand as there is such a beautiful view around the marina and of the mountain. What stand could possibly top that? Once again I was struck by the futility and absolute waste of money in setting up these stands. Sure have something that looks good, but I have to question the level of how much is spent on a stand vs how much is spent on a group of patients. The BONUS is that our stand ended up right opposite to the tea and coffee area and next to Netcare who are looping a video of brain tumour facts! So, in a weird kind of way, they are selling the foundation for us!

James and I attended the opening function last night, which was a simple wine tasting and snacks. Like the last congress, I found it impossible to actually network as everyone had their little cliques. James and I did find a table with two neurosurgeons who then proceeded to opening hit on me! Too much wine and FAR too much ego, the classic "I will teach you to be a neurosurgeon" comments. To think that I could have had that as a doctor is quite scary. I have, however, met some really genuine doctors who have a passion for patients and are not driven by money. (But believe me there are many that are in it for money alone) I will be visiting the Red Cross (where many childhood brain tumour patients are) as well as Groote Schuur (one of the largest and best state hospitals in SA) on Thursday.

I am so grateful to have James with me to help with bags, set up and fending off doctors who obviously think I am available and 'want' them. Seriously? Although he does have to go back tomorrow and I will have to sit the last two days out.  He needs to get back to sort out his business and kids. The years is quickly drawing to a close and we are needing to make sure we are covered financially.

Speaking about money, perhaps one of the things that is really bothering me is that when going to these things, I see so much money being spent on the wrong things. So far, other than a bit of funding to cover the SASMO congress, James and myself have been funding the foundation personally. I just can't go on like that forever. I want to discuss this with some doctors to see if they would be willing to donate towards the foundation so that I can do it more on a full time basis. However, if I cannot get funding, I just literally can't afford to go on. Something that has been burdening me for sometime now... besides the injustice of the situation, I also feel that I could contribute in some way. Ultimately we only have one life and when the reality kicks in that we have to be living it fully, it is often too late. As much as we need money in our society, wealth does not create happiness or meaning. The unfairness is just so evident and I hope that our children will be less selfish and more connected with the realities to make this a better place. Once again, something I intend on covering in my masters.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Hi Deirdre-

I find it interesting that you experienced such big egos with those neurosurgeons. Shame on them. My neurosurgeon, by contrast, was so humble. An Iranian Jew, he moved to the States to avoid persecution. He exudes confidence and expertise, yet is very humble. When my wife asked about his wife, and if he had a picture of her, he didn't want to show us the picture. He said that we would think he married her only for her beauty, but that wasn't the case. I'm very thankful that I was referred to him.

Scott

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