Well, I knew it was only going to be a few minutes, because they went straight on to the main computer. It was a long few minutes, like, you know. And actually what happened was the computer was down when I went on it, you know. And she says, we made a joke of that. I says, “You see this?” and carrying on, and she had to go away and use another computer. And she came back and that’s how it was up, you know. I, as I said, I would have accepted, but I wouldn’t have accepted radiology. I don’t think I could have. It was, I think it was just the inconvenience – well, not the inconvenience, that’s the wrong word. It was having to go there every day for eight - and then again I said, I asked, she said, “It could come back. You could go through all that and it could still come back”, you know. And she explained the monitoring and she explained what radical surgery was, you know. She said, “Them’s your three options. You can have any one of them.” But I went with, well, I says, “Well, I’ll go for the computer”, thinking it would come up with monitoring, and that would take the decision away from me. But it didn’t. It come up with radical [surgery]. So the decision was made for us, you know, which was, in a sense, it made it easier. Because I know computers are not infallible but, you know, they’re, when they’re putting the right information in you should come up with the right answer, shouldn’t you, you know? So I mean I was, I was happy to go with that.
So your understanding is they put some information in about your personal case and it came up with the recommendation?
They put in all the - well, from what I, the way I take it, they must have put in all the symptoms and everything, all the tests they had done previous to that, you know. And they put it all on the computer and it come up with that. Because I’d done all the biopsies by then, you know, on the prostate. They had took a bit of the prostate away and, you know, and they cut it up, whatever they do with it, you know.
Well, I hate computers, you know. But I don’t know why I let, I don’t know why I let the computer make the decision. But I thought, I was putting, I put a lot of trust in the nurse who looked after us, and I knew she wouldn’t just go on the computer and say, “Oh, we’ve got a spare date for the, do a bit of surgery here. We’ll practise on Ronny” you know. But I knew, you know, I knew she would put every detail in that she had to and come back with a genuine - I knew by her face what she was going to say, you know, by the look, I thought, “Oh, yeah.” But I was happy to go along. I accepted her, I trusted her. I trusted her.
So there wasn’t a point when, when it came through with surgery that you thought, “Ooh, maybe I’ll drop out now”?
No, no. That never crossed my mind, you know. As I say, when they done my pre-ops, two weeks before I went, when they told, actually told us and they actually done all that, I think they thought, “Well, he mightn’t come back”, so they done them all, you know. But, no, I would, I’d made up my mind and I wouldn’t have.
Tell me a bit more about that and the thinking that you might not take part. What do you think?
Well, all the time I had been going I was a nervous wreck, you know. I was. I was very bad, like, you know, nervous. And they could tell. And we used to joke and God knows what about it, you know.
And, how can I say it? It’s, I was getting frightened and more frightened as it got nearer and nearer, because I knew, well, it’s going to have to be something or other, you know.
FOOTNOTE: Randomised trials are done when we don’t know which treatment is best, in other words when the relative merits and disadvantages of different treatments are uncertain. It is important to realise that in about half of trials, the new treatment will turn out to be better, but in the other half it will turn out to be worse. This means that, going into a trial, everyone, regardless of which of the treatment groups the computer allocates them to, must have similar chances of a good outcome. If, in spite of the treatment uncertainties that the trial has been designed to address, people would strongly prefer one of the treatments being compared, they should not volunteer for the trial.
People are allocated at random to one of the groups in the trial, often by using a computer programme. Their personal characteristics are not taken into account when they are allocated to one or the other treatment. Random allocation helps ensure we are comparing two very similar groups of patients, so if one group does better than another, it is very likely to be because the treatments being compared have different effects, and not because of differences between the people in the groups. That's why random allocation to the treatment comparison groups is so important.