Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Health System Issues

Niki’s mum has taken a turn for the worse recently when on Friday she was in a large amount of pain. She was stuck in bed with severe nerve pain running through her back and legs. When I left to go to CanCon on Friday Niki was heading over to look after her and see what could be done.

Whilst I was whooping it up in Canberra though Niki had a really shit time of it as her Mum was a) bed ridden due to pain and b) was vomiting a lot because of the severity of the pain. I find that hard to imagine, that you can be physically ill, but she was. This culminated to a trip to the hospital on Saturday night. At the hospital, it was the typical mad house and when a doctor finally saw her, she was given Morphine (enough to last until Tuesday) and asked to come back at that time “when the Doctors would be back from the long weekend”. WTF?

So at 2am she returns home hocked to the eyeballs on Morphine which stops the pain but increases the nausea.

Then on Sunday night / Monday morning, the Morphine – which was supposed to last until Tuesday – runs out. Niki gets more over the counter from the local chemist despite the lack of a script and they’re forced to hire a wheel chair to get her around the house. She cant walk but obviously has to do things like go to the bathroom and shower etc.

So Tuesday arrives and they head back to the Hospital yesterday morning. The doctor gives her a different medicine to ease her pain and suspects a ruptured disc in her back. His advice – “go and have a CAT scan and an X-Ray and come back NEXT TUESDAY”. Again… WTF??

Niki and her Dad wheel her (in our own wheel chair) to the place to have the tests and guess what… BOTH the X-Ray and CAT scan machines are “Out of Order” and they cant do the tests.

This culminates in Niki taking her mum back home until some time in the future when they can have the tests and the Doctor can be fucked to actually do something pro-active.

All this time, Niki has been living at her mum & dads and the kids have been at friends or other relatives houses – they’ve been fine but they too have slept at their Nanny & Poppy’s house over the weekend. But given that this temporary arrangement cant go on, Niki’s mum has moved in with us until she can get fixed / seen to or something. So I am sleeping in Kate’s bed, Kate is on her sister Brookes floor and Niki is staying with her mum in our room. Last night she had a good rest but the medicine has effectively turned her into a sleeping zombie – which is good for her if the pain is still there behind the medicine.

But the question has to be asked: At what point does a hospital admit a women aged 75 years with a suspected ruptured disc? Why cant she be admitted and cared for by professional nurses rather than being shipped around and turned away or dealt with incompetently by a Health System that has clearly gone to the dogs? My parents in law have Private Health Insurance and have been members of their fund all their adult lives.

Clearly, something is going very wrong and I am sure our issue this past weekend – and presumably for the next week at least – is not an isolated case.

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