What a week it’s been. I was happily painting my wardrobe on Sunday, when I got a phone call from my mum’s friend that mum had fallen of a horse while horse riding and they were now in an ambulance, on their way to the hospital.
Since then it’s a been a whirlwind of going to the hospital, scans, tests and most of all lots of waiting and frustration with the hospital. It was found that my mum had broken her spine, although she’s been lucky enough that her spinal cord wasn’t damaged and so she’s not paralysed.
But because she’s not paralysed, she is not classed as an emergency case and so has now had to wait one whole week, with a broken spine, in the same position, not being able to move and in excruciating pain.
The doctors kept repeating that her case isn’t urgent, because she can move her legs, and that there are no beds in the specialist spinal hospital, she’s on the waiting list and as soon as a bed is available she’ll go there, surgery should happen within 48 hours we were told.
One week later, she is still waiting for surgery. Only yesterday after much harassment of the directors of both hospitals and complaining to my local MP as well as threatening to go to the press, if nothing is done urgently, I was told that she will be transferred this Sunday and have an operation this Monday.
After we were told twice that there was a bed and then again were told there wasn’t a bed the next day, I said to myself I won’t believe anything until it actually happens.
My mum has finally been transferred to the specialist hospital yesterday, and now she’s being told that her operation might be delayed another two days after the confirmed date.
I just cannot believe this system where people are left to lie with a broken back, in pain, being pumped with drugs for more than a week waiting for treatment. Being told they’ll have an operation and a bed a number of times and then being told the next day that there was a mistake and that there is no bed and no operation yet. Being told that ‘there is no urgent need to operate, because you can move your legs and we can give you pain killers for the pain.’
The pain killers make you feel sick, so you have a choice be sick and without pain or have pain. My mum has said that the minutes are like hours and that this has been the worst week of her life, nothing compares to it, it feels like torture.
I do understand that people who could be paralysed should have priority in getting treatment, but there is a limit to how long anyone should have to wait with a broken back in agony for an operation and being constantly misinformed about what to expect.
I don’t even know what would have happened if I hadn’t complained to the directors of the hospitals and the MP, perhaps my mum would have to wait even longer to be transferred, which makes me sad about the people that are in hospital and have no one to advocate on their behalf.
Right now, my mum is still in hospital waiting for an operation after more than a week, this is only the first hurdle in the process and it has already been so stressful and difficult that I don’t even want to think about the next steps.
There are some things that I have learnt so far from this though, and no doubt the learning process has not yet finished.
- If you want to be heard you need to fight for your rights and challenge others, otherwise no one will care and people will not give you the treatment and opportunities you deserve.
- Take things one step at a time. You can always deal with the present moment. Thinking about the road ahead will only cause you anxiety. You need to focus on what is happening now and deal with the rest when it comes to it.
- Why take unnecessary risks with your health? Once you see something like this happen, you come to question if horse riding or other potentially dangerous sports are really worth it. Sure, you can get hurt anywhere anytime; you don’t have to be horse riding or doing a dangerous sport, but why take the extra risk?
- Patience really is a virtue
- Look at private insurance
Those are my conclusions so far, and I’m only praying that things actually start happening now, that the operations will be as scheduled, that it will be successful and that my mum will get better soon.
When I feel down about it, I think about the verse in the Quran which says:
“God does not impose on anyone any more than they can bear” (Qur’an, 2:286)
And that makes me feel better…
Peace and love