Daughter on the right, Jessica, ended up in emergency yesterday to have her arm, that she broke last Friday, reset and put in a cast. A tedious, painful experience. Thankfully, she is fast asleep upstairs and beginning the healing process.Others we saw yesterday are not.
A day in emergency can turn into a surreal experience. I'm not sure whether to bless the medical system or despair of it.
As we sat in the first hospital's emergency department (we had to go to two to find an orthopedic specialist who could set her arm), there were two twenty-something aged men obviously high, even to my naive eyes, both complaining of vague back pain. All the while there (and it was over two and a half hours) they were up and down, back and forth, ducking under and over temporary barriers in the waiting room without a wince or grimace. Neither bothered to hide that there was nothing physically wrong with them, well their backs anyway.
As Jess and I sat waiting for her paperwork before moving on to hospital #2, one of the young men came running out of an examining room, waiving a prescription and announced to everyone in the waiting room, "this hospital is AWESOME...ativan man, ativan".
Fast-forward five hours, well slow-forward actually, and now I am sitting in the radiology department waiting for Jessica to have her post-reduction x-ray, next to a man whose eighty-year-old Mum is in having her x-rays taken. We can hear the gentle crying of his mother as the technicians turn her this way and that. This man is teary too as he explains to me that his Mum's bones are so fragile, every tiny movement is excruciating for her. "I keep trying to tell them that they have to go slowly and be gentle with her, but they won't listen, they have no time, they don't know her."
And herein lies the crux of the problem. Staff have no time to simply observe the all-too-obvious grab for cheap drugs with the first young-man, and no time to properly tend to the needs of Anna as she is subjected to painful x-ray after x-ray.
I'm grateful Jessica's arm is now cast and she can heal, but again the specialist, the only one on call in what was an over-taxed hospital, didn't have the time to read her chart properly or ask her the correct questions and ended up re-setting the bone without anesthetic, and so the poor girl had her arm broken twice in the space of four days.
I hope this doesn't sound too judgemental, every health professional we met yesterday was helpful and caring, but without exception distracted and over-extended. I genuinely believe the system is horribly broken and don't have a clue as to how to fix it.