Thursday 17 April 2008

Is that all you have to offer?

Today I feel very frustrated. I guess you hear stories here and there, that make you think, “oh that’s awful” or “jeeze that’s really sad”, but it is not until you have to live it, that it makes you really stand up and want to scream at the top of your lungs… (I know my story is not as tragic as some, and for that I do feel very fortunate.)

…See, while on vacation in January, my Mom fell and broke her arm. The Dr.’s in the country she was in missed the break, as they were far more concerned about other potential injuries she may have sustained from her fall. This is not my beef. She returned home in good health, with a few bruises, but all was well.

She saw a Dr. here two days after her return, and sure enough, she left the hospital a few hours later sporting a bright pink cast on her right arm and the vision of her own x-ray showing the ulna bone snapped in two.

Now, my Mom is pretty tough. She never complains, and she refuses to take pain medicine stronger than Advil because she doesn’t like how it makes her feel. So when she says ‘it hurts’ you really stop and listen. But to see her reduced to tears over the pain is almost more than I could bare to watch.

There were several visits to the hospital in three week intervals, and always the same story
“The bone is not healing; there is still a distinct break, and no change from the first x-ray we took. We consulted an orthopedic surgeon, and they said to cast it for three more weeks”

The Doctor she had been seeing went on vacation, so finally on her most recent three week visit, she saw a new doctor, and finally got a referral to an orthopedic Surgeon, but ‘it takes two weeks to get in’.

So today April 17th, three months and four days after her fall on January 13th, she sees an orthopedic surgeon. His words to her were

“Why did they wait so long to send you here? Typically if the bone does not heal in four to six weeks, you should be seen by an orthopedic surgeon.”

Apparently, the problem is no longer as simple as a broken bone, now, because it has been immobilized in a cast for three months, her wrist doesn’t work, and her finger movement is limited… He removed the cast, and sent her on her way, broken arm and all, to wait two weeks for a CT scan, and then wait some more for a bone graft surgery. He didn’t want to put the cast back on because he was concerned about the lack of movement in her wrist and fingers… She was told to use her wrist and her fingers, no matter the pain from the bones grinding together. So now, there she sits, in the exact state we collected her from the airport three months ago. There-in lays my frustration.

It is unlike me to make huge Political statements…

I work in Alberta’s Oil and Gas industry. I am away from my children, everyday, working my ass off designing ways and methods to more efficiently move the oil out of Fort McMurray to be sold to other parts of the world.

Not only does the government take their share of my pay as ‘Taxes’, and not only do I pay my “Alberta Health Care”, but I am part of an industry that has made Alberta one of the richest regions in North America, and have a direct hand in making that happen faster, and cheaper.

Is this seriously, all my Government has to offer my Mom in return?

Get a second opinion folks, gone are the times of blind faith in what our medical system has to offer… Make noise, and lots of it until you get the level of care you deserve. If I dropped the ball like this, I would be sooo looking for a new line of work.