I wrote this blog last week, just a couple of days before I flew down to Melbourne for the trip of a lifetime, but I didn't really want to post it in case people got concerned about me pushing myself to go to the cup, believe me, my health comes before any amount of celebrities caged in one area and I would never put myself at risk just to grasp a glimpse of the girls from the block.....go Sasha and Julia!!!!!!
So there I was last Sunday in excruciating pain, once again doing the should I or shouldn't I go to the hospital argument in my head. I'm in my bedroom in insurmountable pain, the type of pain that every time I attempt to inhale, it feels like my liver is being stabbed by a blunt rusted knife and my lungs are being suffocated by the sheer size of my tumours. The problem is, I've been in this pain before and it has subsided after an hour and I've been in this pain before and within hours I've been told I'm not going to make it through the night due to the amount of blood loss I've had from a tumour bleed, so which one is it? Is it the "l'm going to die pain" or the "it's going to subside pain?". I don't have X-Ray glasses that can see into my abdomen and tell me if it's a tumour bleed, a tumour has popped, tumour necrosis, it's just that my bowels have moved forcing a tumour to hit a nerve causing pain, tumour growth, constipation, ascites and the list goes on, so it's no wonder I have this back and forth with myself every time I feel pain and then my poor parents get it as well. I'm usually asking them, what do you think, yes or no? To which they reply you can only tell us that, we can't feel the pain and then I get annoyed at them because they won't make the decision for me, then when they say, "we think you should be in hospital", I usually object anyway, the poor bastards can't win.
So on Monday night I was doing my usual back and forth, I took a few breakthrough pain injections and they did nothing, that was it, my little argument in my head wasn't an option, the pain had me in a choke hold and I couldn't tap out. Time to go to emergency, no time to ring the ambulance, just get me there. In my mind this time I was dying, every bump, every turn, I was yelping like a neglected dog in pain. Anyone who knows me, knows that if hospital can be avoided, I will avoid it, avoid it at nearly all cost. So this car trip is a good 30 minute ride and I felt every second, pain was seeping from every pore, if I cry it's more painful and all I wanted to do was ball, so every now and then crying would start and this pain would rush over me, causing distress in my breathing, in turn causing even more pain. My poor Dad watching on helpless trying to drive the car at the same time as holding my hand like I was giving birth in the seat next to him, I have a feeling a few red lights were ignored that night and the speedo may have been in overdrive.
We finally arrived at the hospital which I am
not going to name as my experience with emergency departments in Australia are normally 10/10. The triage nurse or admin person at the counter usually sees the pain written all over my face and contorted body upon arrival and rushes out with a wheelchair or directs us through the hallowed doors that lead to triage, nope not this hospital. They watch as you are dragged to the counter in pain and proceed with the usual questioning as if you're just at the post office posting a package, not at the Emergency department begging for relief. At one point I was yelping and the admin woman simply said there's a seat over there, pointing in the direction of the waiting room. I couldn't speak with pain so I tried to motion that it was more painful to sit and then try to get back up than to remain standing.
On this occasion the triage experience was quicker than previous occasions, but I feel there is a sensitivity chip lacking in the front desk at this hospital. I don't know if it's how they've been trained, so that they don't become emotional or affected by what may appear before them, but one things for sure I've been to ED's all over Australia and each time I give this one the benefit of the doubt, I am left feeling neglected, disappointed and a nuisance. No person that approaches an emergency department with a genuine illness or medical issue should be made to feel that they are an annoyance, do you really think doubled over in pain in your waiting room is where I imagined my Sunday going? Do you think I'm here just for fun, for a laugh?
You see I already suffer from ED inferiority complex (EDIC), I don't think it's an actual recognised complex, but it's what I call it anyway. I never feel that my pain or illness is worthy of taking up an ED bed, so when I'm faced with an uncaring person at the counter, who tutts when she sees me walking in because she's standing there with her heated bolognese from last nights dinner and would rather be splattering sauce down her chin than take the time to assess my case appropriately, it pisses me off. I've had an occasion where we've been ambulanced in and people have been nothing but downright rude to us, my brother and his wife rushed to the hospital to see what was going on and the admin lady came out to us in the hall yelling whose family dare take up waiting room space and get out there and move them! Totally understandable, but just ask them to go to the café politely, you don't need to publicly shame them for caring for their sister, they also kept forcing me to sit in a chair and I kept telling them I couldn't sit, I went to the toilet, came back out and they had given the bed away and left a chair for me to sit on, even though they knew I was physically unable to sit. On this occasion my Mum actually ended up in tears and she's a stoic woman, it takes a lot to make her cry, but she just felt that the hospital did nothing but make us feel like a nuisance from the time we arrived and by the way, it wasn't us who sent us to ED,: it was my GP who told us to rush to the hospital, even after I begged her to not make me go and I would be fine.
My ED inferiority complex is really bad, I always believe that someone else is worse off than me, from the 21 year old with alcohol poisoning to the ice addict scratching their flesh to the bone, the little girl with a fish-hook stuck in her finger to the bloke who was building an IKEA flat pack and obviously didn't follow instructions properly because he now has a piece of MDF attached to his forearm and don't even get me started on the woman who came in with lock-jaw, let's just say her partner was slightly embarrassed explaining that one to the triage nurse. I've seen it all and I always feel they should be seen before me, so to have ignorant and uncaring Triage nurses, basically choosing my fate just adds to my already uncontrollable "EDIC". A wonderful emergency department nurse once told me after I had told her about my EDIC, that I in fact was probably more important than most in the waiting room, because unlike the fool who thought it was a smart idea to try riding a unicycle on the balcony of a 5 storey building, you didn't choose to get cancer and you certainly didn't choose to be terminal and have tumour bleeds that require blood transfusions, embolisations and radiation to stop them, this is out of your hands, so we should be saving you, keeping you around as long as we can. Whereas I think, because I'm already "dying", why would you want to waste valuable time and resources on keeping me going? Only to remain an ongoing strain on the already struggling health system, it simply doesn't make sense, to which she replied, do you think the man that we've just treated for falling down the stairs and spraining his ankle isn't a strain on our health system? He's an alcoholic, his disease is and will continue to be a strain on our health system, until he either gets irreparable liver damage and dies or decides to get help, either way his alcoholism will continue to be a strain on public health resources, just like yours does, so why should your life be any less important than the next? We are all human and we all deserve equal and fair access to the public health system. That nurse was so right and one day, maybe, I'll realise that saving my life is just as important as saving yours.
Remember A&E is for emergencies, not ingrown toenails or runny noses, but if you have a serious health issue, don't suffer from EDIC, get your sick butt to your local hospital and hopefully you'll be greeted by a fabulous triage like I have been so many times before. One rotten egg, shouldn't spoil the rest of them, 99.9% of Triage's are fabulous! A shout out to all you fab Triage and ED admin out there!
Stay Fabulous Rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
My name is Lisa Magill and I have been navigating the minefield that is cancer since just months after turning 30, people have been saying to me for years that I should put my thoughts into writing and as time has progressed I thought I had left it too late, well here we are nearly 4 years in and for some unknown reason I've decided to start to write today.