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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Betrayal of our medical system

It's an emotional roller coaster. A coaster that could have been avoided 14 days ago. I trusted our medical emergency departments with the life of a loved one. 1, 2 and 3 at NRGH (Nanaimo Regional General Hospital) once by ambulance. All three times sent home with more pain killers for nerve damage. My mother in law and I drove my deathly sick husband to Victoria General (after talking on the nurse help line) There I begged the emergency department to admit him. "Please give him the tests that he needs" We sat in these emergency departments for hours, waiting for our turn while my husband was hunched over in a wheelchair. During Victoria General's visit the emergency doctor took us into a casting room that looked like a closet. From there he said, "I heard you want him admitted? This isn't going to happen" He was looking over the previous Nanaimo emerg visits and mentioned that we were at Nanaimo General three times prior for nerve damage. We explained, "Yes but we can't control his pain and he's getting worse every day, his heel is swollen, and he can't even hold up his own head" "We are waiting for an ultrasound on this foreign lump at the back of his neck" The emerg doctor didn't even assess his heal. Then proceeded to press on the lump (like it was a pressure point) Then he said, "You have too many fish in the sea" "He has nerve damage, we will make him comfortable, (two shots of pain meds) make sure you give him the adequate amount of pain killers and call for a massage therapist" No tests. I felt like we were treated like hypochondriacs looking for more pain killers. From there (emergency number 4) we wheeled him out with his mouth open. Drove home. I couldn't have him at home. It was traumatizing to our children. He was delusional. He had severe pain all over his body and could hardly walk. He wasn't eating. He was then moved to his mothers. A day later we begged for a VIHA nurse and a mobile lab service to go see him. The next day after that nurse visit, she called 911. From there he was transferred to the Comox hospital. Finally the Comox hospital found out that he was in Septic Shock and had an infection that spread throughout his whole body. He was then air lifted back to Victoria General. That is where he remains today, day 14 in ICU in critical condition. He has puss from his C1-T4 in his spine. He has puss collection in two areas of his heart. One in his lungs. His body is completely swollen and he's fighting for his life. His white cell count was up at 48 when he arrived. His BP (Blood Pressure) is all over the place. His pulse 130. Now I can go on and on but basically his body is septic. Right now we are told it's day by day. They're hoping that the antibiotics will slowly kill the infection however if it's unsuccessful, he will need open spinal and heart surgery. The reason why I'm sharing isn't because I need to get it off my chest this time....."some writing therapy" Our family has been turned upside down due to the lack of medical support. Our sixteen children wouldn't be suffering wondering and crying nightly if we had help. If we were heard. I have many emotions. I'm angry. I'm emotionally very upset. I go back and forth every day to Victoria General to be by his bedside and hopefully see some improvement. All I see is pain and unnecessary suffering. I come home and try to console some of my children while they cry themselves to sleep. Then I'm left to do the same. I'm so angry.....and it's very hard for me to speak with any one, to be out in public, to be me anymore. I can't control my emotions. I worry about the future not only for us but for others. Where do we go for help? We begged for help and we were turned away like chronic complainers. I felt it. I worry for the next time, I worry for others. Now as my husband is fighting for his life, and I'm juggling life - I pre-warn every one that if you feel that your medical care hasn't been addressed, don't even leave the hospital. That's something I regret, I shouldn't have wheeled him out in that condition. I should have made a scene, sat in the hallway and demanded answers. I know now. I know that we need to fight like hell to be heard. I'm writing this and exposing what's happened. Not only am I writing this, there is an investigation starting with both hospital emergency departments and our television news has been contacted. People need to be aware of the possible dangers of health emergencies not being met. I'm extremely exhausted. I'm surprised I can write this right now. I thought I was at a loss for words......then after leaving my husband's bedside today, 14 days and counting....after hearing they are now testing his liver function (of course not a surprise) then coming home to crying children - I have words. Our voice is going to be heard this time. Then I will forgive so we can heal.
Seen below is how we left the Emergency Department in Victoria General.
Left hand side he's healthy. Right hand side is how I wheeled him out of Emergency because they wouldn't admit us.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Within seconds.....

Life is amazing when it's heading in the right direction. Well....eliminating our "normal" challenges our life was moving smoothly. Then it only takes a few seconds in a day.... and that life running smoothly is on an unexpected rocky path. I've always believed that somehow we are the chosen ones to face all odds, and just maybe there's some truth. Last Tuesday (June 2nd) approx. 1 pm my husband came in with severe pain. He's always had chronic back pain due to past injuries. So at the time, we thought his previous injuries have surfaced. They still might have.... however his pain escalated to the point where he couldn't function. It's been a week and my husband is basically incapacitated. We have been to the hospital four times. Two different hospitals. Each time hes given different pain medications. We have been told that he has severe nerve damage in his spine. There is a lump on the left hand side between his shoulder blades, below his neck that has been unattended too. This guy that I know very well has a high pain tolerance. He hates hospitals. Today (June 8th) he is almost unrecognizable. His face has sunken in due to the lack of food. He's hallucinating also due to the lack of food while taking pain medication. His whole body is affected. He hobbles due to a swollen ankle. He's lost use of his upper limbs, he has intolerable severe pain.  He can't sleep. He barely eats because he can't swallow. I tried to care for him for four days while looking after my other twelve children at home. I started to notice that our children were becoming traumatized. Our children were crying. My adult children were crying. Our little Emily doesn't understand and now constantly yells, "Broken Daddy" I made the decision to have him stay with his mother during recovery. It was one of the hardest things I have done. My husband was so "not there" anymore. The only time we heard anything from him, it was yelling from pain. He would be in and out of consciousness. Sometimes just passed out drueling.  I felt helpless again. It was an easy transition for him moving to his mothers house because he didn't really know what was happening...... after coming back from the hospital (after begging them to admit him) I left him in his mothers car and explained this is for the best. I walked away. My two older sons followed them out. They went to help him inside his mothers house. When they returned, my almost twenty two year old son was crying. My sixteen year old son reconfirmed and said, "It was for the best Mom, we can't do this, it's too horrifying. I'm so upset seeing him like this. The younger kids shouldn't witness this" Just then, I knew I made the right choice. He couldn't recover here peacefully. And it would be too traumatizing for our children. This was on (June 7th) I didn't think I could parent twelve children under these circumstances. Emotionally I'm wiped. I honestly don't even want to talk about it anymore let alone write. However writing is my therapy outlet. This past week has been a roller coaster. Also a coaster of changes. My two littlest keep asking where their Daddy is. Our Emily sometimes has emotional outbursts screaming, "Come back here Daddy" "Daddy where are you?" "Daddy? Daddy?" Even today she watched out the window and with every car she would yell, "Daddy's home now" Emily loves her daddy and has a very deep connection with him. It's very sad to witness. I hide my tears all the time. I keep saying, "Daddy is working, it's ok" For my own sanity, I have been keeping our house maintained. Laundry, cleaning, homeschooling, cooking....eating. The busier I am the better. Right now I look outside and it's beautiful. The weather is hot. When this happened my husband was building the hot tub area for our daughters therapy. I look at it now resting where he left it. Everything has changed within seconds. We ordered a pool. It will probably come this week. Everything that we planned, everything that was our normal seems lost. Being the only adult here I feel lonely. I have to remain strong for my children but when I smashed my elbow tonight, I just wanted to fall down and bawl my eyes out BUT there was Emily. I stood beside her while she was sitting on her hospital bed and brushed her hair telling her how beautiful she was and that I loved her. Today I'm wishing a quick recovery. We don't know. We were told it will be weeks, even months or longer. It's just one of those crap shoots that can physically disable you for life. At first, after four hospital visits, and a doctors apt we were hoping for that magical cure, and if not a cure, help. We didn't receive anything but pain killers. So ok....I've come to terms with this. There is nothing anyone can do. It's time, it's physio, it's hope. All I know is that all our children need their father back, and my hands are tied. I'm hopeless. This is the worst physical crippling I have ever seen in all my years of first aid. So I don't know what our summer holds, or our future right now....I am trying to stay optimistic believing that this happened for a reason.  I can't help but think it's happened to show us, show me what an asset he really is, and now that he's momentarily gone - we all can feel it. However this man doesn't deserve this. To conclude, I have been working on setting up nursing care and I want to remind everyone that you need to live your life, you need to cherish every moment because within seconds it can be over.