I spent a large part of today and yesterday with my youngest son ‘B’ at the local hospital emergency department, wondering if he had appendicitis or not. I have to say, the NSW public hospital system SUCKS! However, this should not be taken as a reflection on the medical and nursing staff …they do their best under trying circumstances.
What pisses me off is the lack of money and resources! (…same complaint I have about our state school system too, but that’s another story!) WHY did I have to spend 8 f***ing hours in the Emergency Department waiting to find out whether or not my youngest son had appendicitis? So many hours were spent just waiting for someone to come and see us and examine him and ask a few questions, while more and more sick kids, babies and frustrated parents waited also. There was clearly not enough staff to cope with the number of patients and not enough physical space/chairs/beds to accommodate everyone. They even had adult patients inside the paediatric ED department as there was not enough room for them in the general ED section. I was very lucky that my son eventually got a bed in the paediatric ED.
We arrived at about 12:15pm and at 8:30pm it was finally decided that my son should stay overnight for observation. One blood test, a urine analysis and one ultrasound had been done in that eight or so hours, plus a few question sessions with various doctors as shift changes happened, necessitating the repetition of information already previously given. It was a great relief to finally be admitted “for observation” overnight, which was essentially another long wait anyway (but in much more peaceful and comfortable circumstances) then to be sent home after lunch today as B’s condition fixed itself. OK, I know the observation part takes time, but why couldn’t we have been admitted to the children’s ward sooner to free up more space in the ED? It’s the waiting, waiting and more WAITING to actually be seen in the first place that is so frustrating!
It was also certainly very “enlightening”, after explaining, (and re-explaining) about Asperger’s Syndrome and autism to various medical staff who didn’t know anything about it, to see how little is known about autism by the “general” medical/nursing staff …extremely important info re communication with my son ‘B’ and understanding his “quirky” ways. A couple of people seemed to know about it and took it on board, while most of the others had no clue and obviously had never heard of it.
Then of course there was the issue of food. ‘B’ is on a gluten-free and casein (dairy) free diet. This was recorded by a number of different medical staff yet somehow that information either never found its way to the kitchen, or else the kitchen staff didn’t give a sh*t or didn’t understand what a GF C(D)F diet entails, as the breakfast and lunch he was offered were both totally wrong! I think it’s a bit pathetic that a major hospital can’t even cater for the most basic of special diets. After all, to feed someone the wrong thing is only going to make them sicker and confuse the final diagnosis …not the goal of a hospital one would think! They didn’t even have any GF bread or cereals for breakfast and seemed happy that ‘B’ could at least have the GF biscuits that I’d brought from home. Then for lunch they gave him a baked dinner with gravy that probably wasn’t GF and mashed potato that probably contained milk and gluten (which I allowed him to eat anyway as it would only have had relatively minor amounts of gluten and casein) but for dessert they gave him a totally dairy mousse (with added protein (=casein!) to make it “healthier”) which I had to take back and swap for some fruit puree! NOT HAPPY JAN! OK, end of whinge!