04 January 2015

Pics or it didn't happen

Today I coughed, and then I screamed in pain.

It's now 9 days since I wrecked my shoulder.

I did it on Boxing Day. On the 27th I managed to escape from the arse-end of nowhere and get back to London so I could go to my local A&E. It really wasn't much better.

I arrived, was seen by the triage nurse, and was sent to x-ray in only a few minutes. Well, the triage nurse pulled a doctor aside and said "she's crying in pain." I wasn't really. I was crying because:

A pie chart entitled 'why I was crying'. There is a dark blue slice taking up 5% titled 'pain'. Then there's an aqua-coloured slice accounting for 25% of the pie entitled 'sadness about being treated so badly the night before'. Then there's a purple slice accounting for the remaining 70% of the pie labelled 'fear of being treated so badly again'.

But I didn't bother to shout after her and correct her.

I initially stopped by the seats outside x-ray, and continued facing the direction I was facing anyway. But I became aware of the flow of air as people walked close to my shoulder and turned around so my good shoulder was facing outwards before someone knocked it.

I had 3 x-rays taken this time. I heard a voice bellow along the corridor "it isn't dislocated" and knew they were talking about me. (I never, for a second, thought it was dislocated.) I was then swiftly downgraded from A&E to the Urgent Treatment Centre.

I really wasn't sat there very long before I got called in by a doctor. I once again told the story of what happened, "no, I didn't fall over," blah, blah. You know all that from my last post. The doctor looked at my x-ray, came back and told me that he couldn't see any fractures. And proceeded to treat me like I had a small bruise. Unlike my dad's local A&E they were polite about it, but still didn't care. "Urgent treatment centre" is a bit of a misnomer if all they do is pull you aside for a "there's nothing wrong with you" talk.

Well, they gave me a prescription for some 30/500 co-codamol and offered me a sling.

I'd already explained to him that osteogenesis imperfecta most famously affects bones, but actually it affects every single tissue in the body containing type 1 collagen. Which is every tissue in the body. Tendons, ligaments, muscles, blood vessels, even skin. All affected. But as I said in my last post; doctors think if you've got OI and not broken a bone, there can't actually be anything wrong with you at all. Explained it to him, all of it.

He said that if I couldn't manage at home, they could admit me until I got some social care.

"If you admit me, will that get me an MRI and a diagnosis?"

"An MRI wouldn't show us any more detail than we can see on the x-ray."

"You can't see soft tissue on an x-ray."

Even when you waste your breath explaining that OI doesn't just affect bones (something they should have learned in medical school), they still don't listen.

"Well, no, we wouldn't. We'd literally just keep you here until you got some social care."

"Right, I'm going home then."

Every time break my toes I'd be eligible for medical care, but I don't bother wasting my time or their money because I can strap it up myself and it's not like they're particularly painful unless you try wearing shoes.

When I actually needed medical care and asked for it, I was treated like I had a bit of a cramp.

When I snapped a rib gardening I didn't need to call an ambulance. I packed up my gardening supplies, came inside, took painkillers, waited for them to work, then cooked my dinner. The next day I went shopping, which entailed lifting my wheelchair in and out of my car. Didn't need medical care, even though I'd have been eligible for it.

I haven't left my flat since I got home from the hospital that night because I can't drive my car or push my wheelchair. I can only prepare foods that can be made one-handed. But I'm not eligible for medical care because it doesn't show up on an x-ray.

When I fracture the little bones in my hands and feet (which I usually do a couple of times a year) I usually just say "fuck", tape it up, and carry on with what I was doing.

When I got home from the hospital on the 27th I tried moving my arm to put talc in my armpit and screamed so loud I woke my hard-of-hearing upstairs neighbour. But I'm "lucky" to have "just a soft tissue injury" according to medical "professionals".

I wish I'd got the memo where it was decided by the NHS that policy is "pics or it didn't happen." Which is really what's going on here. If it can't be seen on an x-ray, it's not real. Or at the very worst it's just a small bruise.

Even if you can't move your arm.
Even if you can't drive your car.
Even if you can't push your wheelchair.
Even if you can't wipe your arse with your dominant hand.
Even if you scream at the pain in your shoulder when you cough. When a broken rib didn't make you scream like that upon coughing.

Pics or it didn't happen.

I had really wanted to go and see Neville's Island during it's final week. An organisation that owed me an apology were going to buy me tickets too. Cracking cast: Adrian Edmondson, Neil Morrissey, Robert Webb and Miles Jupp.

Couldn't go. Obviously. Like I said; I haven't left the house since I came home from the hospital. I'll remind you that after breaking a rib I got myself to Westfield the next day. Went to FrightFest about 10 days later, and even managed to cram my broken rib into a bra for that outing.

I was really upset about not being able to go. But "luckily" there's nothing wrong with my shoulder right now.

While 2 A&E departments were collectively as helpful as a shit in a sock, I've had wonderful friends come to my rescue. I especially have to say thanks to Liz & Jo who:

* Arranged for someone to drive my car back to London from Hell.
* Came and rescued me from my local hospital (and gave me a bag of Christmas presents while doing it).
* And Jo went back to the hospital the following day during pharmacy opening hours to get the co-codamol that the "urgent treatment centre" prescribed.

I would literally still be crying in Clacton if it weren't for them.

I often go months without seeing anyone. But my friends have been great these last 9 days. Someone else came by to grate some cheese for me to make one-handed cooking a bit easier. (Lactofree don't sell pre-grated cheese.) Another friend is swinging by tomorrow to throw some rubbish out for me.

Now, if you'll excuse me. I'm going to go and have a bath. It takes me nearly 2 fucking hours to get dressed again afterwards.

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