On Friday night I went and had a few ales with Danni a good friend of mine. To cut a long story short at about 11pm my back went into spasms and she had to cart me screaming to Tacoma General Hospital. For those who haven’t suffered sciatica before, all I can tell you is that it is the most painful experience I have been through, there is no comfortable position and no respite from the pain. After waiting for I dont know how many hours begging for some relief and literally tearing my hair out a doctor came to see me and prescribed some muscle relaxants and some morphine for the pain. The morphine put me to sleep but did not stop the pain and the effect of the muscle relaxant was negligible. The nurse came back in as I was sleeping and told me I was being discharged. I told him that I was still in pain and couldn’t move. He shrugged, told me he had sciatica before, to buck up and get a move on. He clearly hasn’t had sciatica like I have. I told him there was no one to go back to at my house and that I couldn’t move at all. No response.
“Heres the wheelchair – get dressed”
He said that he’d seen the doctor and that I wasn’t getting anymore pain relief. I told him I didn’t want anymore pain relief I wanted muscle relaxants that would stop this problem. I told him I was uninsured and booking myself back in would have been more expense I couldnt afford and a waste of everyone’s time.
I was dizzy and nauseated from the morphine and in great pain with my back. I wasn’t sure how much sense I was making. He asked if he should call anyone, I said no. I’d try to get in a cab.I couldn’t sit in the chair and made a plank of my body (the position I felt the least pain in)and he wheeled me down to the pharmacy to pick up my muscle relaxants – where he left me. Now, this is where I should tell you that the type of wheelchair I was in needed to be wheeled by someone other than the occupant – it didn’t have big wheels I could push and it wasn’t motorized and that the pharmacy was on a different floor than the exit. The girl at the pharmacy did everything she could to help – it must have been obvious that I was in great pain. When I could stay in the wheelchair no longer, I threw myself onto the ground and crawled to some seats and curled up in a foetal position beneath them (the most comfortable position I could find) threw up and fell asleep again.
An undetermined time later someone woke me and told me I had to move. I gave them my phone and asked them to call Danni, I was scared I wasn’t making any sense and that a friend would have more patience with me than a cab driver might. Danni was awesome, Id woken her in the middle of the night she helped bundle me in the backseat of her car and drove me home. I threw myself out of her car upon arrival at my home, threw up again, and crawled down my driveway into my home, I couldn’t walk as it was too painful to do so, leaving poor Danni to carry my crutches inside.
You would think in a user pays system that the standard of care would be at least the equal of Nationalized health systems, and in most cases when I’ve had occasion to avail myself of the healthcare system in The States this has been true.
This occasion couldn’t have been more markedly different. To the doctor who gave me such short shrift – thanks for nothing – I’m still in pain and will be seeing my own GP at extra cost, to the system and me, some time this week . And to the nameless male nurse – FUCK YOU ASSHOLE – I wish I had your name to publicly address what was the most incompetent job in a carers role I’ve ever had the misfortune of experiencing.Both you and Tacoma General Hospital should be ashamed at the disgrace you brought to your profession that night.
Sorry for such a downer post – the next one will be more positive,