The Day My Patience Died
By Andrew G. Carson
(RBU Join Date: 05/24/2010)
It happened about a decade ago and warrants a considerable amount of back-story and possibly some insight into my struggle with illness but I think I can work around these things. I was eighteen just back from spending a uncomfortably long time at my mother’s cousin’s house, yes I said my mother‘s cousin. Now visiting my mother’s cousin isn’t my idea of a great time by any stretch of the imagination but out of necessity myself, my mother and my Gran had to travel down to Kent, (think Clearwater, Florida without the sand, the sun and the great bars and restaurants hell it’s pretty much just chock full of pensioners).
Now the reason for this fun filled trip was that our home had been flooded and we had to stay somewhere else while the house was dried out and redecorated which left us stuck for a place to go. My father and brother had to stay local for access to their work so they got the better option of staying with my uncle, we three had no work to go to so off to Kent we went.
Now during our time in the tweed capital of England, two months all in, I had started to suffer from severe back pain which, to begin with, I tried to hide from my already panicky mother but on one fine morning I awoke to the greatest pain I have ever experienced, and I’ve seen the Howard the Duck movie. I mean truly the most mind numbing pain I have ever experienced and when I tried to get to my feet I was struck dumbfounded by the realization I could no longer feel my legs.
This is the second scariest moment of my life the first being when I lost my eyesight but that’s another story. The feeling eventually came back a few hours later and upon my return to Scotland I was sent to see an orthopaedic specialist at my local hospital for treatment. This is where the “you know what” hit the fan. The first problem arose when, after the standard NHS four month waiting time to see this specialist, I finally got to see him but he seemed more interested in my right wrist than my back. I had had an operation to repair torn tendons on my right wrist when I was about fourteen and had experienced problems with it for a while but I was here to see this guy about my back, right?
I thought so. But he didn’t which I discovered as he sent me for an x-ray, I get round to the x-ray department, sat in the waiting room for about an hour and then when I was eventually called in I’m informed that the x-ray is to be on my right wrist. I bite my lip. I think maybe I didn’t explain my problems properly after all telling someone that “My back hurts real bad and I lost the feeling in my legs for a couple of hours” is maybe hard to comprehend, sure that could sound like a wrist problem.
I head back around to the specialist’s waiting room, sit for ten minutes get called back in and told my wrist looks fine and I won’t need another appointment. I bite my lip once more and again try to explain my back problem using the plainest terms I can conceive. He nods along like he’s listening and tells me physiotherapy may be needed, at last some kind of progress. I get an appointment card sent to me in the post for an appointment in three weeks time and when the day comes I head to the hospital with a hopeful demeanour. Big mistake.
After arriving half an hour early for my appointment, I end up waiting twenty minutes past my appointment time. The physiotherapist finally calls me in, I go and he tells me I’ll need to first get my right hand and wrist dipped into some kind of wax making machine and then the wax peeled off and after that we will begin my physiotherapy on my WRIST. I mean it’s becoming a joke at this point I tell the bewildered physiotherapist that I don’t have a problem with my arm but with my back. He thinks I’m a complete numpty (Scottish slang for idiot) and that I don’t know what I’m there for, I leave before any physiotherapy begins. I get a new appointment for the specialist and after a six week wait I find myself sitting across from him in his office and he’s upset at my actions.
He tells me that my actions are inexcusable and I remind him that I have no wrist problems but DO have a BACK problem; he thinks I’m over reacting. It takes me basically begging for an x-ray on my back to get one and after successfully attaining one, I return to the specialist who after consulting his understudy decides I need physiotherapy on my back.
Thank God right? Wrong, three weeks later I go to what I have been led to believe is a physiotherapy clinic for back problems but low and behold it is actually a Post Natal clinic! I kid you not, a clinic of me and four women with five minutes on an exercise bike followed by twenty minutes of pelvic thrusts on the exercise mats. It was like something out of a sitcom but I didn’t see the funny side and didn’t do any pelvic thrusts either.
Returning to the specialist again this time I did not bite my lip or hold my tongue instead I let rip. I can’t quite remember what words I used exactly but trust me the majority of them where four lettered. The specialist got freaked called in porters and nurses thinking I was going to lamp him. My mother was called in to calm me down but like son like mother, she let him have it and explained what actions she was going to take against him with the health board. Needless, I soon found myself with a new specialist and for about three months the NHS was kissing my butt. I guess the moral of this story is losing your patience sometimes can be quite helpful, well for three months or so.