Dec 19, 2010

Medical horror stories, part II

A reader writes:

During PST I came down with a UTI. I knew it was a UTI because I have had them before. I told [Nurse A] about the UTI. [A] said [they] would talk to me more about it the next day. The next day [they] did not come to PST. When I called, [A] said [they] would bring me medication the next day. So by the next day I was four days into the UTI. I was peeing blood. Again, [A] did not bring me medication and said [they] would bring it to me the next day. I was urinating blood: urinating blood usually means kidney infection. So, in the end, I had a major kidney infection with blood, fever, chills, and horrific pain. [A] didn't seem to think it was urgent. Eventually I put up a big enough fuss that [A] sent someone to Bela Bela and I got the medication that night. Had I got the medication the day after I discussed it with him initially, life would have been much better along with my kidneys, bladder, and mindset. From then on, I had little trust in the quality of PC health care.

Story two:
My APCD came for site visit and was horrified at the site of our bed. It was in bad condition and we had only been sleeping on it for five months. She called [A] and told him he needed to look into getting us a new bed. About a week later [A] called me and told me that PC did not have enough money to buy us a bed. I told him I was worried it would lead to other issues if it was not taken care of. [A]'s suggestions were 1: Flip the mattress (any idiot would have already figured this one out, including me) 2: Put blankets on top o the bed for extra cushion (again already tried this one) 3:Buy a new bed with our American money and gt it shipped home at the close of our service. 4: Buy a bed with our monthly stipend by putting it on lay-by. To this suggestion I said that we barely had enough money to buy our basic necessities as it was. He had nothing else to say to this.

Time went on. I contacted [them] two more times about the issue and [A] had nothing to say about it. [A] even came to do a site visit and while I was pointing out the issue with the bed, [they] refused to pay it any attention. So, by April I was having some pretty significant back pain and sciatica.

At MST I reminded [A] about my back issues and he sent me for an x-ray. The x-ray showed two conditions, spondylolythesis, and spondylosis. These conditions are new conditions for me. I never had any back pain of any sorts in the states. After seeing the radiologist diagnosis, [A] sent me to an orthopedic doctor. The orthopedist recommended physical therapy to take care of the issue. He said I will have it for the rest of my life, but since it was a low grade at the present time, it should be easy to manage, unless I let it get worse by not fixing the root of the problem (the bed).

I went to four sessions of physical therapy. The therapist eventually said that it is my bed causing 80% of my pain. She documented it and recommended that I have a new bed. I faxed it away to Peace Corps. When I checked with [A] on this, [they] said [they] had not yet seen the document, and would have to look in my file. (To this day, [A] has still not responded to the letter.)

So, here I am 10 months later, still having pretty bad back pain. In counting up the amount of money PC has spent on the care of my condition, it has far exceeded the amount it would have taken to purchase a quality mattress (not even box spring). A bit of preventative care would have taken my pain and made it a non-issue. Instead I will likely have this issue for the rest of my life.

I am working up the nerve to start dealing with the issue again. After December holidays, I will be following up with the director and [A]'s direct bosses. Time will only tell if this saga is to continue.

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