An experience with the health system

As others have noted Gezza has some health challenges at present. And like others I wish him the best outcome and a speedy recovery. His absence here is noticed.

I don’t want to detract from that, but this post is about someone else’s experience with the health system – mine.

Our health system cops a lot of criticism, especially related to finances and costs, and it’s struggle to provide all the health care that everyone wants and needs.  But recent experience of mine is mostly positive.

I was last in hospital as a patient in the 1960s – until last night.

Yesterday afternoon I started to get lower abdominal pains, which got worse as the day wore on. By early evening they were quite bad. I couldn’t lie, sit or stand with any degree of comfort. So I had a trip to the Dunedin Emergency Department.

It was busy, with the waiting room fairly full. I was seen quickly by the triage nurse, who took details and gave me some painkillers, and then asked me to wait in the waiting room. This was the bad part of my experience, trying to stop being too uncomfortable in a basic sort of chair in a crowded room for two hours, with the only break being a trip to the toilet to vomit.

When at last I was called I got a cubicle bed, and from there the care I received was all good, very thorough. I was quickly given a diagnosis, kidney stones, which was a surprise because I hadn’t thought of that and Google didn’t suggest it when I searched lower abdominal pain. While it was very painful and uncomfortable it didn’t seem like too big a deal.

I had a bunch of tests, blood, urine, blood pressure etc, plus an ECT thrown in (standard if you’re over 50). Then an xray, which confirmed the likelihood of kidney stones. By now it was getting late, and they gave me a bed in a quiet corner so that I would be on hand for a CT scan in the morning.

Breakfast was fairly bland and standard but adequate – fruit and cereal, and toast that is never great when it’s been cooked an hour ago, but that’s what you get.

Then the CT scan, followed by normal sort of waiting for results – long enough to get lunch, which was edible but bland soup and a quite nice sandwich.

The scan confirmed there were a couple of kidney stones.

According to online searches 10-20% of men get kidney stones at some stage of their life, and half the rate for women. About half of those who get them don’t get them again.

I was given a prescription and was able to go home and let nature take it’s course, hopefully. It could take a few days, possible weeks depending on what you find online.

We have a very multicultural health system, with doctors and nurses of at least seven obvious ethnic origins. All were professional, helpful and friendly, I could quibble about a couple of things but overall the care was very good, better than expected – having a not too bad diagnosis helped of course.

This is why there wasn’t much posting this morning, I did a bit when awake after a 3 am observation. But regulars kept things ticking away via comments, thanks for that as per usual.

Apart from complimenting this part of our health system, this makes one ponder how quickly your life can change. I have been inconvenienced but otherwise got off quite lightly – this time.

I’m grateful for what I’ve got, still, including a fairly decent health system.

And I will adjust my lifestyle. There are plenty of hints online.

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14 Comments

  1. Ray

     /  9th May 2019

    Kidney stones are extremely painful, women report it is as bad as childbirth!
    I have had them a couple of times and like you Peter had excellent treatment.
    Apparently drinking plenty of water and jumping up and down can speed them through your system, haven’t had them since I read that advice and don’t really recommend it, Google it before you try it😉.
    All the best.

    Reply
  2. David

     /  9th May 2019

    There is a quicker cure and while odd is effective, pop across to the Gold Coast and ride a roller coaster. I heard this and with 2 Doctors in the family got a 2nd opinion and apparently it works, can work. I will provide links before my stalker comes along and tries to correct me with fake news.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45513012
    https://www.health.com/kidney-disease/roller-coaster-kidney-stones
    https://www.webmd.com/kidney-stones/news/20160928/kidney-stone-roller-coaster

    Good luck and hope you feel better soon. You too Gezza.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  9th May 2019

      Thanks David. I spent all day Tuesday lying in the ward prepped for my operation & an emergency case came in & my op got cancelled. So I’m back home waiting until next Tuesday when I’m first on the list. If it all goes well I should be home in a couple of days.

      Reply
      • David

         /  9th May 2019

        Thats rough Gezza

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  9th May 2019

          Not unusual. Happens to many in Welly & hospitals around the country every week. At least someone choppered in who needed saving urgently probably got saved David. The surgeons & theatre assistants had been on their feet all day from early morning & my surgeon came & apologised & said it wouldn’t be safe for them to proceed with a 2 hour op on me with a tired team at 3pm.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  9th May 2019

            Not enough operating theatres- its the bane of a brand new hospital which they dont allow for such ‘nice to haves’ – apparently its good for the doctors who were going to do your op to have nothing to do for a few hours and you take up a bed for half a day.
            In reality its the way the costs are done and DHBs keep on top of the, by restricting numbers of operating theaters. The cost of a cancelled operation is very low- using their financial accounting, the real costs are loaded onto the ones that are done.

            Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  9th May 2019

            I admire the surgeon who wasn’t willing to do a 2 hour op after a long complex one; better that than have an exhausted person take the risk.

            I don’t know exactly how long I was in theatre after being squashed on the road, but it was several hours as they put broken bones back together like a jigsaw puzzle and fitted them with titanium coats (how disappointing, these are not rainbow-like)

            Reply
      • You have my best wishes as well Gezza.

        Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  9th May 2019

      Our rough roads can do the trick too. A friend was diagnosed but the trip to hospital bounced them out. My ute is a particularly rough ride if needed.

      Reply
  3. All the best Pete. I pleased to hear our health system is doing ok.

    Reply
  4. NOEL

     /  9th May 2019

    On a recent tour a US physician wanted to hear my opinion of our Health system.
    Told him he had picked the wrong guy. Two failed surgeries with long term unexpected complications would suggest I might be bias.
    After an hour he appeared more convinced we have it right.
    I said I agreed but keep surgeons with their “Mr” title out of the equation.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  9th May 2019

      Why ? Surgeons earn the title of Mr (or Mrs) and it shows that they are on a higher level than a doctor.

      An American friend died of ovarian cancer, and their health system did nothing to ease the stress..

      Ours is flawed, but it’s still pretty good.

      Reply
  5. NOEL

     /  9th May 2019

    Geeza sympathise. Was all gowned up sitting in the wheelchair outside the surgery and they cancelled. Not enough theatre staff. Said they would notify when they had a new date. When they rang said can they delay as the problem appears to be resolving. Closed for seven years on it’s own accord.

    Reply
  6. Blazer

     /  9th May 2019

    if you are in a bad way do not go to A&E…call an ambulance…saloon passage into care ..cost $60.

    Reply

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