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.