Sunday, March 19, 2017


Around forty years ago my life partner was gradually becoming paralyzed from the nipple line down with  total loss of feeling so advanced that medics could insert the needle used for creating nerve response on the skin into  her flesh and no pain sensation resulting. Numerous gods (Drs) assessed her condition as psychiatric and for treatment just go home and pull yourself together which surprisingly did nothing other than increase the feelings of helplessness and frustration.

Eventually, two years on, by means that were at that time nothing short of outrageous and with an appointment with the Neurologist some weeks away, we went to his 'rooms' where a receptionist asked if we had an appointment. My reply was to the point that Yes we did but by the time that date eventually came around the increasing rate of disability had me believing it would be of little use and politely asked if "Mr" Cunningham could spare five minutes at a break or between patients. her reply at around eleven AM was it would not happen. Being of a somewhat desperate and pigheaded disposition we just sat there.
Have no idea what "Mr" did for lunch but finally at 1705 hrs, he emerged from his inner sanctum, the receptionist having gone for the day and beckoned to me saying he would see me then. My somewhat ungracious reply was to the effect that there was nothing wrong with me but it would be great if he would see swmbo.
.Long story short within the hour swmbo was admitted to CHC public and following day had first a lumbar puncture then a cranial after which protocol prescribed 48 hrs bed rest. That disappeared and late morning we were on a scheduled domestic flight to Momona and the following day surgery to remove what turned out to be  benign tumor from the spinal cavity that had compressed the spinal cord as in the example of a hose with a car tire on concrete might restrict water flow. There was residual nerve damage that defied the magnificent recovery in regaining almost full restoration of function below the nipple line.
 Why all this, well in ignorance of the then medical terminology, 2017 had my youngest born c1966, felled by an epileptic seizure  in late January while helping her hubby to makeup  a spare bed for his Mothers upcoming 94th birthday. Went catatonic then onset fitting tested his first aid skills that were  rapidly and effectively employed.
ABC (airway breathing and circulation), call 111 had Pt in HB hospital with tests that established a squash ball size menengioma tumor between temple and Rt ear, six weeks later removed in Wellington Public, Ward seven south, a clearance from Lab with a benign result then staples removed and recovery almost complete.

Admittedly swmbo had no seizure to trigger response but the communication, prompt assessment and diagnosis between two in some ways similar incidents only separated by location and date,  revealed the Gulf of how far medical delivery has traveled.

This post was triggered in part by Homepaddock's Sunday open forum that featured a "bottle" of "Gratitude" as a lead in.
We now have two bottles and are  twice blessed.
In concurrence with The Veteran's post recently, when considering our size we do have a very good medical service that continues to make some awesome strides within the constraints of a small South Pacific Nation economy and a population that flirts with self harm in many guises on a daily basis.
As I warned Daughter, her scheduled surgery could have been postponed if a moron tried to self destruct leading to her appointment with surgery deemed of lesser importance than a badly damaged brain from any of many causes. To avoid such a scenario would require a vast over supply of facility that would be idle for much of the time.

Grateful thanks to the many, almost all unknown, who just do it, day in day out and we are overdosing on gratitude.


Anonymous said...

A good lesson on progress. My mate working in NZ (a recent Australian immigrant but here to stay) has a young son who was generally unwell and was promptly (over a couple of weeks) diagnosed with leukemia. The day they were called to see the specialist to be advised of the diagnosis was the day the complete family were flown to Christchurch in the air ambulance. They are now in Auckland for a bone marrow transplant. While they are not out of the woods (each development has been at the crappier end of the spectrum of possible outcomes) the prognosis is so much better than even a few years ago with a world wide donor list for bone marrow stem cells that allows genetic matching in no time at all. The system is never perfect and mistakes happen but there is no doubt about the dedication of the staff they have encountered. They are grateful beyond words.


paul scott said...

Yes, good to read the outcome for Dodger and Wife.
True stories.
I went into the Doctor, said > ‘I want a lot of Tramadol for my shagged back > he said “we don’t do Tramadol > “ I thought not, I’ll go to north Thailand to get it, see you in three months Doc > I did
He looked at me when I came back said 'you drink all the time, your liver will be shagged > I fell over, went to hospital > Professor Russell Scott came toward me, a small army of juniors in V formation behind him > he is on double shift 5am till 7pm > ‘Go to rehabilitation he said and walked on > ‘ that’s my brother he said to the juniors, he lives the life of O’Reilly and thinks he can drink a bottle of whisky each day.
I went to MRI scan > they said your liver is fine but we have to take your kidney out > they kept on nagging me till I agreed > but first rehab >
two days on valium at Kennedy unit Christchurch > Anglican Thorpe House social detox where I copy painted a water colour of Manet’s mistress, and no more whisky forever. I was riding my bike four days after the kidney came out.

Medico’s can still be aloof, [ as in Dodger’s testimony ] stare in to computers as in [ ] but our New Zealand system quietly saves a lot of us. . Thanks to the taxpayer. Not Southern Cross,.they are rotten, but its back up salary to the Medicos who work for the state and private.