February 10, 2011

My Mum is Unwell - Medical Emergency

My mum has had lupus for several decades. That is a condition when the person's immune system attacks its own body. Mum has had problems with her kidneys and her liver, and she has developed arthritis. In the last six years her immune system has been attacking her stomach and created bleeding varicose veins in the wall of her stomach, for which she has to get laser surgery several times a year. Since last September she has had trouble keeping food down and even more recently, she has not been able to keep water down either.

Due to the inefficiencies of our hospital system, the letter to the surgeon in Brisbane was "lost" and so mum's case was ignored until just recently when she became so ill that she could barely stand. Her body hadn't been absorbing any nutrients for some time because she couldn't keep her food or water down.

So, all of a sudden last week, mum's case became a medical emergency and she was placed into her local hospital, ready to be flown down to Brisbane by the Flying Doctors for urgent attention. The "medical emergency" status according to the hospital, meant that mum had to wait three days before being flown down to Brisbane. She was then told she would have urgent surgery on Monday to determine what the problem was, but of course, the urgent surgery didn't take place until Tuesday and they were still unable to determine the cause of the problem.

It's now Thursday and mum has been waiting for a specialist who will hopefully be able to figure out what on earth is going on. Meantime, they have put a feeding tube into mum's stomach so that she is getting some nutrients as they try to build her back up again.

I guess one of the positives of this situation is that mum got to go in a Flying Doctor's plane!

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