Monthly Archives: February 2017

Well behaved women rarely make history

Well behaved women rarely make history

This bracelet from BE Bangled  is special because it defines the time recently when my husband was ill. A dispute arose about procedures of admission to a private hospital. Both the GP and ambos were adamant we had to go via the public emergency system as it was an emergency scenario.

I remembered reading that there was a capacity to transfer directly to a specific private hospital if certain specifications were met.  My partner’s specialist is linked to the cardio- vascular unit at the private hospital where he had previously been an inpatient. I argued that the delay in going via the public system was detrimental but I was so stressed I could not remember the details.

I was argued down by both the GP and the ambos. I was frightened, stressed and my agitation levels were rising. I knew I was getting to the point where my behaviour would be deemed inappropriate. I acquiesced because I knew if I didn’t I would be requested to leave the clinic.

It turns out I was correct and in this particular circumstances there was an opportunity for direct emergency admission to the private hospital that also has a Cardiac Cath lab.

The five-hour delay in admission via the public hospital system resulted in additional medical issues that should have been avoided.

There is also the issue that I was in no fit state to be driving a vehicle and ambulance chasing from one hospital to another and given the parking situation at and distance travelled to the public hospital. I hate to think what my blood pressure was like as I am hypertensive at the best of times. In fairness, I was asked if I would like to travel in the ambulance. I declined due to dubious public transport availability and  I did not know how long my car could be left at the car park. The distances involved between home – clinic – hospital A – hospital B -clinic – home, involved a round trip of approx 150kms.

When the situation had calmed down and I had time I checked the private hospital’s web-site. The web-site confirmed my information additionally, the information was verified with the hospital.

The Clinic and Ambos were unaware of this emergency admission plan for cardiac patients. I explained my concerns about the lack of knowledge to the Cardiac Care Unit and it was evident their education program had not been as effective as it could have been.

The result being the hospital contacted the clinic and spoke directly to the Nurse Manager and provided full details and have also contacted the ambulance service.  They are now revisiting their educational strategy.

I am eternally grateful to the clinic, doctors, nurses and ambulance officers involved in my partner’s care. They focussed on him, they were compassionate and caring and did their very best to optimise treatment on the day.  They undoubtedly saved my partner’s life.

However, the five-hour delay in admittance to the private hospital was questionable. It would have taken one phone call to confirm the information I was providing.

This delay should not have occurred. It resulted in an unnecessary admittance to an already overstretched public hospital system and the result the unavailability for five hours of an emergency hospital bed and an unnecessary patient transfer.

I do understand public hospitals do a great job and are under the pump financially and working against physically overwhelming odds. This is why we choose to pay private health insurance, something we cannot really afford. But, because of situations such as these, we believe it to be necessary. Specific inaction by medical staff resulted in a situation occurring that should not have occurred and a medical event that should not have happened. A problem overlooked due to lack of resources or experience.  A situation that was detrimental to my partner’s well-being and impacted on recovery times.

I now carry a print-out with me of this information for my own peace of mind. If as result of this experience the next person who meets the criteria is not shunted around the system and is effectively transferred to the appropriate hospital, it was worth not being as well behaved as I should have been and perhaps I will have rewritten history.




Stepping from the jeep my foot touches the dry dusty red earth. I feel a tingle all through my body. I have arrived.

We gather in a loose group, some are in tears, some laugh and chatter, others are in shock just standing looking everywhere, but nowhere.

I want to shout my joy but I can’t, my tongue has been cut out as a warning to others.  Tears track through the furrows of my face and disappear into the parched earth leaving no sign of my pain and joy.

The noise is overpowering, the light is strong and bright, it hurts my eyes. There are colours and shapes all around like the flittering of brightly coloured birds. I am the only silent one. I am the only one alone.

I feel a tug at my elbow and turn. There he stands, a boy child with dusty toes and stained jeans, and a t-shirt proclaiming I love dinosaurs.  His hair is dark and curly, he has sparkling blue eyes, as blue as the irises I grew in my garden. He looks at me, not through me, but at me.  No one has looked at me for a long time.

He holds out his hand. He is the same age my boy would be.

‘My name is James, who are you? Where have you come from?  Why are you crying? You are welcome here. Why do you wear a long dress? It is too hot for that.’

The words roll out in a rush and his face breaks into a cheeky smile.

I take his hand and smile. I indicate I can’t speak. He seems to understand.  He holds tightly to my hand.muslim-girl-public-domain

‘Come and meet my mum.  Mum this is my friend. She can’t speak, but she has a lovely face. Well, what I can see of it.  Do you understand English?’

I nod.

‘Good.  Can you write in English?’

Smiling, I reach into my pocket and take out a pad and pen. I write slowly, my name is Jamila.

He takes the pad from me, jumping up and down with excitement he says,

‘I know what that means, it means beautiful, I learned some Arabic words in school.’

His mother hushes him and hugs me, holding me close. We move apart, separate.

‘I’m Lizzie, and you’ll be staying with us. Welcome to our home. Are you alone?’

I nod and write, where is home?

‘It’s about 300 clicks from here, a bit of a drive. I travelled all day to bring you home.’

I turn to pick up my one bag.  A dark cloud passes over the sun and the scene shifts. I am on the ground. I roll instinctively into a ball, there is a thud as the heavy boot connects with my shoulder.

I have been walking in my sleep and no-one has travelled to bring me home. I remain a prisoner with no name, only a number, behind the wire.


HOME was my entry for the Gary Crew Award 2016.  The theme was ‘travelling to bring you home”.  Congratulations to Wendy Holman on her winning piece. As the results have been announced I am now able to share this work with you.  All images are public domain.