Last week we had a little emergency that highlighted some issues with our preps. I received a call at work early in the morning from Kitty. Apparently my eldest son had stomach pains and the doctor believed it was my son’s appendix. The doctor recommended that my son attend the hospital immediately. To be honest, when Kitty told me this, I queried how urgent it could be if there was no ambulance… yet I told Kitty to come meet me on the way in and I would drive them to the Emergency department (which was where he was advised to attend). When I hung up the phone I wondered whether Kitty would remember to take an overnight bag for my son… yet I realised that it was a silly question… of course she would.
A little over an hour later Kitty called from the bottom of my building. Her mobile phone was unable to make calls (yet it could received them), and she needed to use my building phone to contact me. I rushed downstairs and, once in the car, I drove them to the hospital. Kitty revealed that she had forgotten the overnight bags in her haste to depart, and I also missed the turn off to the Emergency department (So I had to drop them off a block from the hospital while I found a long term parking spot).
After I parked (which took around 20 minutes to find… parking is terrible in Hobart) I rushed over to the hospital and found the Emergency department pretty crowded. Being at the hospital reminded me how much I hate it. Hobart’s hospital is so dated… their Private wing looks worse than the public wing in a Canberra hospital. Don’t get me started on their public wing… It is almost like an triage from a war zone. After I ensured Kitty had registered him with reception, I handed her my mobile so she had a means to call me if she needed to stay overnight. Then I almost had to run back to work to grab my gear then rush to my car to drive home. I needed to arrive home before school finished as my children would freak out if they couldn’t get into the house.
The drive home was extremely frustrating, with several road work sections slowing me down, as well as drivers who feel that 70kph an hour is the best speed to drive in while in a 100kph zone (they usually speed up when you try to overtake them). I arrived home minutes before the school bell and I was able to explain to my children the situation.
Later in the evening, Kitty called to say they were intending to operate on my son to remove his appendix… yet they were also unsure of what had caused his pain. I expressed my concern… how could they remove an organ (albeit, one which is not really required) if they didn’t know they needed to do it? Kitty didn’t know the answer, yet she was going to sit with my son and sleep in the chair next to his bed. The next morning they considered operating again, yet by lunch time they decided it wasn’t his appendix (they didn’t know what it was) and they send him home after lunch.
What did I learn from this?
Firstly, don’t trust medical opinions. These doctors were, apparently, willing to operate on my son to remove his appendix whilst they had no idea if it was the cause of the problems. I suspect they would have done it, expect our medical system is so appalling they couldn’t get him booked in for the operation until after his symptoms abated.
Secondly… don’t expect Kitty to remember to pack the overnight bag. I should have reminded her, yet I thought it was silly as I (wrongly) assumed she would know better. When you are in an urgent or unexpected situation it is hard to remember things. Normally she would have known to take the bag, yet with the doctor advising her to urgently take my son to Emergency… well, it would have un-nerved anyone. As someone who wasn’t feeling that stress I should have reminded her to take a bag incase he had to stay the night.
Thirdly… I need to introduce my two younger children to procedures incase Kitty or I are not home when they finish school. It never happens, yet it would be smart to prepare for such an event.
Finally, I really don’t like hospitals! I admit that my opinions of Hobart hospital are very biased. I just do not like being near them.