Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My experience with the Northern Hospital, Epping Melbourne in 2004

My letter to the Northern Hospital  dated the 16th July 2004
                                                           To Whom It may Concern.
                                                               ‘Without Prejudice’

 I am writing this letter because on the 30th January 2004, I was unlucky enough to require your services.  I presented at the Emergency Room after having a 600kg horse collapse whilst I was standing beside her, My husband drove me to the ER at approx 8.30pm, I was triaged quickly and placed in a consulting room to wait for the doctor.

 I was kept waiting for several hours and when finally seen by a doctor the doctor was going to discharge me, because it appeared that I was not in pain, as long as I was immobile.  But as soon as any pressure was applied to my leg, I went through the roof.  The doctor still said (with out X-rays) that the leg was severely bruised and rest should take care of. 

As I am a fairly docile person and have a high tolerance to pain, I thought okay, he is the professional, and he has studied and should know best.  But my husband being a little fierier than me requested X-rays.  The doctor thought these were unnecessary, but decided to shut him up anyway.  X-rays were taken and low and behold I had a broken fibula!

 The doctor was amazed that I was in so little pain, but like I had said from the time that I presented to the triage nurse I have a HIGH pain threshold due to previous injuries that have been on going.

So after a while the leg was placed in plaster and I was told to present tomorrow for a ‘plaster check’. No X-rays were taken after the plaster had been set. 

I presented for the plaster check mid afternoon the following day and was told that the plaster needed to be reapplied as the ankle had been set in the incorrect position.

I endured this with some pain, but kept my mouth shut. At this stage I was feeling useless and depressed at the fact that I was unable to earn an income and that I would be relying on people for everything from getting around to even cooking and cleaning (by the way those people that I refer to were my husband and children, 7 and 12) because I have no family within a reasonable distance who are able to assist me.

I was told that within the week I would receive an appointment card in the mail to attend the plaster clinic with the time and day on it. By the following Wednesday the swelling on my leg had reduced and I was able to get my fingertips to my ankle inside the plaster cast. The cast was offering NO support what so ever.

I presented back to the Northern to get someone to look at the plaster and replace it. I would have thought that this would have been a given, considering that I had a broken bone and the leg had not been in plaster for the 6 weeks that I thought was the norm for a broken bone. I presented at the Triage window again and requested that someone needs to look at the plaster as I believe that it is wrong and needs to be replaced. Considering I was in considerable pain and had been for a period of a week by this time, I was feeling useless, depressed and close to tears most of the time. When the triage nurse saw the plaster I believe that she agreed with me and sent me next door to the clinic within the ER.

I waited there for hours, and by this time I was crying because my leg was sore and I felt as though no one believed me.  Finally a person (a nurse)  I believe came to me, looked at the plaster and said I don’t think we need to replace this, when is your appointment with the plaster clinic? I said what appointment, I have not received any notification and I have not even had the plaster on for 1 week. In the end I had to demand that the plaster be replaced through the Doctor. Who also asked me how I was coping. I was not coping. I was unable to feed my children I was unable to wash their clothes I was even unable to have a shower by myself. When I mentioned this to the doctor he found a social worker, who after asking if I lived with anyone, I said yes, my husband. Oh well he has to help you, we can’t

This was news to me, as he was trying to supervise apprentices and stop them from presenting to the Northern Hospital minus a finger or two. Sounds funny? Well stand in his shoes and see how funny Workcover think it is when you are charged with lack of supervision of an apprentice.

 At this same appointment I was presented with a card to see the Plaster clinic doctors the following week.

 Therefore I was sent home to fend for myself,  and try and feed two children and not kill myself getting up and down the front door step to tend the animals and the children. During this time, I was still in considerable pain, and my GP thinks I may have re-broken the leg at some stage when my left leg gave out, as it is prone to do, due to previous injuries, (Which I notified the Hospital about!)

 I presented at the Northern Hospital at the Plaster Clinic had an X-ray and was told it is okay to walk on!  Haha I could not weight bear let alone stand on it and walk.  I went to my GP, a person I am sure you are familiar with.  He took one look at X-ray and put me straight back in plaster.  This time the plaster was neat and reasonably comfortable.  I waited for a further 5 weeks and then the doctor took the plaster off and was happier with the result, but due to the two weeks, without adequate support, the healing process was very slow to start.

Because of this and the fact that the leg was still very painful, I requested a referral to a Specialist, I go to see the specialist In March, 3 months after the initial accident. He was surprised, but non-committal to the treatment that I had received from the Northern Hospital.

I am writing this letter for many reasons; one is to complain about the service and the additional cost that I now have to incur because of the inadequate care that I received under the umbrella of the Northern Hospital. I am sure that when I initially presented I was seen as a hypochondriac because I was not absolute agony, once I was immobile. I am sure that when I presented to the Northern Hospital on the third occasion I was just looking for attention and I am sure that when I tried to talk to the Doctor at the Plaster clinic he saw me as a malingerer.

I am none of the above and have never been. After being involved in a car accident whereby my vehicle was rear ended by a 12 tonne truck, and not having ONE day off. I know I am not. I am by no means rich in fact; some days my husband and children get a meal of potatoes only, because there is no other food in the house.  I am no entitled to any government assistance because my husband owns his own business and because I work a taxable income. I receive NO children support, No family and no income assistance and of course no rental assistance because we are struggling to pay off our own house.

Because of your treatment or lack of it. I am now faced with huge private medical bills and also the uncertainty that had I received appropriate timely treatment, I might already be walking normally on my leg, within the ‘normal’ six week period. I would not have lost as much income, because I would have been back at work already AND not spending time at Specialists along with the money for no reason. Because I am a contractor, I am not entitled to sick leave and was lucky that I did not lose my job. AT no point in time was ANY assistance offered to me. I get the feeling that because I was not ‘on the dole’ and I was not ‘single’ I was discriminated against.

I would like your comment on this letter as a matter of course, because I would like to see what your thoughts are.

A follow up letter from me to the Northern Hospital dated the 24th September 2004

‘Without Prejudice’

Mr xxxxxx
I have previously written to you on the 16th July 2004, regarding a problem that I have concerning the Northern Hospital, I have yet to receive a response other than ‘we have received your letter and are looking into the matter’ which was dated the 21st July 2004.
It is now 2 months since the original letter was received and I was wondering when I might receive a reply?
I have enclosed both letters for your perusal and thought you might like to comment on them.
Since that time, I am still under the care of a specialist, the swelling in my leg is still quite evident and the specialist says that it is not normal.  Tuesday the 21st September 2004 I tripped and managed to jar my leg again. This means that I missed another day of work due to the pain and I am now back on crutches.
Again I believe that had I received appropriate and correct treatment in the first place I would not be in this position.
I am still incurring specialist fees, I am still losing money due to the fact that I am sometimes unable to drive and consequently unable to attend work and this doesn’t take into account the fact that the house is a mess. Whilst we are on the topic of care or lack of, how many 7 year olds do you know that can make their own breakfast and clean up the mess afterwards? Because I have a little boy that has been forced to do this and that makes me very sad.
Should you require any further information please feel free to contact me 

I received a one paged letter, that said, sorry, we have implemented changes in the emergency department and something like this shouldn't happen again. Forget the fact I've paid $1000's if not $10,000's now in 2014, or forget the fact no-one wants to employ a 'cripple'........... Yup, forget about ALL that. As long as the hospital didn't receive any adverse media coverage.

Forget the fact I sat on an esky in the shower, for the time my leg was in plaster, forget the fact.............. Yeah, well, you know the story. You've read it.

Have any hospital horror stories? Let me know


Friday, January 10, 2014

Sri Lanka, Dilmah and a *Lucky* Winner

(Check out the photos at the bottom)
You know how you enter competitions and you never win?

Dilmah Tea Fields, adjacent to "Tea Trails"
 Well, I did!

It felt unreal, it was unbelievable, I mean who wins overseas trips? Not me, not you (it seems) but I won! It was via 3AW radio in Melbourne, a competition, not your regular ring in and win, but a
competition that actually required some thought, in 25 words or less, why I deserve to travel to Sri Lanka and see Dilmah's Operations. I thought about the entry for all of 2 minutes (I mean who honestly wins?)
My entry read:- I would love to win this for my darling husband of 25 years, every night I make him a tea and he loves it. He's never flown before and we have always talked about travelling, this would combine his love with a desire.
That was the winning entry. It's all true, and he loves tea.
As the dates approach I'm starting to get nervous, hubby is too. We don't even have passports, we've never flown anywhere before, let alone overseas! It's scary!
We organised the local chauffeured vehicle to the airport (and the return trip) and then really started to panic! It's REAL!
 We arrive at the airport early, and with Anne's (chauffeur) help find the right gate and we are away (well sort of!) Suddenly we are on the plane and the plane is taking off. It's real, we are seriously flying to Sri Lanka and going to see The Home of Tea.
 We change planes in Singapore, we almost missed the plane, Singapore's Changi Airport IS HUGE and 7hrs on a plane, I've stiffened up a bit and that slowed us down.
Water Monitor, Seen on the way to "Tea Trails"
Suddenly we are in Sri Lanka, people everywhere, but everyone is so friendly. We get through customs and are met by the Dilmah tour guide. Did I mention that telephone (or SIM card) salespeople are the same world-over? Yup they are!
One of the buildings in Colombo. Built in the 1800's
Several other Dilmah guests arrived on the same flight, we just didn't realise it at the time, we all piled on the bus and the fun began. The first stop was The Hilton in Colombo, we got there about 1am……. By 6am hubby and I were exploring the streets of Colombo. It was amazing, so much old world architecture, intermingled with lots of glass and cement. A city changing its skin like a chameleon. Tuk Tuks sharing the roads with 2013 Land Rovers! Beautiful and certainly a change from lil' ol' Melbourne.
Snake Charmer in Colombo.
We stayed in Colombo for 2 days, it felt like forever. We toured the Dilmah factory, it's a beautiful place, a place for the person, it's a family. Machines are present, but unlike Australia, people are the preferred method of getting things done. The love that is put into company of Dilmah, by the owners (Fernando Family) and the employees is a sight to behold.
Water Buffalo, as seen on the way to 'Tea Trails'

 The next stop was 'Tea Trails' a magical place, right in the middle of the tea fields, up in the hills. The mist in the morning and 4 poster beds of a night. An experience that should be on your bucket list!
Bridge over a river, notice the baggage being carried? Likely tea leaves
Tea Drying House
Steps at "Tea Trails"
 The rest of the tour were scheduled to visit the tea fields and drying houses, I opted out, as I know that yesterday I held up the tour group and knowing that the group would be going into the tea fields, it wouldn’t be fair to have me dragging them down. We had a wonderful day, being spoilt by the staff at Tea Trails and later in the afternoon we went for a walk in the village. I felt like the pied piper, with kids calling out in English and wanting to talk and then following us down the road. We caught a tuk tuk back (it was all uphill.) We stayed two nights here and it was a peaceful, quiet retreat.
Tea Fields, near 'Tea Trails"
Sunset over the Dam at 'Tea Trails'
 On the way to the next port of call, we stopped at the Temple of the Tooth. The Temple is a very special place, the age of and reverence within the Temple of the Tooth is sacred. It's so hard to explain. I was awe-struck. After our visit we proceeded to "Blue Water" (I think this was our favourite!) another 2 wonderful nights, another 2 wonderful days in heaven, smiling people both within and outside the resort. The weather was glorious, the views amazing.  The pool was the centre-piece of the resort (as it is with many). Early in the morning an elephant would be bought to the grounds and you could pay for a ride if you wanted (I wasn't game enough!) On the beach, the local fishermen would spend hours laying their nets and hauling them in. It was a sight to see. The food was amazing. You had spas at your fingertips, drinks from the poolside bar. You name it, I think everything was available, all you had to do was ask. We had a wonderful time outside the resort too. Took a tuk tuk and went shopping. We ended up in the Russian quarter. No longer were the signs in English, all Russian, felt very strange! Bought a beautiful dress 
Elephant rides at Blue Water
Fishermen at Blue Water
From Blue Water, we travelled to Uda Walawa and had lunch at Manduka. Manduka is a very special place, set up as an initiative of the Merrill J Fernando Centre, where women of the area can earn a wage, by throwing, baking and glazing pottery. It's amazing what can be done with so little. The next stop (again two nights) was Uda Walawe Grand Safari Lodge

Water Lily at Uda Walawa Grand safari Lodge
The Afternoon Rains at Uda Walawa Grand Safari Lodge
Rain Band coming in over the hills at Uda Walawa Many a cricket team has stayed here! A gorgeous place, squirrels literally on your doorstep and the  opportunity to go on safari just around the corner. While we were there - we visited the Elephant Transit Home, a very special place for young orphaned, mistreated and injured elephants. Perhaps have a look and make a donation. I know we did.
Orphaned elephant getting his daily feed of milk at the Elephant Transit Home
Elephant playing with water. Seen whilst on Safari
The next stop was Galle and a place called The Fortress. A truly beautiful place. Ravaged by the  2004 Tsunami, a full recovery has been made. The opulence of the surroundings is jaw dropping to say the least. Just around the corner (100m walk) you can see traditional pole fishermen, and a 20min drive in the other direction, you can see the Galle Fort, built in 1588 by the Portuguese followed by the Dutch with many different architectural styles clearly still visible today. Check out Wikipedia I was taken aback by the sheer thickness of the walls!
Night at 'The Fortress'
The Fortress was our last overnight stay in Sri Lanka, from Galle we proceeded to Colombo and checked into the Hilton again for a meal, to freshen up and then fly out at 1am.
Stall Holder
Our trip to Sri Lanka was a wonderful eye-opening visit. We saw very little of the civil war that ended in 2009, nor did we see much damage from the 2004 Tsunami. The people were so friendly and smiles everywhere. So polite and helpful. We were wandering around the local market at 6am the first morning we arrived and it was an amazing experience.
Temple in Colombo
Dilmah tea is not the traditional stodgy English hot tea you are used to, Dilmah tea can be served in many styles, from hot to cold and even infused in your food! Check out some of the Dilmah recipes here or create your own, perhaps you are a closet mixologist (bartender) or a secret chef! Why not tempt your tastebuds and find out!
We learnt so much about tea, about the Dilmah manufacturing processes and MORE importantly the Dilmah 'family'. Each and every employee is part of that family and it is they that brings to tea to you, for you to enjoy.

 Celebrating 25 years of Dilmah.
Tea made with Love, Care and a Commitment to Human Service
Thank-you to the Fernando Family and Dilmah staff, my husband and I had a once in a lifetime experience.

Squirrel, enjoying a nut. (Remember the Movie 'Up'?) Hubby and I couldn't get it out of our minds!

The tusked elephant (4%er) is approx. 45yo. We saw him on our early morning safari - and he wasn't moving for ANYONE!

Baby Elephant and sibling (cue the ooohhs!) - as seen on safari (another 4%er - Tusk)

Peacock in full show - as seen on safari

Boats in the Galle Harbour

Squirrel in silhouette

Pole Fisherman at Galle

Galle Market

Popular Form of Transport ;) (and good photo op!)

Railway crossing near 'The Fortress'

Railway Crossing Shed at same crossing

Temple of the Tooth. A wonderous place of beauty, age and reverence

'The Fortress' at night

Fisher monger on his motorbike weighing out fish in Galle

View from the Pool at 'The Fortress'
Bed made up at 'The Fortress'

Merril and Dilhan Fernando with Hubby and myself

Tea Lounge - coming to a location near you - look out for them.
Galle Fortress - A structure from the Spanish Period

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Favourite photos of the week in 2013

Taken by me for your enjoyment!

Cape Otway Lighthouse, Great Ocean Road - Taken 1st February 2013

Sunset from Cape Paton, Great Ocean Road, Taken 1st February 2013
Lightning, taken North of Melbourne, near Whittlesea, Victoria, Photo Taken 21st February 2013
Lightning, taken North of Melbourne, near Whittlesea, Victoria, Photo Taken 21 February 2012
Please do NOT copy any of the photos on this blog - if you would like to use any photos, please leave a comment with contact details, Photos will be supplied without watermark and at full size. All comments are moderated and photo requests won't be shown to the public. Thank-you

Please note that no photo has been photo-shopped or altered in anyway on this blog, cropped yes, photo-shopped/altered NO!

Enjoy all of natures beauty!

Please Feel free to follow the link to my Redbubble photos, available world-wide in many formats (Link Below)
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Friday, October 25, 2013

Small Businesses Self-Destruct

If I need milk or bread or get a sugar craving, I TRY and buy from small businesses, milkbars and the like. Without small businesses the big ones, charge whatever they want and corner the market.

Small businesses of the retail kind are dying, like moths to a flame. They are self-destructing.

The reasons for self-destruct vary, from limited opening hours, to dirtiness to (and the worst IMHO) overcharging OR in this mornings’ instance, charging without advertising a further $0.50 to use EFTPOS.

Doesn’t matter I paid the same price for the item as I would at a service station, they had the gall to charge $0.50 without ANY advertising, NOT written, NOT verbal.

I try and support small business, but how can I continue to do so, when businesses do this to you and me, the bread and butter of their business? Small business is not just about opening the doors and customers (suckers) walk in and pay elevated prices for the same thing, they can get elsewhere, it’s about a smile, not ripping your customers off and making sure the place is clean.

I’m calling out the milkbar in New Street, Reservoir, I shall never darken your doors again, I would rather travel a further 1km and buy from the milkbar in Yarra Avenue, East Reservoir, they smile, the place is clean AND lo and behold, I’m NOT penalised for using EFTPOS.

I know the rules were changed to allow you to recoup costs for the use of EFTPOS, but guess what? A smart business person would bury that cost in the product cost, NOT bury excess profit in the product cost AND THEN charge to use EFTPOS as well.

While I’m on a rant, people who have a minimum EFTPOS charge, you too are doing yourself out of business, most people have less than $30 in their pocket at any one time and this is reducing all the time.

Get with the times and learn what running a small business is all about.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Favourite photos of the week in 2013 (Special 5 part edition!)

Taken by me for your enjoyment!

I was lucky to catch the shoots below, all taken at dusk and in sequence. A heron landing and settling for the night, near Marengo at Apollo Bay. Taken on the 25th January 2013.

Please do NOT copy any of the photos on this blog - if you would like to use any photos, please leave a comment with contact details, Photos will be supplied without watermark and at full size. All comments are moderated and photo requests won't be shown to the public. Thank-you

Please note that no photo has been photo-shopped or altered in anyway on this blog, cropped yes, photo-shopped/altered NO!

Enjoy all of natures beauty!

Please Feel free to follow the link to my Redbubble photos, available world-wide in many formats (Link Below)
Buy my work