Difficult days at our national hospitals is a reality for most of us who have no medical aid. I have recently been journaling about my close relative’s journey with cancer. Please note, my thoughts and opinions are mine and the experiences are real. I am honoured and privileged to share this journey with him as challenging and painful as it may be at times.
So the situation is; he needs to be re-admitted to Helen Joseph Hospital. With all the necessary administration and paperwork, it has literally taken us a full day. It is 5.30pm and we are sitting with him in the waiting area of ward 17. It’s been a long day, but we are at ease as we have the company of 3 more women also awaiting for available beds. They too are waiting since 7am and are complaining that they have not had anything to eat as yet.
Finally a bed is available…..he settles into his room, clean sheets this time tick, no pillows and no blankets, but it’s what we pre-empted and brought our own. No dinner, as they not catering “Halaal.” Again we had a packed dinner for him so all prepared. In the days to follow, I have put our family and friends on rotation to provide food to him.
As we visit daily I must say it has been welcoming to the other patients in his ward as they all get to share in on his meals. This ward was not crowded and had 4 beds in the ward. We receive a call in the morning as he needs us to urgently assist with more paperwork. The new nurses on duty claims they do not have his admission documents. So all the waiting yesterday? This means he has to leave his bed, down the lifts from 6 floors with his catheter and drip to stand in a queue on the ground floor to sort out his own admission papers. The nurses have made it clear in no uncertain terms that this is priority if he is to stay admitted. In his weak state, off he goes and 2 hours later he is back more irritated than ever. No rest for the sick.
Noise is prevalent down the wards as you constantly hear the chit chatter from nurses, equipment and the to and fro from doctors, students and visitors. Unfortunately, he has to wait for stock for the necessary tests to be done. In the meanwhile, he will be doing his scan/ X- Ray and so he gets transported to a nearby hospital in an ambulance to Rahima Moosa Hospital. Scan done tick.
No hot water is available for bath time and the patients are given a kettle so they may have a ‘splash” bath with warm water. Day 3 and the halaal food has finally been ordered and supplied by Gift of the Givers.
We now await for further testing and hopefully can receive confirmation on his staging and size of tumour on Day 7.
Written by Rayana Edwards