Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Some very interesting developments and some sadness

Indeed, today was sad.
the weather, the first day indicating winter had arrived went a long way to bring despondency.

but also a long journey from one hospital to another found me bursting into tears all over the place.

I arrived at the first hospital a day early.
the travelling was tiring, it was wet and forever long.
i burst into tears and again St. Vincents must have it written down - 'if a patient becomes upset, hand em water!'  it happened.  Again!

I find this disability and sickness thing all tedious, dispiriting and relentlessly unforgiving.

down in the coffee shop with my cardiac monitor.  they were so nice up at that unit that a monitor was found for me to go home with.

i saw my neurologist out of the corner of my eye.
he looked very stylish with two rather stylish people, especially a woman in a wrapped headscarf i found very classy indeed.

he saw me as we met eye.
he came over and was so kind, but sean is always kind.
he asked me a few questions and of course, this was the second bout of tears as i expressed to him that things were becoming bad for my twin and i, sad and bad.
we were unwell, unsupported and disappointed with our choice of our forever town, greystones.

More than disappointed.

ON my long journey to the next hospital i was listening intently to the radio.
i like doing that and its catch up time away from personal troubles a plenty.

but there was more trouble there too as  emily logan reported at a gathering what she had found in a case presented to the children's ombudsman.

It was a tragic and case of severe sexual abuse of an 11yr old and how she was left too long before help and therapy was offered.
as i listened to the travesty that unfolded all was too familiar and raw.
what transpired just beggared belief and actually echoed in great detail what Ms. Emily O'Reilly the ombudsman had recounted in her recent departure interview.
she too was disappointed.
disappointed in her failure to develop an adult relationship with the HSE.

The HSE should realise that its made of human beings but what has gone wrong?
most within the HSE i have found engaging and kind, so what actually happens within the structure.  At the level of power that seems to actually reverse the kindness some see at ground level.
No person in a professional capacity in health goes through university and training to turn nasty at the end of it.
but something does happen within the ranks.

We speak of it collectively.
As in this particular case the mother of the child says she can never ever hope to trust the HSE again to care for her child, who will be turning 18yrs of age shortly.
Never hopeful, now,  that the person so violated will, after Emily Logan's decision was read, be treated well and with proper care.

this speaks volumnes for small mindedness.
that if you take a case to the Ombudsman in a 'modern society' Enda is so proud of, you can expect a backlash.

this is not a democratic response to a democratic process.
to have an Ombudsman's office is about as democratic as it can get.
Most societies have one to be independent and transparent and can and does give a judgement based on honesty and integrity.
but that being the case, we then have this judgement used, effectively against the person who has taken the case.

this is serious.
its very serious in a small country too.
the pool for caring staff and professionals is small.
so to have a body called the HSe to even be so badly thought of is a bit sad and more than a bit frigthening.

but some of the sadness lies in the professional manner of the personel.
This does seem to come down to the type of education, the type of systems of that education for which the training is based.
we see it is intrinsically flawed.

One incident found within this case is utterly astounding.
the social worker had rung up the school where this child was attending and told the school not to allow her back to school unless she sees a psychiatrist first!
On another occassion the social worker rang the family GP and requested some confidential information.  Of course the GP was wise and correct to reject this request out of hand.
rightly so.

We do have laws protecting people in this country.
this is good.

I find too that being general is a dangerous avenue to go down.
Just because a woman is angry and angry toward the HSE for not providing for a child threatened with a knife and raped,  doesn't actually make a woman 'difficult' and 'rude' as the HSE had recorded her to be.  Emily found her a well grounded lady.

where  have i heard these types of generalisations before and a complete lack of empathy?

its like saying someone raising their voice in anger and exhaustion is 'dangerous.'
I have heard this happen.

this is serious in my mind and in others.
its serious to jump to conclusions and serious to show no empathy to the situation at hand.

a woman who has given birth to a baby and nurtured that child well to the age of 11 and suddenly this child then is so violated it now seems apparent she, in this case,  will need specialist therapy for a long while to get over all this, should be angry.
11 years in the moulding of a mature adult with stability all undone with violence and rape, should sent a woman utterly wild.

there are times when you have to have 'empathy' with this person and in other situations where trauma occurs, empathy should prevail.

certainly understanding after the fact is important, before you go back to the office, lift that phone and make your pronouncement hastily.
You cannot just say something you think, you feel.
you work with facts, when a professional.
otherwise systems fail.

we should remember too when you are a social worker, occupational therapist, nurse, physiotherapist, you are dealing with fragile minds and bodies because these are the disciplines of health.
when we are dealing with the health of anyone we have to remember we are dealing with a human being just like ourselves.

I treasure the times i was professional in my Arts & Empowerment classes with the elderly, treasure the times i was sensitive to the blind elderly who held gently my maggie mai in their laps.
i treated everyone i dealt with as if so so precious i could not do any harm and never wanted to.
when i taught art to the disability groups i tried to instill in them confidence and hope and to nurture a love of art.
and when i taught the small children, i was trying to do my bit in education so that they would grow strong.
When i was visiting the elderly in the hospitals, close to death i willed myself to continue the bus trips to them, because to let a lady down with so little left in life would be awful.

I had one such lady who was in her eighties and anorexic.
she was like a little bird in the bed.
she never sat up for i never saw her do this.
she kept saying she needed new glasses.
whether she did or not, the fact that on every visit i made she complained she did so.
i heard that this wasn't unfamiliar.
so i asked, why not get her these glasses?
it doesn't really matter if you or i say well, she never sits up, never reads so why should she need them.
she requested them, relentlessly.
for a dying woman who had struggled all her life, what is a last wish about then?
is it about whether its a useful piece of eye equipment or irrelevant?  to us.
it was to her and thats all that mattered.

i also remember that taking the elderly out was important.
we have some dreadful nursing homes, but in the 70's all types of institutions were dreadful, i had been in a few to realise this.
but even if i was utterly livid to discover that all the way to the train station in the car of another volunteer i never knew something i was soon to discover.
a day out with elderly men and women i discovered that i had sat in a car seat where a man had soiled himself.
and when i got up my rear end wasn't pretty.
i had to travel on a train all the way home in this state.
i was fuming, embarrassed, livid etc.
but i see the funny side now and human beings do these things, more so at the end of their lives.

I think after to day i realised one thing.
its everything actually.
just  to be with a person for a little while in spirit and kind, and to bond with the feelings and care worn and weary, the abused, the violated and the sad, sick and disabled.
its about caring enough to give someone your last rolo.
the HSE is not made up of demons entirely.
there is the odd one or two where power has gone berserk in their heads, but i have met some fantastic warm HSE workers in all disciplines.
so i have yet to understand how it can go so pear shaped for some individuals who have recourse to be cared for by them!

the body people involved,that is the cared for, is not small either.
its a significant amount of people being injured by the HSE in one way or the other.

I think its time that the HSE receives the curative response and drive that is being driven now relentlessly to improve the economy of this country.  we may turn out to be viable in the markets but stinking in the stalls.

oh and finally i heard another piece of information on the radio.
stats this time.
we are the 13th best countries to live in out of 63 well that isn't TOO bad i guess, but i have not an iota of an idea how we managed to fare so well, actually.
the journey from beginning to end belied a very different story.
its not all gambling lambs and green fields methinks. Often.

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