1600 kilometres later, the week is finally done, and my opinion on the public health system isn't any higher.
My boy and I went to Townsville on Monday, did a few jobs (picking up strange mechanical parts) some grocery shopping and then booked into a motel, got some room service and then went to the Fractures Clinic for his appointment at 1030 Tuesday morning. (how exciting, I managed to get a park with little effort which also wasn't a million miles away from the hospital!) Our appointment was only an hour late, which too was very exciting. There the exciting stuff ended. Review x-rays were done, and blind Freddie could tell his arm wasn't straight. So, can you come back on Thursday and we'll fix that. Can't do Wednesday, I asked? No, sorry. And you can't go home on Thursday afterwards, as he will be under general anaesthetic, you'll have to stay close to medical assistance just in case, and if they pin it, well he'll have to stay in overnight and maybe you can go home Friday.
Hmm. We went back to the car park, started the car, and with airconditioner running, made some phone calls and thought about things. I could go home straight away, spend a full day at home, or sit in Townsville for the rest of the week. I decided to go home, grabbing some groceries on the way to restock the pantry. We were home by dark Tuesday evening.
The Husband, in the midst of sending sale steers away (another story, which has a rather complicated twist involving a truck rollover on route to their destination, but thankfully for us financially they were already under the ownership of the buyers, although sad for the cattle that had to be put down, and the rest that may be wandering around the paddocks around Tambo somewhere!) said he would take us back down. And because he 1. likes to sleep in his own bed and 2. apparently has a liking for the wee hours, we left at stupid o'clock on Thursday morning.
We made it to Townsville with an hour to spare before Angus's 7am Thursday admission, so he was able to drink his apple juice (nil by mouth apart from clear fluids before 0630) and coffee and breakfast for us. And after seeing three or four different people ticking boxes on papers (and waiting, lucky I was prepared with cars, books and electronic equipment!) finally at 10am he was wheeled into theatre. He was a little nervous and excited, and the nurses were very good. I got to stay with him as they put him to sleep with gas (quite funny, he fought it a bit!) and then was sent back to the waiting room.
Three hours later (more waiting waiting, luck we had a couch to sit on, not hard chairs, Husband read the papers front to back and back again, before finally deciding he would go pick up more strange expensive mechanical parts) they finally called us into recovery where there was quite a sad little boy waking up.
He's not a boy that often gets truly, sadly upset (oh, there are often bawling tears, often caused by minor injury or slight by his sisters) but there were true tears and a declaration that his arm "hurted really bad". Once he was awake enough the nurses gave him som Nurofen, and once that kicked in, he sat up and was able to do something to distract himself (playing Cranky Chickens) he improved out of sight. More xrays (although none of this happened with any sort of alacrity) and finally we were declared fit to depart, at around 3pm. "come back next week" they said. We will see about that.
By this time the boy was skipping around like he had been fed red jelly beans all day (a side affect?! anyone else had this experience? or perhaps very refreshed from the deep sleep?!) so we went shopping for the promised cars (matchbox set) which he and his father took a deal of time deliberating over, and then, getting rather weary (well at least his father and I!) plonked ourselves into the motel.
Friday morning The Husband did a few more of those blokey jobs that seem to take a looooong time, we hit Bunny's (aka bunnings) and finished the grocery shopping I didn't get done earlier in the week, and we got home before dark Friday evening.
A very long week. Thank goodness for Grannies and SIL's for housing and taking the girls to school, it feels like I have been away from home all week.
A few things are bugging me though about the whole public system (I did ask about private, but it would have taken referrals, appointments and longer time frame) is:
1. lack of information from medical staff, the nurses know nothing really (apart from looking after him, which of course they did very well) and I didn't see the Dr that he was under AT ALL. He may be treated properly but I would really like to know what they did, and what the plan is. I do have a brain in my head and even though we were more or less forced to go down the public route, I would like to be able to communicate my thoughts or questions about my son's health care!
2. staff think nothing of ordering you back in a day or so (remembering its 400kms one way) and offer no alternative or flexibility.
We are so glad to be home, although woo boy! the change in temperature when we got out of the car at home was a shock! Back into trakky daks and coats, and lighting the fire (and keeping it going all day).
Right. back to the clothes line I go. Hooroo!