This is not such a great month this month of July. Actually it started a month earlier with a nasty migraine that had me vomiting for 24 hours followed by the flu. I hope to look back in a month or two and be able to laugh at this month of illness.
Isn’t it ironic, that I spend my days reading and writing on the end of life experience. As I line up for a CT scan I recall the words that I have read on how people feel when they have to attend numerous scans for a definitive diagnosis. I am reminded of the fear that the machines can bring to the unexpected, the uninitiated person. While I am getting transfused with the radio opaque dye, I open my eyes to see the young, very young technician’s face filled with fear. I recognise that look, that wide eye opened look and the words, “are you okay” as she’s looking intensely at me in the face, making sure I wasn’t reacting. “I’m okay”, I reassure her with a nod trying not to move out of position. I was grateful for her concern and her consideration in reassuring me that allergic reactions are extremely rare. I was scared stiff by the thought that I might be allergic to the dye but I also new the consequences of not going through with the procedure. As, I felt and tasted the awful chemical float through my veins I was grateful that the young technician had previously explained that I would feel a surge in my groin as the dye went through my veins. Therefore, when this did happen I felt reassured that this was a normal consequence and just waited for it to subside. How thoughtful she was, without that simple knowledge I probably would have reacted so differently to that experience.
When I entered the facility I was flustered because I had left my purse at home and I wasn’t sure if I would be charged for the scan. I approached the counter and the young person without even looking at me, spoke to the bench. ‘ Okay she said, ‘ just give me your details, now go and wait’. I felt like screaming at her, look up here, I am a person. Please acknowledge me as such. To her, I am sure I was just another old person, white hair fumbling around looking for purses, another glitch in her day of endless days.
We are so fortunate to live in a country that offers the miracle of modern medicine with all that it entails for free. As, this is the first time I have been unwell to any extent, I was surprised that I spent the whole day getting this test and that and the cost to me was nothing on the day. I hope that it does stay this way in Australia, I know that we pay taxes to cover the costs and being a nurse I know how under supported the nursing profession is with dwindling experienced nurses on the wards but I hope that the we always have some form of Medicare in Australia and that access to services is an option that is available to all people.