1. Moorcroft

    Moorcroft Registered User

    Nov 4, 2015
    This is just a moan, not a criticism of the NHS. It's just life really.

    Since mum moved near me in May, I've been trying to get her healthcare needs met. On the positive side, it has been easier to do that here than when she was living in Sussex, where she her GPs found it easier to treat mum as a difficult patient than pay attention to her complex needs.

    But, that said, accessing the care mum needs is still an uphill struggle.

    For her double incontinence, we requested a referral in May, and we now have an appointment in late August, a wait of over three months, during which time we don't even get the pad service.

    For her prolapsed womb, we had a referral to a gyny, which unfortunately fell on the hottest day of the year. We eaited nearly 2 hours to be seen, then were told that we'd be seeing the registrar, because the consultant was so behind with his list. The registrar examined mum, then told us that she hadn't got a prolapsed womb at all.

    Which is really, really odd. Because, mum has had a prolapsed womb for at least 20 years, and been examined by numerous doctors, including a consultant, in that time. I'm no medic, but I've never heard of a prolapsed womb recovering spontaneously in a ninety year old woman who doesn't get any exercise.

    The reason I'd asked for a referral is that over the last few years mum has had her pessary ring removed and replaced very frequently, because she finds it uncomfortable in, then uncomfortable out. It may, or may not, be one of the causes of her incontinence, or the chronic pain she experiences. Her new GP was reluctant to make the referral before she examined mum, but having done so, she said the prolapse was very bad and did not hesitate to refer.

    So, now I'm waiting for the written report from the registrar, and then I'll discuss it with our GP. Unless the GP persuades me otherwise, I'll be asking her to examine mum again and for another referral to another gyny, and this time I'll insist that she is examined by a consultant.

    And now we are dealing with another problem. Mum has a bad ear infection.

    Mum has had a perforated left eardrum since she was a teenager. When she was in her twenties, she had an operation on the ear called a mastoidectomy. The ear cannot be syringed, and should be cleaned out annually using microsuction, by a skilled nurse or doctor.

    Thanks to a combination of the negligence of her last GP, and mum's own chronic lack of assertiveness, the cleaning has not taken place annually for the last fifteen years or so, and as a result she has had more than one infection.

    I should have ensured that mum got referred for ear cleaning when she registered at the surgery, but it never occurred to me, and now I'm kicking myself for it.

    So, now we're having to take mum for ear microsuction on a weekly basis until the infection has cleared up. The snag is that we are having to take her to Exeter, which is a two hour drive away, because our nearest hospital has no ENT consultants at the moment.

    It takes all day, with me and my husband going, because I still can't drive, and anyway it really needs two of us to help her get to the clinic, since the infection is badly affecting her balance.

    Mum is being very stoical about it, dear old thing. But, I and my husband are just frustrated and exhausted. We've had to spend far more time dealing with mum's needs in the last few weeks than we anticipated.
  2. nae sporran

    nae sporran Volunteer Host

    Oct 29, 2014
    My OH has diabetes and a few other health problems to go with her vascular dementia, so I now some of what you are struggling with Moorcroft. Bladder and bowel referral takes about three months here as well. For what it is worth pull ups work better fro urine incontinence and Dettol laundry disinfectant works wonders, though Tesco does their own brand a wee bit cheaper.

    All the best with your GP and hope your mum can get help soon.
  3. Risa

    Risa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2015
    That is weird about the prolapse disappearing :confused:, think I would want a second opinion as well. Just a thought but if your Mum is suffering chronic pain, has she been checked for interstitial cystitis? My Mum got that as a result of her prolapse and without meds, she could barely walk due to the pain. Hope your Mum gets better soon as you and your hubs must be so tired with all the long hospital trips :(
  4. reedysue

    reedysue Registered User

    Nov 4, 2014
    My mum was told that she had a prolapsed womb by several doctors but when she was seen by the gynecologist it turned out to be the wall of her vagina where the muscles had weakened and there was no treatment for it.
  5. Pinkys

    Pinkys Registered User

    Nov 13, 2014
    South of England
    My mum had that sort of problem and had a surgical repair, very late in life. quite helpful, but not perfect.

    it must be very wearing having to nag and demand proper investigation and care for a vulnerable person. Really hope it settles down soon for you all.
  6. Moorcroft

    Moorcroft Registered User

    Nov 4, 2015
    Thanks for your comments.

    The reason I'm persevering with this is because of the pattern of mum's treatment when she lived in Sussex.

    For at least the last ten years, probably nearer fifteen, her treatment by the GPs at her surgery followed a regular cycle. Mum would attend the clinic complaining of pain in her vagina, or pain on urination, or pain in her lower stomach, plus urinary incontinence.

    Doc A would treat her for cystitis. When that didn't work, Doc B would either remove her pessary ring if she had one fitted, or fit a pessary ring if she did not have one already. When that didn't work, Doc C would treat her for thrush (Seriously?). At that point mum would decide to just put up with the symptoms, and do so for a few weeks before going back to the surgery again, when the next-to-useless treatment cycle would start all over again.

    It was incredible to me that they never referred her to a specialist. I guess they were just hoping she'd solve the problem by dying.
  7. marsbar

    marsbar Registered User

    Aug 19, 2014
    #7 marsbar, Jul 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
    Lost in a sea of red tape and bureacracy

    Sorry, move this to a new post
  8. susy

    susy Registered User

    Jul 29, 2013
    North East
    Marsbar, if I were you I would start another thread about your issues. You will get a lot of help.
    By what you are saying your mum needs an urgent financial review. It's is her that pays/doesn't pay her care home fees based on her assets. If she has none then social services pay usually the chunk of the fee with a top being payable. Now this is where you need good advice from people who have experience here.
    Good luck xx
  9. Moorcroft

    Moorcroft Registered User

    Nov 4, 2015

    Mum has now gone to Exeter ENT Outpatients five weeks running for treatment of her ear infection, because there is no ENT department any longer at Barnstaple. It is a minimum of an hour and forty-five minutes journey each way, but we allow longer because of the risk of getting stuck behind agricultural machinery. Add another hour for toilet and refreshment breaks, plus the time we spend at the hospital, and a whole day is gone.

    There is no prospect of the weekly treatment ending any time soon. They have tried various options, but all of them do no more than keep the infection from getting worse. So, realistically, mum may need this treatment for months more yet, or even for the rest of her life.

    She finds the trips exhausting, but so do I! Since I don't drive, my husband is also giving up a day each week, which will become more difficult for him in the autumn, when he restarts his part time work as a uni lecturer. My brother has volunteered to do it on a couple of occasions, but he has twice as much driving to do, from his home to mum's, to Exeter, back to mum's and then back to his home again.

    So, I'll have to try the community bus service in September.

    It is nobody's fault that they can't recruit any ENT consultants for Barnstaple Hospital, but I am frustrated by Exeter Hospital's admin. Despite the fact that the clinical opinion is that she will need several more weeks treatment (as a minimum), they book each appointment one at a time. Yesterday, they were fully booked for a week's time, so they gave her an appointment for a fortnight. She must be seen in a week, but I was told to arrange that through our GP making an emergency referral to the ENT duty team. That is just crazy.

    I'm worried that when I ask our GP to make the referral, the hospital will not respond, and mum's infection which is only just controlled by weekly treatment, will get much worse, maybe with fatal consequences for her.

    I've made a complaint to PALS, and asked our GP to try to get mum's treatment transferred to a nearer hospital. It is crazy that mum is having to go to Exeter, when there is a nearer ENT clinic at Launceston.

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