Sometimes once I have sent out the notifications of a new post being available here, I sit and watch the globe at the top of my page and I wonder what it is that has drawn readers from all over the world to come to my page and read the ramblings of a middle-aged woman in Glasgow. I am always amazed to see the flags of countries I have never heard off, just as I am on Twitter when I can’t even make sense of the profiles, but here are people who’s first language is clearly not English, still finding something in what I say so compelling that they are happy to spend times reading and translating my word and in the case of Twitter retweeting it, often translating it for those in their friends circle. I sit there watching flags appear and disappear, different places on different days, all leaving behind them a green dot, making their mark on my world forever. It is truly humbling, especially as I never managed to master even French with any kind of fluency, just the odd sentence and a collection of other words. I actually have a memory that I can’t be sure at all how old I was but I thought at the time that people who didn’t speak English, were just being silly, as obviously everyone thought in English, so they had to be translating those English thoughts into their countries language before speaking, but children do have strange thoughts. In the UK when I was a child it was only French, German and Latin that were taught in our schools, strangely I think I have just about as much Latin as I do French but it is my French that has been called on the most.
My first husband had had an accident and had slipped a disk in his back, he was in the Navy hospital on the base just down the road from where we lived. When I was visiting one day a young French boy had been brought in, he had been lifted off a yacht by helicopter and brought there for emergency treatment, I don’t remember now what was wrong with him, but I was shocked to find that not one member of staff could speak French. The boy was only about 13 and clearly on the scared side, his parents were 2 days sailing away and I don’t think I had ever seen someone so small looking so lost, just lying in a hospital bed. So I tried my school girl French and a smile appeared, at first I thought he might be laughing at me but he wasn’t, he answered my question and we stumbled along from there for about 10 minutes. To this day, I am still ashamed that in a small hospital with doctors, nurses, orderlies, and patients, that not one had enough French to just put him at his ease and show him that we in the UK aren’t heartless monsters from another planet.
I can’t imagine what it would be like being in hospital in another country unable to even speak to the doctors about what is wrong with you, especially for someone with a complex medical history like mine. It can be hard enough as it is to explain it to doctors in this country who haven’t had any dealings with MS, imagine trying to explain it to a doctor in the middle of Africa. One of the things that I always dread is having to see a doctor I have never seen before, it used to be because so many of them had never actually met anyone with the condition and they didn’t really understand it, now it is getting them to see past the MS and look for another reason for what is causing my problems. Last year when I was having so much trouble with my bowel, problems which by the way I still have and I am still dealing with, once they ran their tests and I didn’t fit their patterns, it was just put down to my MS. I don’t know why, but I still don’t believe it, yes some people do have issues with their bowels, but mine seems to effect my entire intestines and I can’t find anything that confirms that as MS. In some ways that is the biggest change for me as far as doctors goes, when I didn’t have a diagnosis they simply said there was nothing wrong with me, now they just say it’s all part of your MS. I am actually convinced that anyone with a chronic condition could actually be seriously ill with something else and the doctor will ignore it, just putting it down to their existing condition.
When you have spent as many years as I did fighting for a diagnosis and on the way also being the victim of a series of medical mistakes, well you can’t help but doubt the knowledge and skills that they have. When my son Jeffery was born with Spina Bifida, they not only missed his condition throughout my 9 months of pregnancy but even on the day he was born they said he was a small breached baby, 11 lbs 2 oz and head first, proved them wrong. Then when my son Christopher was born, I had a Caesarean and they managed to leave part of the placenta behind, resulting in my hemorrhaging several weeks later and emergency surgery. When I first moved to Glasgow I fell down several steps and years later what was treated as torn tendons proved to be a broken ankle that healed badly. These are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head, add in the mess of diagnosis for MS and they are enough for me to always judge doctors harshly and question everything they tell me. On the other hand, though, I don’t envy their jobs at all, the human body isn’t straight forward and with so many things that could possibly go wrong, it is amazing that they don’t get more wrong more often. I know with my history that some people would have sued the doctors responsible, it’s not in my nature to do so as money couldn’t rectify any of it, I just hope that those doctors responsible, learned from what happened with me and they don’t do it again.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 17/04/12 – spontaneously waiting
This is the second blog I have written today. The first I deleted as I just wasn’t happy with it. I do that occasionally and thanks to my wonderful memory it doesn’t bother me that I have destroyed my words, I know what the subject was but I can’t remember one sentence of it. Sometimes it is actually a blessing. lol
I’m waiting for Teressa to call me on Skype as she has another interview for a job in London this morning. I really hope that if it is the job that is right for her that she gets it. It’s strange to think that she has spent the majority of her life abroad. London is still a long way for here but at least she would be in this country and…..