It was 3am the next morning. My mum was stable, so I left the hospital. An hour later my mum had called me to come back. She was bawling in pain. This was when I broke down. Seeing my mum in the state she was – I just let it all out.  It was like the nurse was taking the opportunity to ignore my mum when I wasn’t there. Hearing my mum tell me that she had to get out of bed to ask for help, and was told: “someone will be with you in a minute,” and left to wait again, was devastating for me. My mum usually has a crisis in her joints, so to have this one in her chest, was new for her and even scarier for us both.

I asked another nurse for help. It was a nurse beneath the previous one but I didn’t care, I just wanted help for my mum. The previous nurse tried to override me and told the second nurse to return to what she was doing. But, she could see how volatile the situation was so she stayed.

“The notes show that I got the medication”, the male nurse said.

“I’m fully aware that you have covered yourself but this is my mum’s life!”

His response exposed that he had a problem with me challenging.

“What do you know about sickle cell?” he said.

Coming into A&E, fighting for the medication and oxygen and being confronted with a poor attitude to care was a horrible experience. I don’t believe that sickle cell is taken seriously enough. All together my mum was given liquid paracetamol, diamorphine, tramadol & erythromycin – she was on a lot of medication, yet she could still feel the pain. That’s how serious it was. My mum had more than enough to deal with.

Even though the doctor dictated what medication needed to be given, the nurse was not prompt with it. Pain relief needs to be on time to avoid continuous and sudden bouts of pain. When my mum was moved to a new ward at around 8am, things did improve. The nurses were on time with the medication which made the pain more manageable.

My mum was in a serious crisis and she was poorly cared for. Being on a high dosage of medication for 10 days shows that she needed immediate attention but she didn’t get it. Had she received it upon arrival the serious nature of this crisis could have been avoided. Time is of the essence. This is something so essential that needs to change now.

***

Thank you to Samantha and her daughter Leanne, for sharing their stories.

If you would like to volunteer the Sickle Cell Cause, please e-mail sicklecellcause@gmail.com

For more details about the support group, visit the website.

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