Friday, July 23, 2010
For the book launch the person helping me get publicity has asked that I put together a montage of photos showing Don participating in life - I know why - because for you and me this wouldn't be needed but there are different rules for those with disability. If they are seen "participating" or having a social life that looks better when you are trying to show their worth. its wrong and is a double standard but I am practical enough to know how the world works - Whatever it takes to get the story out there I will do it and I know with Don's blessing. I have five huge ring binders full of letters he and I wrote to pollies and papers on every issue of social justice just about. He would strap a bit of dowelling stick to his hand and type with that one letter a time - his output was nothing short of incredible.
And then I found in one book a couple of "protest" photos on an issue we were involved in from 1991 till 2004 when we finally got our hospital back in public hands again. It was a hell of a fight staged by a group of people mainly the chronically ill, pensioners and those with or related to disability. Our Premier was going to privatise every single NSW public hospital - a disaster for NSW health care for those with no private insurance - the battle we put up in Port Macquarie which nearly saw me jailed, and had threats made to the main members of the group of which Don was the secretary and publicity officer...still have me shaking my head -
then to think he did all that over those years, and then it was the bloody public hospital system in NSW which caused his death - funny that. We also had a lot of fun outwitting the powers that were (and are no more)
The photos basically speak for themselves
I am in the straw hat with the black dress here second photo
Here we are surrounding the health minister's car with Don parked in front as he always did - he had to talk with us then although these days I think they might bump you over so paranoid have they become - a motley lot we were - I am in the green vest and dress
These were taken on "The day of Mourning" which we designated when the hospital closed down. Our youngest was born in there...we all clobbered up with black armbands and some wore funeral clothes - Don is here with his elder sister Judy - sadly she died in 1998 . She was good fun and game for anything.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I scanned in an old album of photos taken in about 1983/84 just after Don came out of the Spinal Unit. Melissa and Alison were 7 and 4 and the whole family had gone through huge upheaval - not only all being split up for a while but having to give up our rented home after the accident and basically having to depend on a friend or two for somewhere to sleep till we got a place in Sydney near the hospital -
During all of this which went on fro 7 months i don't remember these kids of ours ever complaining about anything they had to do for me, for their dad or just to make things work and be easier...
after we came out of the hospital - the Housing Commission found us a small place Don could use - it was basic but we were really glad to be all together.
I remember from that time crowns of little girls sitting about playing, pushing prams dressing up...and in the middle Don became I guess a "safe" male - so our place became a centre.
Alison (right) still has Toby the bear - I bought him for her, second hand when she was sick with Pneumonia at 2...and he has pride of place in her bedroom now she is 32.
The bear kept them apart at night, as Melissa was a leg thrower and slept wildly..Not too many kids have a queen sized water bed - was our old bed but was unsuitable after Don was injured - so this bed took up most of the little room they shared...
Don and Alison - what can I say? Have you ever seen a kid look so comfortable. In the afternoons I would get him get out of the wheelchair, so he could lay back because the first chair was really uncomfortable - he came home with a manual chair which he couldn't push - don't get me started on the money they cost us with their stupidity down at the Spinal unit...later and many thousands of dollars later we got an electric chair...
The kids were great - if we had to go somewhere, even as young as they were they got in there and helped...and because they did it was fun, rather than "hands Off" there were some really funny things that happened that most people could never imagine - and these photos are a treasure.
Melissa, Don and Alison -
It got pretty cold in that house and at that stage we hadn't graduated to much heating - we did have to later on, but a lot of blankets and scarves helped...
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Thanks to the Nationals NSW Leader Mr Andrew Stoner I have been able to set the date and time for the launch of my book "Without Due Care - An Australian Hospital Tragedy". It will be held at 11am on Wednesday October 20th, in the Waratah Room of NSW Parliament House. It would have cost me a fortune to hire a room suitable somewhere central in Sydney, but because Andrew Stoner has helped me all along and knows the issues I will be able to use this room free of charge and it is right in the heart of Sydney.
I will have this photo of Don on the cover.
I am only going to do one more sweep over the book just in case there is one typo i have missed, I think I have had to go over it too many times - and had no idea what i was taking on when I started. Every time I have had to re read it...I have felt so much sorrow that it has almost brought me undone. I will never read it again after this, but it needs to be read by health care providers, politicians and the general public so as to be prepared and to be able to protect themselves,
The launch will be held on the very same week that Dr Graeme reeves goes to trial in Sydney. He is the doctor who mutilated many women mainly in Bega but in other areas and the authorities and doctors know but would not act for such a long time.
The other doctor who is now in Jail was Patel and I wrote this to the local paper after that happened. The stats I mention are horrific as Australia in 1995 only had about 21million people so it is a very high death rate.
Now that Mr Patel (hopefully no longer Dr Patel) has been convicted of killing three people and injuring one other we in NSW await a similar out come for Graeme Reeves, known as the Butcher of Bega. Sadly I believe along with many others that these two doctors are only the tip of the iceberg. According to the Australian Parliament, June 1995 and published by the Medical Error Action Group “Doctors report medical mistakes kill 18,000 Australians, at least, and harm 330,000 every year and this is just a minimum number!”
Our experience with the medical system which saw my husband Don die from “Treatment” (on the revised death certificate), had him being treated by the very best of doctors and by some of the very worst. The very best doctors carry the rest, and sadly cover up for them. What was done to my husband was so horrific that I have spent the past three years documenting it in a book to be released in September this year which is called “Without Due Care”. He had no voice after his lungs were destroyed and he was left on a ventilator for five weeks so like most relatives his family are the only voice he has as the justice system is about useless except in very rare cases.
In Don’s case no one was ever held accountable. This is the case with most of the thousands who die unnecessarily because of overworked medical staff, careless medical staff and downright butchery by others such as Patel.
In NSW the Health Care Complaints Commission bends over backwards to exonerate bad doctors and only when they are forced kicking and screaming will they act. This was my experience and the experience of too many who are worn down by the complaints process. It is this useless complaints process which enables bad doctors and medical staff to continue without correction.
Mr Patel should have been sentenced to life in prison, maybe the real justice will come for him and for all the others who have killed and injured without remorse, in the great hereafter."
In response a young woman wrote a follow up letter which I will print in here once its been published but it is hiorrible and that doctor is still practicing locally - and the authorities all know about him. This is the problem.Anyway its not all gloom and doom - I ahve had so much good fortune in this process and good people seem to have aligned themselves seemingly out of the blue, such as the editor, now the publicity person who also lost her dad due to misdiagnoses - and just when i felt my back was up against the wall and didn't know where to turn - something came along.
Its a beautiful cool sunny day here today - and I am out of here - will do a catch up later on when there is no sun.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Seventeen years ago my lovely mum aged 66 had a massive heart attack and died exactly how she was worried might happen - alone - she was not found for two and a half days after frantic phone calls from my sister Joan and I resulted in our calling the police to go around.
She had been staying at another sister's house while they were away in Queensland hundreds of miles away - Normally mum lived in the same street as we did and I would check on her and visit her every day - not out of duty but because she was great fun to be with.
She had cardiomyopathy and it was on the cards that she would die like she did - but I always thought I would be with her...or at least be there soon after...
I have been blessed by God with the people I hold close Mum was the best and funniest mother i could have ever had...
and its also Don's 60th Birthday today - I have blown up some balloons, and will light the candles tonight - just a bit of a tradition on special days we have in our family.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
When Alison became ill in 2002, Don gave it to her - she always seemed to be so cold and we were not sure she would survive - I replaced his favourite blanket with a soft blue one which he used daily from then on...
These two have been through a lot and deserve every bit of happiness that might come their way. When they were only little kids - (they were 7 and 4 when Don had his accident) if I was needing something for Don I can not once recall them ever grumbling about doing stuff that other kids wouldn't even dream possible.
There was a time when I was stuck in bed for a month - I had badly injured my back and the doctor said a month in bed at home or a month in hospital - A disc was pressing on the spinal cord - Melissa was about 12 and Ali 9 - and between them and Don's orgainsing them we managed. We had to hire someone to take care of Don during the days when the girls were at school - and to get him to bed - but they were amazing. We had some very "interesting" meals... and there were some very funny things that happened but we got through.
It never occurred to us to ask our extended family for help because we had become a very tight little unit - and still
I just wish we all lived closer - its always too long between getting together -
We went out to the best Mexican food I have ever tasted... and Melissa was very proud of this second hand coat she bought from the Chapel St Bazaar - its an amazing place as all you melbournites would know - it just goes on forever and its like stepping back into the 1950's - 70's... The girls were in their element -
Melissa has always loved the clothes from the 1950's and there is not a thing written about Marilyn Munroe she doesn't know - her book shelves are filled with biographies of Bette Davis, Jayne Mansfield and the like - don't know where she came from but it was in her even as a small child -
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Just got home from Melbourne where the three of us got together for the best time in ages - and we managed all three of us to squeeze ourselves into one of those photo booths...
and a good time was had by all....
lots of photos to come