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"Months of crippling pain endured as Sunshine Hospital sticks to its guidelines"

About: Sunshine Hospital

(as the patient),

I started having severe bleeding and uterine contractions whenever ovulation occurred. It was the worst pain of my life, akin to going through labour/childbirth, and it went on for ages. It was crippling, scary, ruining my life, recurrent, and the first time it happened it went on for A NUMBER OF DAYS (imagine being in labour that long, almost a week! ). I went to my local doctor, who sent me to a specialist, who I took weeks to get an appointment with, because my part of Melbourne is very, very short on specialists (back then, I actually thought that was a long wait! ). He thought it was possibly a uterine cyst, but given that my grandmother died young from uterine cancer, he wanted it checked out asap, with an operation to both investigate and remove it. (It was impossible to see exactly what it was in scans. )

I immediately sent off my referral to Sunshine Hospital, and waited...and waited...and waited. I contacted Sunshine Hospital to see when I would likely be seen for the operation and was informed that hospital guidelines meant they couldn't even LOOK at my referral letter until two months after I sent it in, and wouldn't assess the need or urgency of my case until then. After two months, they finally looked at the referral letter, classed me as a class A emergency (the most urgent) but even then it took two more months to be booked in for the operation - in other words, I waited four months in all from the time I asked them for the surgery. All the while, I was getting this horrible crippling uterine pain over and over (going into long and painful labour pains every three or four weeks is NOT something I would wish even on my worst enemy). I have an allergy to most painkillers too, so there was no relief for me there. It was truly awful. Every month, I knew I would soon ovulate and the pain would be back again - I lived in fear of it, and had to plan ahead for days of not being able to get out of bed and look after myself. I would only know an approximate time of when it would be due (I don't ovulate like clockwork) so I would have to make sure I was at home for about a week or more mid-cycle, because I couldn't be out when it hit - I couldn't move or walk with pain like that, and I would bleed profusely with it. And all the while, I was living in great fear in case it was cancer, and fretted I would die like my grandmother before me.

I finally got the surgery after waiting four months after seeing the specialist. They were nice at the hospital, though they seemed to forget to call my contact number and tell them to come and collect me, so I was still there waiting and woozy at closing time and didn't get to go home until evening, in peak hour traffic, which took double the time it should and I wanted to throw up the entire way home.

Luckily, I found out after the operation that I did not have cancer (though I was told I did have some pre-cancerous cell changes in the uterus so I'm not out of the woods for future problems), but I wish I hadn't had to wait so long and endure such awful pain to find out! If it had been cancer, I would have been in a lot of trouble after them letting it continue to grow for all those extra months.

One last sting in the tail: the hos I think the hospital gave me a big fat case of MRSA to take home with me. I am still trying to cure that. The antibiotics almost killed me, but they didn't kill the MRSA. I have spent about a thousand dollars on various treatments to try to get rid of it, both natural and prescribed, both oral and topical, but nothing has entirely worked yet. So I have a lovely lasting legacy of that.

And one more thing - every time I went to the hospital, the entrance was packed with smokers all puffing away. I am allergic to smoke, and it made me very ill - and one especially doesn't want to go into surgery feeling ill like that. I complained repeatedly, but it seemed like they did nothing. I think many of the smokers were hospital staff. Someone there actually scratched out the NO in the NO SMOKING sign outside the hospital, so it read SMOKING. I don't think you should allow smoking like that around sick people and newborns, especially when you're aware people are getting very ill from it. It was a violation of my rights as a disabled person (my allergy to smoking is that severe! ) and I don't feel my complaining about it was taken at all seriously. You'd think a hospital of all places would take it more seriously!

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