For all my efforts to obtain clarity of health, the medical system is like a maze that leads to another puzzle, going deeper into the ailment that called for attention.

Gone are the days when you could go to the doctor and get help- one place, one solution.

Now we go to the doctor to get a ‘referral’, to a ‘specialist’.

In COVID the referral is emailed to the expert’s clinic and you must call to make an appointment. When you call of course it will take four weeks to get help, when the condition needs attention now.

Arriving on schedule via tele-health to the appointment the expert is not able to conclusively ascertain what the problem is because he can’t see the issue over the visual’s on the computer.

As the mother what would you know, even though you have articulated the problem in great detail. The doctor scoffs of embarrassment had by the patient. Mother is asked to take photos and to uploaded them to a ‘secured site’.

Also unhelpful, apparently.

The diagnosis is three pronged, so the condition is treated with a number of creams- let’s see which one works.

Surely the professional has seen this before, having treated the same condition multiple times? One might think?

In the meantime I’ve paid for a service that has given no relief.

Go back to Start.

The condition morphs into a new set of behaviours. I have not seen this before. I am concerned and I call the doctor. I am referred to a paediatrician. The referral is emailed to the chosen one based on two possibilities. I decide to call Monday and am surprised to receive a call Saturday.

Hello, I say, they have called the day after the referral. How efficient. They must have space to help.

“It’s odd that you are calling on a Saturday”, I say.

“Yes, we are open on a Saturday. We want to set up the appointment”.

“Great!” I say, “Thank you, that’s very helpful.”

Then I’m told that the next available is and there is a pause as the right appointment is sought through the system.

“April 2021…..

I don’t hear what I’m told after this, and I find a gap in the conversation to say:

“Thanks very much- I need help now, so I will not be using this referral.”

There is an apology and I express my concern for all the parents and children who need help now and have to wait five months to see said expert.

I have come to the conclusion that I am a specialist– I am a Mother- I know more than I give myself credit. A shout out to my Mother AND all Mother’s.

Looking back at my smaller sick self the medicines that built my immunity were:

*Salt wash for cuts

*Olive oil to soothe sunburn

*Whisky for sore throats and colds

and discarded shards of soap for constipation- use your imagination.

So I look deep into myself and ask, what is it that this situation needs? And who in my circle of connections can I call upon to help?

I now have a solution, having consulted a friend and it was free.

In fact there are a number of free supports available to us, we just aren’t aware of the them because the health system sets up this sense of elitism.

The perception that your problem is complicated and only a qualified person can help you.

I conclude life experience is necessary for a GP to fully assess what is needed. In this situation, I realised the GP was not the best person consult.

2 thoughts on “Medical Literacy

  1. Beautifully written Fortunata. And yes, those “old remedies” have stood the test of time for a very good reason. Sending love and blessings your way dear friend, and I look forward to catching up for a coffee again. xxx


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