To say last year was a stressful year is an understatement on too many levels. Losing my wife to cancer, dealing with different trust complaints in relation to my late wife’s care and safety, dealing with the estate, and all the shit that happens around you while trying to hold it all together.
Whilst I won’t name the trust in this post I will describe the experience. For reasons unknown I visited the trust for something I don’t remember, and stopped for a latte. I was quite tearful and shaking somewhat when heading to the car to avoid having a full on grief attack in front café patrons. On heading to my car, one of the Occupation Therapists (OT) that was involved in my wife care saw me and came to talk to me. (She is one of the good people that actually helped), and after her assessment she said you’re not coping very well are you? I broke down a bit (since you have to put on a mask, since most people don’t want to see you sad) and said “Yes”, after calming me down somewhat, she said, I can arrange some complimentary therapy for you, I said thank you and was asked to wait for a phone call.
Shortly after I received a call from the trust where a kind lady organised six complementary therapy sessions and discussed a range of therapies, I didn’t know what to choose, so they suggested Indian Head Massage. The first appointment was set and I waited.
The first appoint and I was nervous, having arrived and checked in, a nurse ushered me to a room (which was dimly lit, scented candles burning and the gorgeous aroma of essential oils made for a calming environment), asked some questions about my health and how I was feeling etc, before starting to work on the Indian Head Massage.
In a short time the snotfest monster made his appearance and I was blubbing uncontrollably like a 3 year old who’d lost their teddy bear. I was told this was quite common, a box of tissues later, I headed home and promptly fell asleep in what would have been the only decent period of relaxed sleep I’d had for a very long time. I struggled more and more with sleep since sleeping on the hospital floor next to my dying wife 😢 the previous year.
The next appointment was a couple of days before the big meeting with the main trust we were to discuss the forty significant failings in safety and care of my late wife (long story and not for today as this is still ongoing). Whilst the trusts are unable to give me the one thing I truly want (my wife back) I can go for the next best thing which is to try and improve patient safety and care for current and future patients. We started the complaint together when it became apparent there were dangerous levels of care ongoing. We were not interested in a financial outcome, only that of patient safety, and that has been well documented throughout.
I arrived at the next meeting armed with a box of tissue (feeling guilty I’d used there posh ones last time), where the same therapist wasn’t the calming person she was at the last session. Apparently she had become aware of my complaint for another trust, and proceeded to assume I was a money grabbing bastard and explained in no uncertain terms how people like me make her sick and that she would be withdrawing the therapy unless I agreed to withdraw the complaint.
I was shocked and upset as I suffered a tirade of abuse from a health professional. I was lost, didn’t know what to do, the system had failed me so far in my grief journey so her, why should this be any different. I was asked to leave and I sat in my car in disbelief sobbing for 30 minutes or more until I could pull myself together to get home.
It’s taken all this time to raise a complaint with the trust, just because I’ve not been able to face or handle further complaints they take so much energy emotionally and physically and I was drained.
There gets to a point that you’ve been pursuing various complaints with healthcare trusts that you start to self doubt. A friend once said I have very high standards both in my work and at home and many can not achieve those standards, my doubt increases.
Anyway, I did it, submitted the complaint this year, apologising for the length of time and of course I wanted to thank them for the actual care they gave my wife (the only ones to get it right) and after all she is the most important person in all this. What I’m experiencing is probably nothing to what she faced dealing with cancer.
I received a phone call yesterday from the trust. Long story short, they upheld the complaint and apologised sincerely for the lack of process and that an volunteer nurse acted in an unprofessional way that was not in line with the trusts policies or values.
Apparently they admitted they let their personal feelings, judgement, assumptions and anger out on me and were extremely apologetic.
I was happy to close the complaint at that, this particular trust does extremely good work and where the patient is concerned they are the priority, not some grieving spouse struggling with day to day life.
On the one hand I felt a little relief since the nurse admitted wrong doing and unprofessionalism, and I’m assured there are no other registered complaints in this respect. On the other, I feel sadness that I have been consistently failed by the system because I don’t fit in to the social norm of 2.4 children, and huge family etc. and have to spend little energy on complaining.
Getting so tired of everything…