How A Systematic Failure By The NHS And The Lockdown Closure Of The NHS Has Left Me Disabled For The Foreseeable Future
I presently have no use of my left hand, and have only extremely limited use of my right hand. To cut a long story short on how this happened, in 2008 I suffered a partial tear in the scapholunate ligament of my right wrist.
I was supposed to have a full repair job done on the ligament, however, at the last minute it was decided to first remove some ganglion cysts which had formed as a result of the tear. The reason being the ligament repair surgery did not have a good success rate.
It turned out to be a good decision as with some intensive physio within a year my right wrist had no problems other than a slight weakness as a result of the torn ligament.
And up until February 2019, things remained that way. However, in February 2019 I got what was suspected to be RSI in my right wrist. It was a standard overuse injury brought on most likely through poor ergonomics when using a computer and using a mobile phone too much. A lesson there for others, using a computer and mobile phone may not seem like something that could lead to severe injuries, but in fact it is a really common way for people to become injured. A computer mouse, a keyboard, mobile phones, control pads for computer games, our hands are not designed for them and so frequent use, especially if poor ergonomics is involved, can lead to life changing problems. Something I never knew, so perhaps some food for thought if you are a frequent texter or computer user.
Anyhow, getting back on point, after a visit to the doctor and being enlightened to the fact that something like RSI exists, I was recommended to rest my wrist and improve my ergonomic setup. I did both but unfortunately my wrist did not improve so I went back to the doctor in July 2019, and was referred to a specialist as it was clear at this point that the torn ligament was complicating matters.
And unfortunately this is where things go very wrong, without going into any great detail, the referral was messed up, and I was seen by a physio not the specialist. The physio, whom I suspect had only just recently completed his studies, misdiagnosed me and gave me advice that unfortunately led my right wrist to deteriorate substantially and led my left wrist to become injured (most likely an overuse injury, brought on by the fact I was unable to use my right hand at all for a period), that physio then doubled down on his previous advice by telling me to keep doing the same things, which perhaps inevitably led my right wrist to further deteriorate and led my left wrist to become severely injured.
Then after a further six months of screw ups involving three further messed up referrals which involved me being seen by the wrong people who gave the wrong advice leading to both my wrists becoming substantially worse, lockdown hit.
Because of that I had to wait a further six months until August to finally be seen by the right people, the people who I should have been seen by in the first place. Unfortunately by this point my left wrist, still undiagnosed due to the repeated systematic failings which led me to keep ending up being seen by the wrong people, had deteriorated such that I cannot at current use the hand at all. And in fact for reasons unbeknownst to me, I cannot even walk around the block without my left wrist ending up severe pain – who knew that a wrist injury could leave you close to housebound.
My right wrist without an appropriate care plan, had also substantially deteriorated and at the worst point I basically could barely pick food from a plate. Thankfully I am now being seen by the right people and my right wrist has slightly improved, and even though there is a long journey ahead I am hopeful I will make at least a partial recovery in that wrist.
My left wrist on the other hand I am still waiting for diagnosis but am at least moving in the right direction. So yeah I’m still in a pretty bad place but as always am keeping positive, and am doing my best to attempt to learn how to function as best as I can without hands.
In terms of how I am writing this blog post, voice dictation software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking to be specific. A definite lifesaver, I also paid a ridiculous amount of money, nearly a thousand pounds for a mouse that I can use with my feet. To say the price of equipment for people with injuries/disabilities is extortionate would be an understatement, but I will save that debate for another time.
The reason I am writing this post is firstly to explain why I have been missing in action for the last year, I have over a thousand unanswered emails and text messages, apologies if you’re one of those I have not answered but it is difficult to reply when you can’t use your hands, who knew how much not being able to use your hands could affect your social life. Anyhow, to the second and main reason I am writing this, to highlight the effect that Covid-19 and the shutdown of the hospitals is having on people.
The NHS completely screwed up with me long before Covid-19 hit, nine months of screw ups prior to lockdown had put me in a very precarious position. However that position was exacerbated even further due to Covid-19, as it meant I had to go a further six months without treatment and those six months saw my wrists completely collapse.
I accept my situation is perhaps a unique one (or at least I hope it is) in the sense that if I had been seen by the right people in the beginning, that is to say if the referrals had not been completely and repeatedly screwed up, my left wrist would not be injured and my right wrist would likely have been well on the road to recovery before lockdown even hit.
However, the screw ups did happen and due to the NHS being shut down I was unable to get the necessary care to try to rectify the situation. That’s why it’s important that the government sorts itself the hell out and gets the NHS running properly so that even if there is another wave that the hospitals do not get shut down, because at current as a result of this I am likely to be left at least partially disabled for life and I highly doubt I’m alone.
And in reality I am lucky in a way because at least my issue is not life-threatening, and I am at least lucky enough to have family who are able to look after me, but others are not so lucky. And it simply is not right. The NHS is a service, and that service right now is failing the people, and has been failing the people long before Covid-19 hit, not because of the doctors or nurses, but because of the people running it. I do not know what the answer is, but I do know that somebody needs to find it because the price of not doing so is simply unacceptable.
That's all from me today, thanks for reading and stay safe.