As we must have expected, though prayerfully and hoped for the best, I continued to be sickly at sundry times following the day of the last diary entry. On one occasion suffering what seemed to be a more general chest pain. A type that felt quite different from the usual one understood as angina – and went on for two or three days (yes getting better as time thus passed). As well I would, at sundry times, get what may be understood as abnormal heartbeat. All of which conditions seemed to compelled us to closely consider what may be our alternative healthcare options (as public centers thus fell short).
While consulting with a private cardiologist seemed to be the only alternative option for sometime, it suddenly became that I could actually retry the public hospital first. This was shortly after I was led to research on whether any official statement existed that gave patients in South Africa rights I could find applicable to my situation. While not without conditions, it turned such explicit statements existed – and the two most applicable ones are quoted below.
- A person may refuse treatment and such refusal shall be verbal or in writing provided that such refusal does not endanger the health of others.
- Everyone has the right to choose a particular health care provider for services or a particular health facility for treatment provided that such choice shall not be contrary to the ethical standards applicable to such health care providers or facilities, and the choice of facilities in line with prescribed service delivery guide lines.
When the newly planned consultation was communicated to gogo (wife’s mother), she voluntarily offered the use of her car as well the driving service of this one cousin. This had indeed been desired but could not be easily requested mainly because she was amongst those who were not approving of our proceedings.
The said cousin accordingly drove over the following morning, fetched me and drove us to the hospital. For some reason (later suspected to have been related to staff negligence), we were detained at the file collection center for around 6 hours. And when we finally arrived at the OPD, the doctors were knocking off. Upon realizing that I had a dishonored appointment, the consulting nurse felt even more justified to simply give me a new date and send me back home. But just before she did, she thought she might hear my reason out first. Which I, not without difficulty, presented. When I was through she instead suggested we return the following morning – and offered to keep my file in their consulting office so we should not have to deal with collections the following day (having thus unjustly been detained thereon).
Accordingly, we drove back the following morning. And when we had collected the file from the above mentioned office, were sent off to the vital signs room. The queue was a little long and the early morning winter chill seemed to trigger the angina (so I had to take the sublingual at some point). From there we had to wait few more hours before I could be seen by a doctor. Whom ,when I had related my matter, advised that the hospital had no cardiologist of its own. That even if they could (afford to) assist with the ECG test, that that may be all they could do. Further advising that what they could ideally do instead would be to admit me and therefrom refer me to the provincial hospital to have a thorough cardiac checkup.
The doctor however added that because the said hospital was at the time accepting only emergency cases (due to Covid-19 lockdown), that my case required to be first discussed with a certain other doctor. That I would then after be phoned back regarding the resolution. On which note I was sent off to the dispensary for treatment refill. Unfortunately, while I had in many occasions (of sufferings) understood my condition to be in very deed emergency, I could not labour to try and convince them to book me with said hospital. To begin with, finally getting to face them thus with my not so fashionable preferences was very trying exercise – and to then think that I would then have to face health care folks from a provincial hospital seemed to be torture.
I therefore felt like that seemed to be it – that we had tried but were evidently failing. Though I was still very glad that I had gotten a chance to witness what I reckoned to be a good confession. We thought it wise the following day to consult at this one private center just for ECG (particularly the one without effort as it was the only one they offered). To our continued confusion, the results came up normal. While this had to be good news, I had learned that ECG results could never be concluded upon alone (especially where there are already symptoms like chest pain, etc). Once again we felt we needed to continue to look into booking a full cardiac checkup.
Due to ill budgets, this was not something we could attempt at once – so we paid and released the cousin. Advising that we should hopefully contact him once we should have raised the cardiac checkup fee. It has now been over a week since he (having stayed nearly a week) had driven home. I still get the supposed to be abnormal heartbeats, normally followed by a general ill feeling (though never as intense as it would get). The general chest pain (which I eventually suspected to could have possibly been a food and medicine interaction) has been fairly at bay. As of now, I take 1/2 regular release tablet (nitrate) every 12 hours, 1/4 aspirin every 24 hours and a sublingual as necessary. It seems I must as well keep well away from exerting tasks so far as affordable – as these tend to trigger the angina. Yes it is all in all apparent that heart invalidity is to abide me until further notice.