Friday, 18 April 2014

How a Hospital Changed Our Hearts

Lil Mister in hospital at 8 months

Did I ever mention that Lil Mister was hospitalized at 8 months for respiratory illness? I probably have and should actually do a post on that some day! But, yes, he was hospitalized at 8 months for RSV after a 6 month battle (and 8 different antibiotic treatments) with illness in his first year of life. It was one of the scariest things I ever experienced and vowed I would never let my children go through that again. Nonetheless, sometimes Mother Nature and our bodies have other plans!

I my children battle constantly with respiratory problems. Neither is asthmatic and from what we know, they have no serious allergies. However, it seems that every year as the season changes, sickness sets in and we just can’t get healthy!

Both boys are up to date on their vaccinations and both take a vitamin daily. We do our best to eat healthy (as in I RARELY ever get takeaways) and follow all the rules about not going out after bath, dressing warm, etc.

I mentioned that Monday I decided to take Lil mister to the pediatrician. You may be surprised to learn this isn’t such an easy task! But it was probably one of the best decisions I have made in 2014!

The doctors in our home town frustrate me. My medical aid does not give me a lot of choices! I have two doctors available in my town for our use. On the other hand, what my medical does provide is unlimited visits to these doctors! I can see them as many times as needed within a year and never pay a cent. There is also no savings plan on my medical aid in which their office fees are charged to. So, based on that benefit and the many others they provide, I stick with it.

Most of the time these doctors are great. They are always understanding and patient and if they really feel they aren’t sure like with my rash, they will do what is necessary to find an answer.

Yet, for some reason, they are stuck on thinking my children’s illness is ALWAYS sinus related. Yes, we do all suffer from sinus...part of living in a farming community. Our valley farms primarily grapes and citrus. The citrus creates a lot of pollen....not good for our sinus’.

Every time I take my boys to the doctor here, we get the same diagnosis with the same medications. I truly believe my children are now immune to these medications! LJ has been on two rounds of antibiotics since the beginning of March and Lil Mister is now on his third since January. When I heard Lil Mister beginning to wheeze from coughing and noticed he was unable to sleep at night, I hit my drawing line.

As a Mom, you must learn to trust your instinct. No matter what the situation, don’t settle until your heart settles!

Besides the fact that my two toddlers seem to think a hospital is a great place to run and scream (laugh it off) my medical aid makes this, too, a little bit difficult! This hospital however changed my heart completely!

I phoned V (since Hubby is unavailable being in another town) Monday morning and asked his opinion. We had the option of heading to the pediatrician (an hour and a half away) or waiting two days to get into a different doctor here (where I would need to pay cash) for a second opinion. He phoned back 5 minutes later to tell me we were going to the ped and he was off work.

Now, I can’t just decide I want to see a pediatrician. They are considered specialists and I need a referral from my doctor for that (which takes 3-4 days to get the medical aid to approve). So our option now was the hospital. Our hospital here is a state hospital and unfortunately, although free, cannot provide us with the care and expertise we needed.

We consult with the doctor at that hospital first though and he advises (after stating that if Lil Mister was his patient he would diagnose whooping cough and have us admitted) that we head straight for the private hospital in W-town. Amazingly, this is the town where Hubby is currently at!

V and I quickly rush home and pack bags. We needed to be prepared for the possibility of being admitted to hospital and couldn’t afford to have to drive an extra 3 hours (home and back) if the bags weren’t packed. We gather the boys and hit the road.
It was around 2:30 pm when we finally get to the casualty department at the private hospital. Again, medical aid makes things difficult. The pediatrician is in the same hospital on the same floor but I still need a casualty doctor to provide my medical aid with enough motivation to approve me seeing the specialist!

If we were to consult with a GP the medical aid does not see that as an emergency, so I needed the casualty doctor to refer us! See how difficult this decision is to make. Knowing that I will need to jump through so many hoops must make you understand how truly exhausted my mommy heart is of seeing my child suffer! Also, maybe you can understand why we don’t just take our children straight to the pediatrician each time they are sick. To go straight to a specialist without the medical aid approval can cost me as much as a month rent! That is more than half what I earn in a month!

Luckily, this hospital was quite and quick! Within an hour, we had filled in all the paper work and gone through the admission process (checking heart rates, answering medical history questions, etc.). The doctor came in and quickly examined Lil Mister and decided that a chest x-ray was necessary.

Again, quite quick for hospitals (though chasing the boys made it seem like it was FOREVER) we had the x-rays done and were back in the casualty room within the hour. The doctors came back in and broke the news that made me want to scream!

My medical aid still would not approve us seeing the pediatrician! The chest x-rays came back showing that Lil Mister had bronchitis (this is the 5th time he has had this since he was born). This is treated as an out-patient and therefore the only way our medical aid will cover the costs of the pediatrician is if I choose to admit Lil Mister.

Problems come in with where do I send LJ then? Hubby works and I couldn’t bring the nanny with us and the hospital won’t allow LJ to stay as we can risk him getting ill. No one is close enough to take LJ for me either.
My boys resting peacefully for the first night in over a week!
And here is where I gained the most respect I have felt for medical staff in this country since moving here. The casualty doctors realized before they spoke to me that this would be a problem. They took it upon themselves to go sit down with the pediatrician. She took the time to review Lil Misters entire medical record, his x-rays, and the examination that the casualty doctor already preformed. She then wrote a script for treatment at home!

Understand she got no pay for this. Nothing! The medical aid is not going to give her a consultation fee. She did this on her own.

Then the hospital took it one step further. They noted everything and still sent a referral into the medical aid even though they know it will be denied. This is for further reference if he was to get sick again, they show it was their suggestion we see the pediatrician. The script was then filled out by the casualty (not the pediatrician) so as to not begin a payment fight with the medical aid. They advised that we treat Lil Mister at home. If, one, he does NOT get better or, two, he gets better but becomes ill again in the next few weeks (which is what has been happening) we can phone them and inform them we wish to come through. They will then send a second referral without us driving all the way there to request admission for Lil Mister into the hospital. They will then phone us back with the confirmation and we can set everything up to take Lil Mister for admission to the hospital to see that same pediatrician....all of this once again at no additional cost to us!

My heart was soaring for these people! They went truly above and beyond to help us and get Lil Mister better! The staff was kind and patient and overall understanding to our situation!

We were out of the hospital by 4:30 pm! We grabbed some food and stopped to say hello to Hubby before heading home!

Amazingly, Lil Mister slept through last night without coughing once! Between V who took the time off work and helped me wrangle the boys and the amazing staff at Emalahleni Private Hospital...I felt truly blessed for my family on Monday!

In the end, Lil Mister does NOT have whooping cough (praise God) and maybe being closer to these doctors when we move to W-town won’t be so bad after all!

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Shana Danae..


  1. I'm glad he is feeling better, and thank goodness for the staff who were willing to put in a little extra effort to help you out. Visiting from Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, the staff were a blessing! They are feeling much better thank you!

  3. That is some wonderful service that you recived! I'm glad for your family. I hope they're all back to being healthy.

    1. Exactly! It was such a blessed change! They are feeling so much better now!




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