Sunday, October 11, 2009

Not a good weekend for hernias

Harri’s hernia came up again on Saturday, and again it was hard and causing her increasing amounts of pain until she was crying her eyes out, poor mite. We were at friends in Hertfordshire at the time, so readied ourselves for a trip to A&E in Harlow. By the time we arrived the hernia had gone of its own accord and she was fast asleep, so we came straight home instead. Tomorrow we’ll go to the doctor to put on record the fact it has now happened twice.

What naturally worries us is that this is the second time in a month that the hernia has gone hard and caused Harri a great deal of pain – “tummy hurts” is what she has been saying on and off for a little while, but while we didn’t know whether she knew what she was saying beforehand, we damn well do now.

As befits an infant suffering from a hernia that is clearly capable of causing her great discomfort, we’re thankful that the NHS is treating it with the urgency it deserves. From the initial diagnosis with a promise of a referral to Addenbrooke’s within two weeks, our weekend began with a letter from the hospital telling us Harri’s scheduled pre-op appointment at Colchester for 23rd October (more like 4-5 weeks since the diagnosis) had been cancelled, no explanation. It turned out that she’d been referred to the wrong person by the “Choose and Book” system, and an alternative appointment was made there and then – for the 11th November. That’s a delay of 19 days on top of the original delay (and I wonder how long the delay would have been had we followed the advice in the letter and waited patiently for another appointment?), which means any operation – and we’re being optimistic here – is likely to take place two months after her first visit to A&E.

Of course, while a repeat attack – assuming it’s witnessed by staff at A&E – may see her finally get the emergency operation she so desperately needs, we’re left in limbo, worrying if (or rather when) she’s going to be struck down again – and where. We were in the RSPB reserve near Hoddesdon when she started complaining and the hernia reappeared – a 20 minute walk away from our friends’ house – which means can we risk going on long journeys or visiting people?

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