Dear Mr President,
Today, it sucked to be South African.
This morning when I woke up and scrounged up all my coins to try and buy myself a bottle of wine, I had no idea that I would spend my afternoon at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic hospital, helping a woman who we picked up on the side of the road, having a miscarriage.
While Robyn and I were driving home from Rosebank, I noticed a woman looking particularly distressed; she also had blood on her pants. As we drove past I said to Robyn, that woman does not look okay. We drove around the block, pulled over and went to ask her if she was okay. She started crying and a security guard walked towards me and asked if we were here to pick her up “She says she’s having a miscarriage, she’s bleeding, I called an ambulance, but they’ve been coming for the past 30 minutes”.
I was right. She wasn’t okay.
“ I don’t have medical aid. I’ve been waiting for the bus, so I can get to Westgate, my husband is waiting for me there”
That’s alright. We’ll take you to Joburg gen.
In my mind: were going to arrive at the hospital, I’ll go get a wheelchair and then someone will help her.
We arrived at the hospital to- No wheelchairs.
The woman held onto me, while she stumbled in agony to the emergency room.
We were ushered to a corner where we had to wait- there were no beds, no chairs. Eventually one of the other patients got up and allowed the woman to sit.
A doctor came out and asked what was wrong and I told her that she was having a miscarriage. “well sit in the chair, it doesn’t look nice that your sitting on the floor” Gerda had now landed up on the floor after writhing in pain.
I saw another doctor and asked her to help us
“I am not a gynaecologist I cant help you”
Eventually a Nurse came to find out, what the problem was, she then yelled at me and asked me why we had brought her here and not Helen Joseph. She then asked me what she should do about Gerda and the bleeding.
Are you serious??
We found this woman on the side of the road and took her to the hospital and you are asking me why I didn’t take her to Helen Jospeh? You are also asking me, what to do? Im sorry what?
Gerda was on the phone to her Sister, trying to tell her what was happening. This nurse turned to me and said “Is this a miscarriage? While she’s so busy on the phone, what am I supposed to do, is this fair on me” the nurse then stormed off, leaving us in the corner with no help.
We spent the next hour going up and down between triage and the emergency room. Each department telling us to go to the other. Gerda passed out on the chair’s after triage. I looked down and she was just lying there. Robyn “Nerves of steel” Martin said, “this is a public hospital matte, you just have to wait” and she was serious, there was nothing else we could do, but wait.
Eventually, we got into Triage where, Gerda was asked for a urine sample. (Seriously?? She is bleeding, losing her baby and you want urine sample?)
We wheeled Gerda to the bathroom on a wheelchair that we had borrowed from another sick patient.
There was no urine, just blood. Later the Nurse in Triage handed me the urine sample bottle in a tissue “Go pour this out and throw it away-we can’t use it”
I have never in my life.
Today, it sucked to be Human.
I watched a woman, lose her baby in a hospital. Full of nurses and Doctors and nobody could help us.
By the time she got attention, it was all over, the baby was gone. “You have no idea how much I wanted this Kid”
So Mr President, How was your day?
Did you spend hours on the phone discussing plans to get more wheelchairs?
Did you send some emails to get some quotes on more hospital beds?
No. I don’t think you did Sir.
I don’t think you did anything.
Elections are around the corner, while you try to buy the votes of the poor in the currency of food packages, bear in mind that somewhere along the line, they are likely to need a wheelchair or a hospital bed more than a damn food package.