The Magnificent and Defiant Helvi.

Gerard & Helvi B&W

Helvi and Gerard at earlier times

So sorry for not having written about Helvi’s plight a bit earlier. No one would want to go through this ever. Helvi doesn’t want me to be negative but I am straining at the leash not to. Whatever have we done? She broke two arms falling over a raised driveway that should never have been approved by the local Shire/Council.  This all happened 0n the 26th of June which now seems years ago. Helvi was discharged last Friday after spending 9 nights at the local State Government Hospital. The service and care was done by caring staff who are doing their utmost to do the impossible. Too many patients and never enough staff. The room where Helvi stayed was full of add-on in the way of pipes, plumbing, air condition outlets for condensation, a hand basin on brackets sticking out, a gurgling waste system and buttons on the end of a lead that kept falling on the floor. But somehow the system kept miraculously kept on working. Helvi was on ‘full-care’ but it was not full, so I stayed with her from 7.30 am to 9pm when the hospital locked doors. I fed her and pushed the button for her toilet care and if that wasn’t forthcoming I would somehow cradle her and walk her to the nearest toilet.

Enfin; it is now past history but a new phase of misery started to arrive. After three nights and days at our home I noticed her left arm was oozing a smelly substance on her bedding which alarmed me, and Helvi to a lesser extend. I wasn’t so sanguine about her positivity that all would be OK. After all, she argued, it was all pinned together and bandaged by an orthopaedic surgeon with qualified staff. I took Helvi back to the ward where she was discharged from. However, ‘no go’, they told us. ‘You have to go back to casualty or emergency and get it fixed from there. We walked back to casualty, not an easy thing to do with two arms broken. There we were told the waiting time was 2/3 hours. So, decided to go to local doctor. The doctor confirmed the elbow was infected and prescribed ant-biotics but also told us he would not touch the oozing mess around her taped and bandaged elbow. This was now starting to look like something out of a Kafka’n nightmare.

I did not want to let this go for another night so back to the hospital casualty ward and put up with the queue. We sat there between 5.30 pm and at 8.45 pm when a kind nurse took us in and unpacked poor Helvi’s arm, cleaned it up, retaped and bandaged it up and promised she would send the swab to pathology for identification of the infection.

So, you can see what a time Helvi has had. Yet…she keeps on smiling but is furious with Australia. and its broken down public health systems. ‘It would not have happened in Finland,’ she said. I dare say, ‘neither in Holland’. A system whereby tax is given back to lure voters in a system that will perpetuate the cracking up of public welfare will only continue and get worse.

We are now employing a cleaner for three hours a week so that Helvi and I can get some kind of routine going for her needs to be met day and night. We are both knackered but at least I can use my hands. I am sure I have more time to help Helvi than those overworked, underpaid nurses at the local Hospital.

But…never again.

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38 Responses to “The Magnificent and Defiant Helvi.”

  1. lifecameos Says:

    Sounds horrific, and pretty much the same as our New Zealand system. Good luck for getting through all this. Out little city is also having difficulty getting the council to repair the many cracked foot paths.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. berlioz1935 Says:

    Well, they telling us Australia is the best country in the world. The staff in the public hospitals doing a valiant job having insufficient means to do what they have to. There will be more cuts to services as the economy is deteriorating as we speak. The government should be accused of criminal negligence in providing minimum services to the community. But they won an election under false pretences by giving us a Fatamogana of wealth and wellbeing in six years time.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. freefall852 Says:

    Sincere commiserations to you both…there is no escaping the necessary needs to keep a close watch on that infection…germs, like rust..never sleeps!…best to you both..

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Hopefully the infection has gone. We shall see this afternoon when seeing the physiotherapist at the hospital. We started organising for this trip one hour ago. It is amazing how we depend on using both arms. Try getting in and out of a car without using arms.
      Thank you, Jo.

      Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        We know all about it since our daughter was a quadriplegic. I can’t believe how lucky she was in that she was always able to get the help that she needed.
        Best of luck to Helvi. I know she is going to be very relieved when she can use both arms again, and hopefully it won’t take all that long!! That the infection has gone is a good sign, isn’t it? I can imagine how upsetting all this must have been to both of you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    😦 😦 😦
    I’m sitting here crying.
    I’m so sorry Helvi has been through so much.
    And you are a prince for being right there to help her, Gerard. I know your love for her is what will get you both through this horrible time.
    Please let her know we are still sending healing wishes her way.
    That photo of the two of you is wonderful! You…dashing and handsome! Helvi…beautiful and glowing! 🙂
    (((HUGS))) for both of you

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Our best wishes for smoother sailing for Helvi.

    Fond regards Emm and FM

    Ps – have you checked out Home Care Services for a bit of domestic assistance ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Helvi is getting three hours of care per week from Kompact. I think the state Government contracts out care packages to different organisations. It is done for profit by those organisations, I feel. Like ‘aged care’.
      We are getting three ours on top of that by employing cleaning and changing sheets on beds, Dusting and mopping floors. A great relief. Thank you Emm and FM.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. auntyuta Says:

    These are very tough times for both of you, dear Gerard. I wished a bit more help could be made available for you and Helvi. But as you say she is magnificent and defiant. With this attitude all will be well some time in the future. I pray that Helvi’s arms may heal as quickly as possible and that the infection will be gone very soon.
    I love the picture. What a beautiful young couple you were. And you are still beautiful the way you stick together!! 🙂
    Hugs and loving thoughts from Peter and me, Uta 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Uta and Peter. The worst was the infected arm. We never expected it to find so difficult to get that looked at and treated. We spent agonising hours trying to find a way of getting her arm cleaned up. The Emergency Department of the hospital does not do justice to the word ‘Emergency’ when one has to wait three hours to get help.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bal837 Says:

    I am so sorry to hear this. My love to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yvonne Says:

    It truly sucks. What happens to someone in this situation who doesn’t have a Gerard to help her? Or, a Gerard who is not well himself?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, what happens to a single person in that situation?
      I broke down and had a moment, when Helvi’s blood pressure became dangerously low and she became incoherent. The nurse pushed the emergency button and doctors and nurses arrived from nowhere. I was asked to leave the room and a kind Scottish nurse put her arm around me and gave me tea and a cheese sandwich.
      It turned out Helvi was very dehydrated. The bedpans were either not coming or were too late, so, Helvi stopped drinking water as a way not to have to empty her bladder. From then on I made sure Helvi drank plenty of water and stayed with her organising commodes or bedpans.
      Doctor was angry, but staff do their best with not enough of them.

      Like

      • auntyuta Says:

        Gerard, it is great that you are there for Helvi and making sure now that she drinks enough water. I heard of staff shortages in nursing homes but I did not know it could become that bad in a public hospital. I feel so sorry for both of you.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Robert Parker Says:

    This business of shuffling patients from ward-to-primary doctor-to-ER sounds ridiculous and dangerous.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I often wondered why the system now seems to be burdened by lots of paperwork. Most of the nurses were busy entering ‘data’ on their computers standing in the corridors with lecterns on which was perched keyboard and screen.

      Like

  10. Julia Lund Says:

    Sorry you are having such a terrible time of it whilst Helvi is suffering from such a horrible injury. I can see why you are both so exhausted. And frustrated. Praying better times will be along soon, and that you sustain each other through the tough ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. DisandDat Says:

    I fail to see the logic in how reducing tax will improve essential services such as discussed here.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Just wanted you and Helvi to know you are not forgotten!
    Still keeping you in my thoughts and in my heart. ❤ and gentle-(((HUGS)))

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Carolyn. The community nurse did not like the look of her infected arm, so now, Helvi is back in hospital for another operation. Two lots of antibiotics did not get rid of the infection. We hope for the best and I can only say; poor Helvi. Yet she doesn’t want to be thought of ‘poor.’

      Liked by 1 person

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        So sorry to hear this, Gerard.
        Yes, I can understand how she feels about that word…”poor” When I battled cancer 4 years ago, I didn’t feel I was poor in any way.
        (((HUGS))) to both of you! I’ll keep checking back to see how Helvi is doing. ❤ for her!

        Like

  13. freefall852 Says:

    Gerard..Helvi…fellow retired boomers…we are in deep shite!..have been having a raging arguement on Twitter about the aged pension being “welfare” (Frydenberg called it that on Insiders this morning)….and therefore an “entitlement” that many of those I argued with (Gen’ X and Y..with a “side salad” of millenials) said could or should be seen as deserved or undeserved payment, NOT an aged endowment…I tried to explain that in the present understanding of the word; “welfare”, the aged pension was NOT welfare, but rather a “payement for services rendered over a long working life”…
    But I had an avalanche of opposition from these “child/adults” lecturing me on saving for our own retirement etc…and now these juvenile entrepreneurial aspirants are coming into power, armed with all the granted degrees and qualifications of complete incompetence and stupidity vested in them from their alma mater institutions of gullibility!
    Friends…fellow retirees…we are knackered!!
    I suspect it will be left to us “oldies” to not only “man” the barricades, but we’ll have to do the heavy lifting to put the barricades in place too!
    Vinceremos!

    Liked by 2 people

    • freefall852 Says:

      Helvi…get those arms in working order soon..you will be needed at the front!!

      Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Saving for retirement? And…yet this Government is urging all to spend the tax return. We know that Australians have one of the highest private debts in the world and it is lack of savings that is to blame. Most of the return on tax will probably be used to retire credit card debts.
      As for welfare. It has always irritated me that here a pension is called ‘welfare.’ It is a right for all of us to get a pension. In Holland and some other European countries, there are “national pensions’. Everyone ‘rich or poor’ gets the basic pension and it is certainly not called ‘welfare’. The term ‘dole’ would not even be allowed to be used.
      I get a small Dutch pension for having worked in Holland for three years. Helvi, being my partner gets the same from the Dutch Government . She also gets a Finnish pension for having worked in Finland.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Oh my gosh Gerard, poor Helvi and poor you! This sounds like a nightmare stressful episode. Your brilliant choice of photo of the two of you (above) is the image you must hold on to. This is who you are and, despite this horrible time and inadequate care, you will remain. May Helvi’s healing be swift and a return to normal be soon for both of you. Sending hugs from the other side of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Hilary.
      Just came back from hospital where Helvi is getting an operation to try and heal a persistent infection in one of her broken arms.
      Hopefully from now on things will get better. Helvi is the last person to not do anything. And she also doesn’t like to complain.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. catterel Says:

    Oh my goodness! I thought the NHS in England was a broken system, but this sounds even worse. All my sympathy and very best wishes for a complete and speedy recovery to both of you. And a big hug!

    Like

  16. shoreacres Says:

    Gerard, I’ve been without an internet connection for some days, but now am back online. I just saw your second post in my inbox, but thought I’d best start here so I didn’t miss anything.

    I wonder from time to time what will happen to me when I reach the stage in life when good health isn’t assured, and assistance is required. Without any family, things can get complicated, quickly. It occurs to me that I need to make some decisions and arrangements now, while I’m still relatively compos mentis….

    I do hope that the surgery eliminates the infection. I feel so sorry for the both of you. I know how frustrating it must be for Helvi, and how tiring for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends — even from your bowling acquaintances. Sometimes people fear intruding, but would be happy to help out in some little way, and if anyone needs some help at this point, it’s the two of you.

    Now, I’m off to see what the update is…

    Liked by 1 person

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