Thank Goodness I’m Rich!

Well not really, but I bet that got your attention right? What I am, is well off enough that I can afford a hospital plan or medical aid, unlike the majority of South Africans, who are reliant on government medial care. I have second hand experience of government medical care from family and now Loveness and all I can say is that shit? It will kill you if your disease doesn’t first.

Currently we’re at an absolute loss as to what to do about Loveness. She’s been having chronic stomach problems for the past 4 months. To the point, where she has missed almost 3 weeks of work in the last 2 months, as a working mom, this is a HUGE problem. I went back to work on Monday, on Monday afternoon she messaged me to come home, she was in such chronic pain, by the time I got here, she could hardly breathe and could barely speak from the agony. What happened if she’d collapsed while looking after my young children? She’s been booked off for the remainder of the week, so have I, but that’s another blog post for another time. What do I do now?

What do I do the next time she has an attack of this pain? I can’t keep taking time off work, neither can Walter, also, I’m worried about the intensity of the pain and the effect it may have on my children, should she collapse from it.

She’s seen 3 Dr’s in the last two months. First she was diagnosed with constipation. So I headed to Dischem and bought her a bulk supply of Dupholac syrup and Peppermint Capsules, which are fantastic for stomach cramps. A week later, she was off again, again with chronic pain. This time her Dr referred her to Jo’burg Gen for a scan and blood tests. On arriving at the hospital, they ran the blood tests, never did the scan and sent her away with liquid paraffin saying its constipation. A couple of days later and we were right back to square one with Loveness doubled over in agony and unable to work. Each time she has a bout of this pain, she’s off work for 3 – 5 days, which was fine while I was on maternity leave, but now that I’m back at work, it’s a HUGE problem.

Over the past weekend, she went to see another Dr about her pain, he gave her different medication and sent her on her way. On Tuesday, she went  to another Dr, who booked her off again for the entire week and referred her to a TB clinic as he suspects she may have Abdominal Tuberculosis. She headed off to the TB Clinic on Wednesday, they tested her and asked her to return on Friday for the results, however, they also referred her back to bloody Jo’burg Gen for a full cancer screening today.

Loveness headed back to Jo’burg Gen today for her cancer screening and guess what they did at Jo’burg Gen? A pap smear! And told her to come back in 6 weeks for the results! I kid you not folks! That is the extent of the cancer screening they did on her!

I really don’t know what we’re going to do, while I made the statement in the title of this post about being rich, we’re simply not in a position to pay for Loveness to have private medical care, we’re also not in a position to take endless amounts of time off work and we may be forced to find a replacement for her, something I don’t even want to think about having to do. She is Ava’s second mother, she is part of our family, it will devastate me to have to let her go but we may not be left with any other choice. I feel trapped between a rock and a hard place. I have to do what is best for my family, but Loveness is my family too and if I let her go, what will happen to her???

Walter’s dad falls into the majority group of South Africans who live under the threat of government medical care, he has no medical aid or hospital plan. After schlepping backwards and forwards to the gov hospital on the far East Rand for the past couple of months, because of excessive pain the bones of his pelvis, he’s just been diagnosed with Prostrate cancer. His cancer treatment will be administered by a gov hospital, God help him, and so he had to wait for a referral to an oncologist at the gov hospital to start treatment. Guess when he’s referral is for? The middle of October people! That’s almost two months away, in cancer months, not to sound callous, he could be dead! As it is, judging from the bone pain he is describing, its strongly suspected that the cancer has already spread from his prostrate to his bones but you know, clearly there is no rush, no need to start LIFE SAVING treatment asap.

Walter’s mom didn’t have medical aid for a number of years, she too battles with stomach issues and was regularly hospitalized. I have seen things at Joburg Gen & Edenvale gov hospitals that made my hair stand on end and made me feel dirty for days afterwards.

So thank you Lord, and I am NOT being facetious when I say this, that I am in a position to afford private medical care for myself and my children. We’ve all been sick this week, Ava had a trip to the ER at a private hospital and there is simply NO comparison.

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  • Reply Ailsa Jean Loudon

    I have been to the clinics and hospitals because I didn’t have cover. Now I have a Med but my ex and I have used up all the med savings so I am back to the clinics. It is quite disheartening to go to the clinics and hospitals because of all the waiting times, etc. and the treatment of a lot of the staff is down right rude! I hope your father-in-law gets through this dreadful time but it doesn’t sound good. I’m pretty sure that there are many cancer deaths in the public service which could have been avoided. Very sad state of our country. Hope your maid is also sorted out. Life is full of mountains and valleys, so hope your valley isn’t too deep at this time!

    August 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm
  • Reply Mom23

    Gosh, what a position to be in! But Sharon, I urge you not to abandon her in her time of need, I could well imagine that it would be catastrophic for her to lose her job now when she has been so good to your family. Domestics like Loveness are few and very far between. I have no advice however, maybe look at getting her onto a medical insurance. It’s not the same as medical aid but its very affordable and could be a huge help. I’m incredibly sorry you are it this position. So sad! 🙁 I hope she gets better soon thou and it’s just something minor!

    August 29, 2013 at 8:36 pm
  • Reply CinnamonPrincess

    Maybe look at domesticare? I dont know if its feasible or not, or if it will help but its a ‘med aid’ for domestics, it starts at R170 I think a month. Shame I really hope they find out whats wrong with her.

    August 30, 2013 at 8:13 am
  • Reply gen

    We had the same issues with my domestic workers daughter, who had sugar diabetes, we did everything!
    We took her to private GP’s who ran test as she continued to swell, they issued documents for certain tests to be run – they either ran the wrong test, or they don`t get to see the same Dr (so no continued investigation) in 2009 – she was admitted into Joburg Gen, she was there for 1 week on the Thursday we were told she would come home on Friday, she some how passed away on the Friday morning!!!!!! From something not even related!!
    I tell you Sharon, it is so frustrating, we tried to phone to speak to a dr, but there is no one Dr, the one doesnt know what the other one is doing, the tests are lost or as you say the wrong freaking test is done
    THIS MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL, because it brings back so much heartache in loosing Rose, we grew up with her, she lived with us, my parents educated her so this issue with Loveness just makes me so pissed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 30, 2013 at 8:30 am
  • Reply Laura

    Yip its the one thing we will not compromise on! I do cringe a bit when the debit order goes off but when I breeze into an ER with Jack at midnight I am very grateful!

    Can’t you maybe take her to your GP for his opinion? I know it is an outlay but maybe if he can pick up something without major tests/scans you can take it from there?

    I really do hope that you can figure out a solution here 🙁

    August 30, 2013 at 9:10 am
  • Reply Kerry

    My Private GP has nanny rates so when our nanny had trouble we took her there adn they were so helpful. In the end they diagnosed her and wrote her a referal letter for the government hospital and now she is well again and being treated at government clinic.

    My sister is a government surgeon and from her side she sees so many malingerers and soo many patients they get overwhelmed so I can see the problem from both sides.

    August 30, 2013 at 9:45 am
  • Reply Pandora

    You are so right, I am glad every day we have this option. I know 2 ladies who had breast cancer in recent years, one had medical aid the other didn’t. To listen to the different experiences, you can really say it is criminal what some state patients have to go through. The difference in being able to see your oncologist whenever you want to, versus waiting months for an appointment. The timing of the treatments, being shunted back and forth, the long delays in getting treatments, medication, etc. It was just shocking to hear.

    Also for a mom who’s child is ill, spending all day sitting waiting, only to be sent home with Panado’s for a child with fever. The same mom has also had a lot of pain lately, but they give her appointments months apart, and then told her to lose weight before the next appointment in case she needs an operation!! She didn’t even want to have her last child at the hospital because she said she knows of so many babies that had died there. That is just so scary.

    My husband was in hospital recently, and although the private hospital can be very frustrating and things don’t always go smoothly, you cannot even compare the two. It is criminal what the majority of people have to go through when they are ill or even when giving birth!

    August 30, 2013 at 9:54 am
  • Reply Rene

    This is a topic very close to my heart. I find it so frustrating and sad to hear all the horror stories coming from clinics and public hospitals. And I want to scream if I hear the people I’m working with that chooses not to have medical aid.

    My brother decided not to have a medical aid and instead of paying for one he set up a savings account in which he deposited money. He then got sick and went to a public hospital. They told him they can send him for a scan a year later, but it was probably just a panic attack, so he left it there, never went for the scan. Few months after that he got sick again, went to hospital where they said it’s probably a hernia, and scheduled him for an op 3 months later. He died from cancer before that date. It wasn’t a hernia, but stomach cancer that has spread. Took them more than a month in another public hospital before they discovered the cancer. He had to go to a private hospital for a drip and all the money he saved was used up in 2 days. Even the public hospital requested a copy of his pay slip, and he didn’t get treatment for free, he still had to pay.

    August 30, 2013 at 11:03 am
  • Reply Cindy

    Hi Sharon, not sure if you have heard about Nigel Branken. He has some experience with public health care& may be able to advise… He is on Facebook but also has a blog:


    August 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm
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