I cannot believe what I have just been through with our local hospital
In Feb I found a lump in my breast and went to a bulk billing GP to ask for a3D mammogram as I had been told in the past that I had a dense breast tissue and it was hard to read. At this stage it was offered re bulk billing in 2 imaging services in Townsville 2 days a week. I 1st asked the GP for a blood test form as the Endocrinologist at the hospital got in touch 3 months after I had bloods taken as I was again in a hyper state. The GP became very grumpy and said the hospital should have organised this. I then asked for thyroid scripts as running low. Then I asked for a referral form for a 3D mammogram as I had found a lump and the imaging do bulk billing so many days a week. He was not aware that such a test existed and told me to book another apptmnt with him to discuss it at a later date. At no stage was I examined. The following week I got Covid and it took 5 weeks to become symptom free.
I was just starting to feel strong again when I was woken at 3am with severe pain at the back of my head. After trying paracetamol and nurofen with no relief I visited the closest doctors as I knew driving any distance was out as I had intermittent blurriness of vision. I was assessed and the doc called an ambulance as he was concerned. On thw ride to the hospital the ambo driver asked if I had had Covid and when I said yes, she said I was suffering from a cluster headache which she told the admitting when we arrived. I was put in the general waiting room and it was quite a wait until I was allowed to enter ED. I was given a bed but explained I could not lie down due to the pain worsening if I tried. It took awhile until a doc appeared to assess me. I did tell her about the lump in my breast and my abnormal thyroid levels ( I had thyroidectomy years ago due to cancer ). She then asked the nurse to take some bloods and the nurse refused as she said I was not a high category and she needed to deal with the more urgent cases. So the doc took the blood herself but at no stage examined my breast. As I would not lie down I was moved into the low category patients waiting area to sit in a chair. I was told a head CT would be performed at some stage. After hrs sitting in the chair, I decided to go home as the sheer exhaustion set in. So lets get this straight, I had now mentioned the lump to 2 medical professionals.
The following week I woke hubby at 2am to say I was ringing healthline as the mild pain in my chest had migrated to my upper back and I could not lie down and sleep as it was agony. Healthline rung for an ambulance and off to hospital again. This time as cat 2 I was seen quickly. The ED doc hooked me up to an EKG which showed my heart was fine. I was then told it might be reflux. Nothing was done until the morning shift started. The next ED doc sent me off for a chest xray called for a head CT as I mentioned the pain in the back of my head had been constant for over 2 weeks. I asked if the chest xray would show up any abnormalities as the lump had grown considerably. He asked what lump so I explained thecrap I had been through. He added the chest area to the CT scan. I had visit from the ED doc about an hour after the imaging with the news that there were 2 masses in my right breast and there seemed also the be bone involvement with my spine ( hence not being able to lie down) neck and rib cage. He said I would likely be admitted but he needed to talk to the surgeon. I was then given strong pain relief so I could finally lie down and take a nap. I was woken by a surgeon who was abrubt and in too much of a hurry to answer my questions. He said I would be treated as an outpatient and said I would have to arrange a 3D mammogram with biopsy and ultrasound. He asked me why I did not seek help earlier and I got a bit shouty at that stage saying that I told not 1 but 2 medical professionals who did not feel the need to even examine me He left. Half an hour later I had a massive panic and left the hospital. I have now found out why I was not admitted. I have to pay thousands for these tests but if I was admitted the hospital bears the cost. There is no way I can pay for these tests as we are now living week to week as all our savings disappeared supporting my husband who had a stroke and went into heart failure in 2020 and needs expensive meds. I cannot actually get help from anywhere as the mass needs to be diagnosed before any help will be given. Catch 22. No help at all from the hospital and yesterday I contacted the Breast Cancer Network and their opinion was as there is bone involvement I should be considered as an urgent case and not dealt with as an outpatient. I went back to my old GP who was generous enough to say she would only bulk bill me and I am now on 2 types of Oxy just to try an keep the pain under control. My ribs are now painful and I still have severe pain at the back of my head with ongoing visual disturbances. And the lump in my breast is increasing quickly. Also I found out that the Qld Health has taken away a lot of the support for 3D mammograms as bulk billing is down to one day a week at an imaging centre. I know they have to Pay for the Olympics but there is something not right about stripping away so much in public health.