Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Bursitis Saga

I never did finish recounting that here. To start again at the beginning —

Dear Husband had an ultrasound at the radiology lab in town; they found bursitis and a torn tendon, and made an appointment for him to get a cortisone injection guided by ultrasound. He had some falls on the Wednesday when he was due to have that, and went to hospital instead. He was discharged Thursday and I made a new appointment for Friday for his injection. He fell again on Friday and went to hospital instead. His pain continued; our doctor authorised the hospital to do the injection. They did; he was surprised that his shoulder still hurt.

One day I observed a bandage under his pyjama top, on the left shoulder. But it was always the right shoulder that had been hurting! The head nurse followed it up and found that the radiology lab had examined and reported on the left shoulder, therefore our doctor authorised the injection in that shoulder. The nurse assured me there was bursitis there, otherwise the injection would not have gone ahead. Obviously it must be in both shoulders.

Our doctor was away for a week. His offsider authorised another injection at the hospital, for the right shoulder, but before it could happen, DH was moved to the nursing home. I got a call from the x-ray department at the hospital. When I explained he’d been in pain for weeks by now, the woman who phoned said she would book him in almost immediately. This didn’t happen. The nursing home staff couldn’t find the referral which was supposed to have been sent to them. I kept pushing for something to happen but they couldn’t do much without it. They assured me they were anxious too for his pain to be relieved. I phoned the x-ray department and encountered a different woman, who said the first one had put a note on the file saying it could not go ahead without authorisation from a different doctor. We never did find out why!

On the advice of a nurse at the nursing home, I phoned our doctor's rooms to see if there was a referral letter languishing there somewhere. No, but our doctor then wrote another one. 

Finally a nurse with a bit of initiative phoned the hospital, and was told they couldn’t do it for another two weeks — so she then phoned the radiology lab, and they booked him in the following day. He went from the nursing home by maxi-taxi and wheel chair; I met him there and saw the procedure, ensuring it was the right shoulder this time (in both senses of 'right'). Apparently there was a mistake on the original referral they received; that’s how the wrong one got done. But as he had bursitis in both shoulders, in the end it seemed like a good result.


  1. Oh for goodness sakes. All's well that ends well but it sounds like Mr. Bean at the dentist.

    1. I'm not a fan of Mr Bean (I'm crazy for Blackadder) but it certainly was excruciatingly silly. As for ending well, it's not looking that way now. Truly, if it was just the Alzheimer's, I think I could cope. It's these other complications which make life so difficult.