A back to back personal blog, but this was very much on my mind today. All my blogs are based on an experience, around a memory, stretching as far back as a little girl.
It will come as no surprise then for me to recall my experiences based around my yearly consultations. Even as a small child I was aware of each conversation. The conversations between my father and my consultants were always the same. My consultants asked my father how things had been and if he had any concerns.
Because my father saying ‘no’ to both questions didn’t prompt the specialist to ask any further questions, I assumed there was very little wrong with me. As part of my consultations my legs were checked to make sure that my shorter leg was growing at the pace of my normal leg. Having to wait around an hour to go into each consultation, I was in there for no more than around 20 minutes, made easier because my father wasn’t interested in talking semantics.
But the problems with my missing records go back to the beginning. I was born in 1963. In 1965 I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and that diagnosis was registered with my GP, (General Medical Practitioner). Having checked, there are no notes on any of my consultations after my diagnosis in 1965 until 1972, when at the age of 11, my doctor sent me back to see another consultant because she had concerns about my learning.
It’s strange because I’d already been in school since around 5-6 years old that it would take until the age of 11 to be referred back. In her introduction letter, she asked that I be enrolled in a pre-school clinic so that I could be monitored for my educational ability. Although it was my doctor who instigated the decision for me to attend a clinic for further observation, when that didn’t happen, neither my doctor or consultant followed it through.
My yearly February consultations continued for another few years, then at the age of 15 I was to attend what would be my last consultation. In that consultation my father was told there was nothing more that could be done and I was being discharged. What I didn’t realise was that my father had no intentions of getting me the help I needed. At the insistence of my father, I was then sent back and finally discharged at the age of 25, when I was sent to see yet another consultant, 3 days before I got married.
The irony is that ‘where there was nothing they could do,’ there was everything that should have been done. I remember thinking at the time that there must have been little wrong with me because I was being discharged early. Little did I know in fact it was because my doctors’ concerns had been totally ignored throughout the years.
I find it hard to believe that this was made to be my life. I’m also not sure it’s something I will ever come to terms with. Let down by the very institutions and people whose job it was to protect me.