Saturday, 23 June 2012

The saga begins......

Hi there!
 My name is Maria and I live in Healesville, Victoria, Australia. I have another blog called 'Renovating on a Shoestring' but due to my ongoing health issues haven't really been able to blog much of any of the goings on. Namely because there AREN'T any goings on! So I figured I since I am ALWAYS having something going on with my health, it seemed appropriate to make a new blog. That and the fact people have been hounding me to write down my tale of woe for a long time spurred me!

 'The Medical Oddity' is the name I came up with after much contemplation. Reason I came up with that name is apparent as you come along with me on my LOOOOOOOOOONG journey. (Bring a thermos of hot tea/coffee/cocoa/scotch/'re going to need it!)
 Ok.Here we go!
   I was born at a very young age. My mother was there at the time. Back in 1963 when The Beatles were causing many a young girl's (and many secret gay guys) heart aflutter. JFK was killed and my cute little face presented itself to the world. Now this cute little face apparently had gorgeous pale translucent skin which nurses and family and friends cooed over and said how beautiful I was. I can't remember any of that. They probably really said, "Oh for god's sake! CHANGE that nappy!"
 The first disaster of my life was that in the taxi on the cold and foggy morning about 7 days later, on the way to my first home,  I went flying. Yes, just sprouted wings and took off. Ha ha. Truth be told, the taxi almost hit another vehicle in the fog and of course, in those days, Mums could hold bubs rather than strapping them in safely. No seatbelt rules either. So apparently my 9lbs of blub went cascading into the front seat. Again, I have no idea. Probably just some folklore to get a good lot of sympathy. Mum swears it's true, so I guess there you have it.

Don't ya think I'm cute? I look serious.....Hmmmm contemplating all those rotten doctors in the future I will be dealing with!
    Now don't be alarmed by the fact I have only one eye staring at you in the above photo. ( Bet you just looked back at my photo. Am I right? Hee hee) It seems when I was born my left eye was underdeveloped. Medical oddity Number 1. What caused this? No one seemed to know at the time. Gawd, the early 1960's people drank and smoked and did all sorts of things without a thought that this could cause a baby any long term damage. It took till the 1970's to understand  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I do not have this.
 Poor Mum was one of those poor women who upchucked regularly and violently pretty much from the second I attached my itty bitty cells to her uterine wall. She did try taking Distaval, an anti-morning sickness medication which we know was a Thalidomide drug. It was banned in many countries in the early 60's but some pharmacists still had stock and would give this if the doctor prescribed similar. Oh the days of non regulated pharmaceuticals! Mum threw most back up and gave up taking them. Much to her chagrin and being evicted out of a flat (apartment) for the noise she was making throwing up 24/7. Thin walls, you see.
  Many years later I tried to be involved in the Thalidomide compensation group which was occurring around the world. The hospital I was born in, 'The Queen Victoria' hospital in Melbourne, Australia had been found to contain asbestos and was shut down. It sat there idle for many, many years. Oddly enough at age 15, I would walk past my birthplace, on my way to work in an office not far from there,  not knowing how important this building was to my future. Years later again, it had been demolished internally and now only the external walls are a reminder of times past.
 I discovered that the records of all patients had been transferred to the new wizzbang hospital Monash Medical Centre in Clayton. (an south eastern suburb of Melbourne) I wrote to them. They wrote back. Records had been destroyed after FIFTEEN years from the date of birth. I was 10 years too late. I sobbed. I was disgusted. I asked the obvious; WHY? The answer? Due to lack of storage space and time and money by the government (The Queen Vic was a public hospital sponsored by our government) they were destroyed. I said, What about Microfiche? I used that when I was 15 at work! Surely they could have scanned them to that! No, that would have involved paying humans to do the time consuming work of transfer to the microfiche films. I shook my head in disbelief.
 Canada, USA and UK apparently keep medical records for much longer than we do here in the Land of Oz (don't quote me on this. It's just my recollection) I contacted the Canadian Thalidomide support group who said that the only way to prove anything,  would be to find documented evidence, either by Mum recalling the name of the drug, (Mum was prrrrrrrrretty sure it was Distaval but seriously couldn't recall the name), that the doctor had record, and/or the pharmacist still had record of prescribing the drug. Well, great. A: Mum had no idea, even with prompting by showing her images of the drug, B: The doctor had karked it and his family had tossed his records in the garbage. and C: the pharmacy is no longer in business and no one knows what happened to them. Just my luck. So I left it at that. Not knowing any more and just accepting I had to wear a prosthesis for the rest of my life. Not knowing if it really was the thalidomide drug or something else. Poooey. It didn't satisfy me. Not one bit. I was determined to find out what had caused me this weirdness in my eye. Oh! It was also discovered at a very young age, I was deaf in my left ear........Now what would have caused they, hey? Medical oddity Number 2.

  There we end today's saga.
Come back real soon for more excitements! We've only just begun!


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