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A true story from my life which shows why disabled people are terrified at the prospect of winding up in hospital due to #COVID19. And it’s not because we are ‘sicker’ than you (thread)
Last year I started experiencing chest pains on the right side of my chest. I put off doing anything for weeks. In denial. Worried about how the hell I would get by in an inaccessible hospital environment. Also I’m a bloke so hey.
Finally it got too much. Feeling faint, shortness of breath and dizziness. Pain on other side of chest. Where actual heart is. I packed a bag. I wrote a will and left it on my computer keyboard. Said goodbye to house. I went in by taxi.
I turned up at the hospital and they took one look and rushed me into ICU. But they didn’t have a height adjustable bed or a sliding board to help. They weren’t allowed to lift me.
I took one look at the hoist they had and realised it would probably break my legs. Finally - boosted by fear of death hoist - I decided to pull myself up on the bed manually. Managed to do it somehow. I still don’t know how.
Hours of tests later no heart attack/cancer/stroke. Some weird nerve pinch in my neck causing odd symptoms from poorly designed new chair. Staff were great but there is no access - including toilet. I bolted for the exit before they decided on overnight stay.
10 years of the National Disability Strategy. 26 years of the useless DDA. Billions of $ on NDIS. And a pretty average wheelchair user can’t get into an exam bed in the ICU of a major public hospital in the national capital.
This is why #COVID19 has some of us terrified. We are just as likely to fall, get complications and die from the hospital environment as a disease. People will take their chances at home rather than seek treatment. It will take a lot to make me go near a hospital.
That’s why we need to rapidly scale up the health care sectors capacity to care for people with disabilities.
You want stimulus? Start urgent built access improvements NOW. Replace dodgy old equipment NOW. Buy disability aids in health settings NOW. Take the surplus you saved from the NDIS to do EVERYTHING you can to get ready for us.
It’ll be better for everyone. Older people too. And then disabled people - might - just might have a fighting chance.
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