Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Laid up!

Laid up with a bad, bad back ache is what I have been of late. And it is beyond horrible.
In between visits to specialists, trips to the hospital and sending a fairly hysterical e-mail to the one professor I know at the Wits Medical School I have been going in to the office. Hobbling like a geriatric and sitting gingerly with my pink bunny hot water bottle neatly place against the small of my back - but present and at work all the same.
Life goes on and papers go out daily - but it's not so much fun to be part of the process when your back is sore and drains all your energy and enthusiasm to the point where you watch the clock and count down the hours til you can go home and lie down.
But it has not been all bad news. Oh no - I was booked into hospital for a mylogram which, I was told, is a hideous test where you get dye injected into your spinal cord. And that's the fun part.Then you have to lie flat for 24 hours so your spinal fluid doesn't leak out, and you get a crushing headache. However, the radiographers who do this procedure took pity on me and decided to try and see if they could rather do an MRI. This is a whole lot better, and it actually worked!
I got to lie down in a hospital gown, get wheeled into a tunnel and then wait for what felt like about an hour while machines took pictures of what was going on. It was a big machine and I had to wear massive earphones because it all sounded like a bunch of jackhammers around me - but I was not going to complain! It all makes your body weirdly hot, so winds are blasted on you throughout the whole process.
I discovered the power of visualisation as I imagined myself raving it up at Ibiza (never been there, but I figure it's an island, there must be beach breezes) with the thump-thump-thump in my ears being nothing more than really loud, bad techno tunes. And hey presto, it was all over.
Then more specialists, more fights as I declined their polite offers of spine fusion surgery.
So far I am winning.
I got fitted for a lumbar corset today, and on Tuesday I go into hospital for an epidural and spinal block procedure.
Let's hope it works and that I get to spend a few more months happily living my life before I go under the the knife.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A jolly expensive gate indeed. In a state of disrepair....

Today the Health Department responded to a story I wrote last week. Yay!
It was an expose on the most expensive gate ever built (hopefully) at taxpayer's expense. All about the entrance to the Sizwe TB Hospital in Sandringham. Basically it is a brick structure built to cover two boomed gateways serving the entry laes, two booms for the exit lanes with a little guard house in the middle. Oh ja - the guard house apparently has a toilet in it.
So how much would one pay for such a structure? Well - the Health Department forked out R4.1-million for it!
In response to questions put to them in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the department said the company that won the tender to do this had given the cheapest quote with both other contenders quoting more than R5-million. I swear!! For that little brick structure.
So I checked out the opposition companies and found out that one of them doesn't even exist. And now, adding insult to injury, I found out that this little gateway - which is little more than a year old - is falling to pieces. The ceiling boards are hanging loose and the stone cladding on the one side has crumbled off and is lying in heaps on the ground.
That was last week's story.
Now today I hear that the Health Department, apparently quite anxious to prove that they didn't overpay for a soundly built structure, sent out a notice that the damaged ceilings had been caused by the driver of a waste disposal truck who drove through against the instructions of security guards who pointed out that his truck was too high to go through.
Nowhere did they say why such an expensive gateway was not high enough to accomodate the passing through of a big truck (which apparently entered the property without damage to the roof over the entry booms), nor did they say if the driver bashed through the one exit boom and then reverse and bash through the other side too. Because the ceiling is badly damaged over both exit booms.
The crumbling stone cladding, they said, was caused by delivery trucks. They did not say how the trucks had crashed into the stone and cement wall situated on the inside of the property at the entrance. From my own observation, this would only be possible if the trucks reversed and crashed the wall, causing the stone structure to crumble without touching the metal gutter in front of it, which remains unscratched.
But hey! Government statements go out, no further information is supplied.
Here is a picture I sneaked with my phone. Check out the damaged roof!