University College Hospital: A Pain In The Neck.
The report on the X-rays of my neck has been missing from my file for three weeks despite repeated requests for it to be put on file. Last Friday it was noted in my notes that my “muscle spasms are improving”. This is utterly untrue. I was put on Gabapentin to control the muscle spasms ten days ago and quite quickly suffered severe reactions. Last Monday I was advised to stop taking it. I requested another Neurological consult immediately for a replacement as the Diazepam I have been on for two years is no longer doing the job and is effectively dissolving the muscles that do not work and it is therefore urgent a suitable replacement is found.
On Tuesday morning I again politely requested a Neurological consult for the same purpose. No one came. On Wednesday morning I again politely requested a Neurological consult for the same purpose. No one came. On Thursday morning I again politely requested a Neurological consult for the same purpose. No one came. On Friday morning I again politely requested a Neurological consult for the same purpose. No one came. I was making these requests because the muscle spasms were worsening dangerously and causing further destabilisation in my already very damaged neck.
At 4pm on Friday afternoon I gave up asking politely and went to see the ward Manager. “Martin”, I said, “I have been politely asking for a Neurological consult for the last five days. it is 4pm and it’s Friday. You have got one hour before all the doctors go home for the weekend and I am left inincreasing pain and danger. If that happens I am going to kick off. You don’t want me to kick off”.
“I’ll deal with it”, he said. And he was indeed good to his word. Half an hour later a very helpful Neurologist turned up. Unfortunately, misinformed by the records about the nature of my condition, she prescribed Amitiptyline – usually prescribed as an anti-depressant but also used as a pain control drug for Neuropathic pain. I didn’t need a drug to control the pain I needed one to control the spasms – and in particular one that was not going to weaken the failed, atrophied and damaged muscles that are leading others to spasm.
Gabapentin had done very well on this score but also and lead to a nasty itchy rash developing up my legs within 48 hours and stabbing chest pains 20 minutes after I took it. Amitriptyline is doing no good whatsoever because it is known not to have muscle relaxant and anti-spasmodic properties. The spasms are getting worse quickly, reducing further the mobility of my neck and causing ever increasing damage. This is why it worries me that such misleading statements as “muscle spasms are improving” are appearing on my notes.
It appears to fit the pattern of the hospital trying to “appear to do their best” – as opposed to “trying to do their best” – two very different things.
Here are the X-rays of which the report is missing: