Oversubscribed waiting lists have condemned a Christchurch woman to a life of damaging drug dependence.
Theodora McTeigue has endured arthritic pain for her entire adult life, a trial that was worsened two years when she was diagnosed with Spondylitis of the spine. She saw an orthopedic specialist at Burwood Hospital who, after reviewing her case, bluntly told her not to bother trying her luck on the waiting list because they are overwhelmed with people older than her who are in need of similar operations.
As a result McTeigue, who is not yet 60, is forced to take a cocktail of 12 different drugs every day to manage her pain levels. Not only is then having to take regular blood tests to monitor the unavoidable damage to her liver and kidneys, her body is also becoming accustomed to the dosage. As a result her Ibuprofen dosage has had to rise from 200mg daily to 800 mgs and she is now on the maximum permitted dose of Codiene.
The combination of drugs, pain and Christchurch’s recent, turbulent history is also having an impact on her mental health.
She is trying to work as much as she is able, but is barely making minimum wage. As a result she has no chance of affording private insurance and has even been forced to cancel the minimal health insurance she once held.
As things stand, McTeigue says she has literally been told she has no option but to continue with an ever-increasing drug regime for as long as her body can cope.