ZANE Medical Emergencies

Latest reports from the ZANE care workers in Zimbabwe show yet again how desperate the situation for the elderly folk is:

We have had several medical emergencies, requiring rapid actions from us, one of whom was Stuart M, whom I have often mentioned. I received an urgent call on Saturday morning from the administrator of his care home.

A doctor had seen him after he’d complained about severe pain and discomfort and had diagnosed that Stuart had a strangulated inguinal hernia. He said this was severe and that Stuart needed surgery as soon as possible. Thus it was arranged that he be hospitalised and booked for surgery the next day. We managed to find the deposit for him to be admitted.

There were no complications and Stuart was discharged 3 days later. He is doing well and has returned to the doctor several times since then for check-ups and to have his stitches removed. Funds to pay the surgeon and anaethetist have been provided by a ZANE medical fund, and hospital and other fees have so far been paid by Old Legs Tour.

Much time has been spent doing ZANE deliveries which is always a good time to talk at length with the beneficiaries. I talked with the administrator of one of the homes and found her very distressed about the financial struggle the home is constantly facing. I have heard this often before but this time seemed worse and she worries about how the home can carry on this way.

Many of the residents are not paying their fees, either because they have run out of money or because their families who normally pay their fees have no money. They have many empty rooms, but still the same number of staff because the home could not pay expensive severance fees; a real dilemma because ultimately they cannot survive like this.

I delivered funds to Sue S – she was in good form and grateful for the money. However, her hip has deteriorated further and she is struggling to walk any distance. This will ultimately need surgery but she is reluctant to do this, saying there will be no one to care for her afterwards. I’m not pushing her about this but I don’t know how much longer she can continue with the pain.

I delivered to 5 people in their own homes. They all sounded and appeared to be fine, except for Alan J. He was so distressed, he could hardly talk but said he is feeling ill and in pain. I’ve talked with him recently about his health and I know he’s seen a doctor and had appropriate medications.

Talking with him for a while after the others had left, he described again his anguish about probably having to move his caravan off the property he is on now, because the owner is selling it in the next few months. We have talked with him about this but Alan is not taking any action himself. Instead, he lies awake at night worrying about what he will do but refuses to consider any of the solutions we propose.

Having to live in a caravan in someone else’s property is a difficult situation for him and I am sure his aches and pains are a result of the stress he lives under but he is a proud man and we will have to try and help him as sensitively as we can.

* Names and images may have been changed for privacy reasons

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