Without an operation, it?s aLong wait
By EMMA CORNFORD
TREVOR Brotherson used to live an active lifestyle, playing bowls three times a week and going for regular walks on the beach.
But that has all changed for the 73-year-old Yamba resident.
An operation to remove a kidney stone in February 2005 left a hole in his bladder, rendering him totally incontinent. In his words, it has virtually ruined his life.
A simple operation can correct the problem, but he has been told that due to North Coast hospital closures over the New Year, he cannot have the operation until late February or early March.
"My doctor is willing to operate ... but he isn't allowed to," said Mr Brotherson.
Mr Brotherson's operation was switched from Lismore Hospital to Murwillumbah Hospital, but when he phoned the hospital, he was informed he would have at least a 90-day wait.
"I've told them I don't care where it's done; the doctor can do it on the middle of the Pacific Highway, just name a date and I'll be there," he said. "This has virtually ruined my life. I've had to give up bowls ... and I have to wear a leg bag which means I can't go for walks along the beach because it's embarrassing for me (because) I'm a pretty proud old bloke."
Although Mr Brotherson won't regain his bladder function through the operation, it means a 'drainpipe' would be installed, which would allow him to live a normal life again.
North Coast Area Health Service chief executive Chris Crawford said elective surgery had 'wound down' during the festive period because the annual holiday break was the time when most clinical staff, including doctors and nurses, preferred to spend considerable time with their families.