My name is Síle Uí Laoghaire.
I have chronic osteoporosis with compressed fractures in my lower and upper back. I also have osteoarthritis in my spine. I am 57 and have had two strokes which made the above complaints a million times worse. I had to learn to walk properly again. I started off with a walking frame, then crutches, and am only walking unaided since Christmas after 4 years of a very uphill battle.
We need more rheumatologists in Ireland. People who are in chronic pain from arthritis go through a life changing experience. I haven’t been able to drive since I had the strokes 4 years ago, through which in turn, I lost a lot of my independence. People with arthritis should automatically be given a medical card. The medication, pain killers etc. mean I pay €144 a month to the chemist. I average a minimum of 2 visits a month to my G.P. that’s €50 per visit. I had no option but to go privately to a rheumatologist in Dublin at a cost of €150 a visit plus sitting in a car for 4 hours travelling up & down to Dublin. Even with the pain killers, this journey means I am in chronic pain and immobile for at least a week. It would be fantastic if we could have a rheumatologist in Wexford General Hospital which had expanded greatly with a new Casualty Department with state of the art equipment and more beds. Even with this we have patients on trolleys at times.
I, like thousands more, have to live a life of chronic pain and disability at times. The Government needs to step up to the plate and appoint more rheumatologists around the country. They also need to give us medical cards. They are afraid to give medical cards to us because the cost would be enormous because they don’t realise how many people, children, & adults that are afflicted with many forms of this disease, so WHY ARE WE WAITING????
Síle Uí Laoghaire