OSOYOOS - Gaye Horn of Osoyoos is back home after after what she described as an “emotional roller coaster ride” to Victoria.
Gaye went to the legislature on Monday, Feb. 20, at the invitation of the B.C. NDP, to tell the story of her husband Lee's efforts to get a hip replacement. She originally revealed her husband’s predicament with the provincial health care system in a column she wrote entitled 'I miss my best friend and I want him back'.
“People found it to be a very powerful message,” she says. The column was forwarded to NDP health critic Judy Darcy and Gaye was invited to come to Victoria to tell her story to the legislature. The trip was made at Gaye’s own expense.
It’s been more than 903 days since Gaye’s husband Lee, 73, sought treatment for a hip replacement.
“He’s lost two and half inches of bone in his hip which has affected his gait. He has nerve on nerve and he’s been in excruciating pain,” Gaye says. The medication her husband was prescribed had terrible side effects so he stopped taking it. Without the medication he hasn’t been able to sleep well.
“This was a man who was always fit, always active. He is a former football player,” Gaye says. The hip problems were first noticed three years ago when he began experiencing difficulty hooking and unhooking the couple’s fifth wheel.
Months of diagnostic tests followed before doctors said Lee needed a hip replacement. He’s been waiting for the surgery for 538 days now, and counting.
Gaye says her background in behavioural science has helped to keep Lee from “slipping down the rabbit hole.”
“He’s my main concern and I’m going to fight for what’s right. We’re baby boomers and we’ve paid into the system all our working lives thinking that’s what we’re supposed to do and when we need it, if we need it, it’s going to be there for us, but it isn’t,” she says.
Gaye says she has learned there are 800 people in the Interior Health Authority currently waiting for joint replacement surgery.
It was an emotional moment when Lee’s story was read on the floor of the legislature in Victoria on Monday, she admits.
She feels the trip “shook things up a bit,” adding there may be some new developments in her husband’s case on the horizon.
Gaye, who is 71, vows to continue her fight even after her husband’s surgery has been completed.
“I’m fighting hard for Lee, but I want everyone on this wait list to be treated and get some help. Not everyone is able to fight like me. Part of this is to help them as well.”
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