Laura Hignett is deaf and pregnant. She is sharing her diary entries with us as she prepares for the birth of her first child. This week, Laura talks about ignorant GPs and her texting midwife
9 weeks to go
This week I had another antenatal appointment in the hospital and had to go by myself as my fiancé couldn’t get the time off work. I sometimes hate going to hospital appointments by myself as I have to constantly try and listen out for my name being called and concentrate on what the doctor is telling me. I sometimes think my eyes deceive me when I am trying to lip read and think is that me they are calling out or is it another Laura?! Sometimes I get up at the wrong time and it is someone else they are calling out. I wish hospitals had a number system rather than calling out your name, I have fed this back to the NHS trust before as I have missed an appointment due to not hearing my name being called out. I also suggested it would be easier if I could have sms or email access for appointments as why should I rely on my fiancé to make all the calls especially for my antenatal classes? They responded back saying that they will look into my suggestion but I won’t be holding my breath!
Anyway during my appointment I was seen by a different doctor than I normally see, he didn’t know I was deaf. I had to tell him I was deaf which clearly shows that they don’t read the patients notes. He said ‘oh are you partially hearing because you lip read?’ I said ‘no I am actually profoundly deaf,’ and his reply was ‘Oh you speak very well I didn’t think you would be profoundly deaf.’ After a few minutes he actually spoke to me ‘normally’ unlike the other doctor who I normally see, is horrific she barely gives me eye contact, mumbles and looks at the computer constantly, despite me telling her that I need her to look at me. I have walked away from her appointments not understanding what has been said!
I know I have written about this subject before but it just infuriates me how ignorant staff in the medical profession can be. I have found that the nurses and midwives are more deaf aware and helpful but the doctors and consultants seem to be stuck in the 1950’s. I have personally asked my midwife if I can have her mobile number to be able to text her about results; when you are pregnant you need to have blood tests regularly and I argued why should I have to get my fiancé to call up for results and that it would be better if I could text for the results. Luckily I have an understanding midwife who takes her time to text me.
On the plus side it’s not long to go now until the arrival!!
Laura is profoundly deaf, has worked as a press officer for the government and is freelance journalist. She is sharing with us her experiences of becoming a deaf parent for the first time and is campaigning for better accessibility for deaf people.
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