IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Trevor’s ordeal no joke
“TREVOR EASTMOND say so!” and “You have to clap for that!” are two lines with which any Barbadian or West Indian lover of comedy would be familiar. For you can’t be from this region, be a lover of comedy and not be familiar with Eastmond. And you could not have attended an Eastmond performance or listened to one of his CDs and not heard the lines.
As has been reported in Nation publications in recent weeks, the folks at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital have not been doing anything “because Trevor Eastmond say so”, and poor Trevor doesn’t have a lot to clap about these days.
Long known by the nickname “Dynamite”, these days he can’t risk an explosion because each hour he has to concentrate his energy on fighting the pain that attacks his body as he is now into his eighth year of waiting for surgery at the QEH to replace both hips.
His life is confined to limping, crawling and dragging himself around his home, a far cry from the “Dynamite” who “mashed up” stages all over the region as well as North America and Europe for decades.
And as is now common knowledge, his problem has been compounded because the QEH has apparently been unable to supply him with medical notes to facilitate alternative surgery in Cuba, which has offered to assist him.
But if you had a chance to talk with Eastmond, you would recognise that the heartache he feels cuts him much deeper than any pain from the damaged hips. Eastmond thought he had the kind of relationship with officials at the hospital that would have led them to treat him with the same compassion which he showed to them whenever they called on him to perform at their functions.
“Roy, you would believe I am the same person who used to perform at their employee morale booster sessions whenever they call me, and that I am the same person who performed at their annual awards ceremony for years and never asked for a cent.
“I always used to tell them I ain’t tekking no money because one day I gine end up here, and now look how they treating me,” he said.
After making numerous requests for the notes, he said, he was told in December last year he had to pay first and the hospital would provide them within 90 days. He said he paid on December 28 and is still waiting.
“Last week Tuesday I went to the hospital and when the … nurse saw me coming she said, ‘Mr Eastmond, you don’t have to keep no more noise, we have found your notes’. Man, I felt so good, but when I went inside Dr Crookendale told me he still had not received my records and that I should go to the Risk Department and make a complaint.
“I told him, I ain’t going nowhere but home and pray to my God and to give me enough medication to keep me for the 90 days because I am not coming back until then. I have counted from the 28th of December to the 28th of March and if I don’t get what I paid for by then I am going to get a lawyer and if I have to I going all the way to the CCJ.”
After eight years of interaction with staff at the hospital, Eastmond said: “I will tell you the truth; if I had millions of dollars I would give it all to them. That hospital needs a real injection, no pun intended.
“And it has too many bosses … There is a different boss for everything and what a lot of people don’t seem to realise is that this is not about me, because when something serious happens to you it does not matter how many private doctors you can afford, you still end up at the QEH…
“But since I can’t change the hospital, I gine change me. I keeping quiet til de 90 days up. Dr Crookindale gave me a prescription to cover the time and I gine bear my pain at home, but tell them people don’t believe that because I down I out. I will fight them with my last breath.”
But why should Trevor Eastmond have to do that? Why is it so hard for the QEH to provide him with notes so he can get the surgery that will ease his pain and allow him to return to the stage and earn a living? Why is it that I get the impression that those who can help really don’t care if he suffers?
You mean there is not even a politician around with enough heart to call the people at the hospital and gently nudge them to provide the report to Eastmond? Okay, I accept you can’t do the surgery, but it surely can’t take a week to compile medical notes.
Tell me which member of the House of Assembly or Senate has been told, or would be told, to wait three months for medical records.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart recently admonished citizens to drop some of the bad habits who have picked up over 50 years of Independence — treating some among us as second-class citizens would be a habit worth dropping.
Trevor, boy, I wish I could do more. You will have to bear your pain like a man until someone at the hospital grows a heart. In the meanwhile I will say a prayer that I don’t get sick.