NINE months after first having a gallstone problem diagnosed and becoming yellow like "a Simpsons character", Cassie Metcalfe has been left exhausted waiting for her pain to be fixed.
The North Albury mother has gone public with her situation and raised it with MP Bill Tilley to highlight the poor state of Albury Wodonga Health.
After aches "like food poisoning on steroids" last September and jaundice, Mrs Metcalfe was diagnosed with gallstones.
"I was a Simpsons character, I was bright yellow," she said of her appearance.
The supermarket worker then had her gall bladder removed and a stent put in the bile duct where a stone remained.
That stent was due to be removed within six to eight weeks, but Mrs Metcalfe said there had been "eight to nine" cancellations of surgery with Albury hospital bed woes and COVID issues blamed.
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In May, it was discovered there was remnant gall bladder in addition to the stented stone.
Then Friday week ago, Mrs Metcalfe said she was informed her operation would occur last Monday, only to be told 12 minutes later that was not possible.
"I'm living off coffee most of the time and even eating a banana makes me violently ill," she said of the impact of not having surgery.
"I've lost 20 kilos since all this started."
"I reckon that would be quicker than trying to get into the hospital," Mrs Metcalfe said.
She says the anxiety and uncertainty about operations has left her frustrated and admits she has apologised to hospital staff after they have "copped my bad mood".
"It's at the point where I've chewed up all my sick leave, nearly all my holiday pay and I haven't got much left of my long service leave due to all my cancellations," Mrs Metcalfe said.
She raised her concerns with Mr Tilley, saying the fault with the system did not lie with hospital staff but the health service's political administration.
Mr Tilley noted Mrs Metcalfe's case last week in parliament when he asked Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley what he was doing to fix the immediate pressure on beds and elective surgery waiting lists at Albury Wodonga Health.
Mr Foley replied the government was "investing record amounts in the service delivery of Albury Wodonga Health" but noted COVID had hit surgery waiting lists.
The minister also referred last week to the Border service as "world class".
When asked what she thought of that description by Mr Foley, Mrs Metcalfe suggested he should "get sick and go there himself and go look at it".
That will not be occurring with Mr Foley resigning as Health Minister on Friday after not having visited the Border during his stint.
His replacement Mary-Anne Thomas, who grew up at Sandy Creek and did year 12 at Wodonga High School, will be officially sworn into the portfolio today.
New hospital lobby group Better Border Health representative Di Thomas said she was pleased somebody with ties to the area was in the role.
Having attempted unsuccessfully to meet with Mr Foley, Ms Thomas said her group planned to write to her to seek to "give her a briefing on the campaign for a new hospital".
Ongoing staffing difficulties last week forced Albury Wodonga Health to adopt its third code yellow this year to tackle resourcing priorities.
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