Saturday, 17 August 2013

An emergency on a Saturday afternoon

There I was in A & E for three long hours this afternoon. I have to say that I am so proud to be British- we do things in our own way, some of it chaotic, most of  it genuine and occasionally, we strike gold. Our National Health Service is a gem- a prime example of something so darn good, it should be shouted from the rooftops. But back to me....

I arrived and was asked the usual question- what is your date of birth? They found me on the system and then told me to sit down. I sat and observed a mottley crue come and go.

A man who was holding several tissues to his eye. A middle aged man with blood pouring out of the right side of his head, trickling down his ear and onto the floor. An angelic-faced child wearing a long-sleeved white nightie with blood all over it (like something out of The Omen). A blond young boy in his mum's arms, huge gashes across his face. "He got tangled in barbed wire," the mum wailed as the child buried his bloodied face in her neck. A teenager hobbling in with her mum who could be heard explaining how a horse stood on her daughter's foot. An elderly woman, beautifully dressed, led in by her man servant and who berated the receptionist loudly: "I'VE COME TO SEE MY HUSBAND WHO IS DYING. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? TAKE ME TO HIM AT ONCE." A woman, no more than 30, accompanied by her parents, all wrinkled  and toothless and her young daughter of around seven. " I fainted twice today, what's wrong with me?" the woman whispered, "I need to see someone, please." A man of about sixty who barely able to stand and his face a throbbing red, telling the receptionist that he was breathless and feeling very unwell.

Three hours of my life and what an eye opener. We forget the great mass that is humanity with all its stories and in all its glory. We are all different and yet we all suffer in the same way.

When it was finally my turn and as a doctor was seeing to me, needle in hand, another doctor unexpectedly popped his head in and demanded guidance from his colleague on a matter. It was as if I was invisible. We are. We come into this world and occasionally suffer. That soon passes. And many more, just like us, will take our place.

 A fox encounters a pigeon. On the way home from hospital today.
Photo copyright SvD.

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