A trip in an ambulance.

It was almost inevitable.  Thursday before last I had a telephone consultation with the surgeon who removed eight inches of small intestine and three hours worth of scar tissue, eighteen months ago.  I told him I was wonderful, better than I had been for ages.  I practically set myself up, I should listen to myself, I really should.

Therefore I was not all that surprised a week later to be riding into hospital in an ambulance wired up to assorted machines.

Fate has Big Ears (Noddy will not pay the ransom.)  Sounding off about how well I was!  Have I learned nothing (apparently not)?

It began, I thought, the previous Saturday. (Just a day and a half after I was bragging about how well I was.)  The OH, having joined three archery societies but fallen out with two of them, we were off to the Christmas dinner of the one he still likes.  On the way he was doing boy racer on the big roundabout.  A car coming in from the left, unprepared for the OH’s car looming at speed out of the mist, nearly ran into the side of us, specifically the side I was sitting on.  I thought I was having a heart attack but gave myself a talking to and by the time we got out to the village where the restaurant was, I was OK.  The OH parked in the pub car park, so to be valid customers we went in and had a drink, then crossed the road to the restaurant.  We were seated at a large round table with various archers, had a nice meal and assorted chat and then left so the OH could make his way to another pub having dropped me at home.

By the Tuesday I was beginning to feel a bit off.  I had stomach ache, going through to my back and wondered if my intestines were playing up.  Resorting to the usual remedy I stopped eating to let them rest but felt worse.  The following day, it being bin day, I just did a lot of gardening to clear up the garden, mostly the wisteria leaves and the remnants of the squash, easily filling the green bin and thinking as always what a blessing green bins are and how very superior to trekking to the dump with soggy bags.

Thursday morning I was going to have a little lie in because I wasn’t feeling very well at all.  That desire was foiled by the OH, up uncharacteristically early, bursting in to my bedroom shouting ‘The central heating isn’t working and there’s no hot water.  You know how to do this!’  There followed quite a bit of running round a cold house in my pyjamas but I eventually got the boiler working and phoned the plumber to book a service in the new year.  By this time I was aware I had chest pains and was feeling very not well.

Arrived downstairs, I made myself a cup of tea, emptied the dishwasher, opened the curtains and generally got things started.  The OH came down. asked what was wrong and suggested I ring the doctor even though it was going to be difficult because I didn’t have the app.  An app!  When did you have to have an app to get a doctor?  And how was appless I supposed to do so?  I rang the surgery and by waiting and pressing various numbers on the phone was able to speak to a receptionist.  I said I wished to speak to a doctor when convenient as I had chest pains.  She immediately said that I must hang up and call an ambulance.  I didn’t, of course.  I rang the NHS consultation line on 111 and after about quarter of an hour of Q & A they said they were sending an ambulance, no arguing.  Ten minutes later it arrived.

Which is how about half an hour later after giving instruction to the OH on how to post the parcel, silver service, with the Christmas present to a friend that was ready on the table and running around upstairs assembling a bag in case I was kept in overnight for the OH to bring in the eventuality, I was sitting in an ambulance partially dressed  but wired up.

You can say what you like about the NHS, and many people do, but on this occasion they were fast.  I was round the back of the hospital decanted, walked to the ward, in a room and hooked up to an ECG machine before you could say heart attack, which, by the way, I never at any juncture thought I was having.  I didn’t have arm pains, or jaw ache, just a very sharp pain right in the middle of my chest. I was there all day.  I was Xrayed, blood tested, prodded, (‘What a scar!  Good gracious, you don’t often see them that long!  You have had bowel surgery and no  mistake!’) history taken and everything else.  There was even a nice young man, waiting with his girlfriend (yes some people accompany their families to hospital, that must be nice) who gave up his seat for me, when I came back from Xray (‘Oh I say, Mrs. Laverick, that’s a really impressive amount of metal you have in your arm, my goodness you don’t see that every day!’) and there were no seats.

By the time I got to see the consultant, who listened to my chest and the artery in my neck, the pain had resolved itself into two pains at the top of my lungs, that fortunately only hurt when I breathed.  So I was not that surprised to be told I had something wrong with my lungs which was pleurisy but was surprised to be told there are five different viral varieties going around currently. I was given a prescription which I collected, eventually, from the pharmacy at half past five.

As there was building work going on it was impossible to wait for the OH in the dry so I stood on the drive and rang and twenty minutes later was home, even though we only live five minutes from the hospital because there was a traffic queue so the OH went the pretty way.  At home having had nothing to eat or drink all day I put the kettle on and the OH was quite glad of a cup of tea, if I was making one.

The following day he had to return to the restaurant because they had got the bill wrong, so while he was there he collected a take out and I had half of that yesterday evening.  I’m still off my grub, and only able to sleep sitting up but I am so glad it was nothing worse.  I would have to say I didn’t know people were getting pleurisy these days, it sounds very 1940s to me.  The OH says that if it is viral, antibiotics are useless, which is true but not very comforting.  The OH declares himself quite upset and not feeling well after all the palaver of waiting at home in the warm for a phone call to see if I had died or not (I had not.  I rang him and told him halfway through the afternoon.)

I am so glad just to have pleurisy.  I’ll have a few days getting up at nine and not working out until the pain has gone away.  And despite not having the app, the NHS did the job when I needed them, how do I like them appless?  Quite a lot, as I turns out.


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