Yesterday, I was in A&E. Today, I’m typing 30,000ft up, en route to Tenerife.
As all Brits know, the worst possible time to be admitted to A&E is a Saturday night. And that’s where I found myself, after being admitted by an out-of-hours GP. As the doctor explained, Covid had exhausted my immune system, making me vulnerable to my usual maladies. This is what I learned.
- There’s no privacy and little dignity in A&E. If I had felt up to it and was feeling nefarious, I could have recorded the names of many patients and their various diagnoses. I can tell you who is struggling to pee and who drilled a hole in their own hand. Medical data is meant to be the most sensitive of data types under GDPR, yet standard hospital practice is to ignore a patient’s privacy. Data issues aside, the nurses and doctors were exemplary, and I’m indebted.
- Most people had to wait more than four hours to seen, including children, and there weren’t enough beds. Desperate though I was to lie down, I couldn’t. So, I spent five hours on a wheelchair in the waiting room, with a cannula in my arm. This is a disgrace (as Liz Truss would say, to describe the lack of British cheese exports). For a time, I was opposite a prisoner, surrounded by prison officers. With the prisons full, with rapists dodging jail time due to incompetent governance, perhaps this is where the Government are now sending would-be inmates. Nothing would surprise me.
- As is the system, there is hardly any communication from the staff. Had this been a Deliveroo, or a booking at TGI Fridays, then I might have had some indication as to what was happening and approximately how long I was likely to wait. It’s 2023, for goodness’ sake. The digital revolution has largely bypassed the NHS. The not knowing is hard to take, particularly when our babysitter wants to go home.
- Without friends and relatives to support you, you’re knackered. Good luck getting a drink, or some food, for fear of missing your slot. And should you eat, or drink, when you feel nauseous and awaiting an unknown medical procedure? Who knows. Mark my words, if you need to go to A&E, take someone with you.
- With the Middle East in crisis, at any point I was expecting Israelis and Palestinians to enter clutching dying children. With the Israeli demand to evacuate hospitals in half of Gaza, I counted my lucky stars that I wasn’t being evacuated.
- Harrogate Hospital radio is excellent! Deliriously, listening to Whitney Houston’s I want to dance with somebody and my wedding dance, Red Red Wine, by UB40, was most uplifting. When feeling rubbish, upbeat music is a must, particularly on a Saturday night!
- Throughout the unpleasantness of the situation, I noted as many nuggets of wisdom I could harvest. I guess there’s two choices in moments like these: either grow from the experience, or let it take you down. I choose growth. It wasn’t so bad.
Back to Tenerife, following the heatwave which closed my Academy last week, I hope that the weather and the general deliciousness of this tropical paradise, aids the recovery. It’s not a coincidence that Puerto De La Cruz, where the Academy is located, is where Churchill and Agatha Christie went to get well. They were onto something: natural remedies are optimal.
(For those who ask, I have a few medical issues, though they are all interconnected: I suffer from chronic and acute prostatitis, which becomes quite serious, quite quickly; I have fluroquinolone associated disability, caused by too many strong antibiotics to deal with the prostatitis, meaning that I am allergic to the antibiotics which I often need; I suffer from dysautonomia, which causes dizziness, low blood pressure and fatigue; on top of this, I have hypothyroidism and coeliac disease, both autoimmune conditions, which probably triggered everything else.
But given that for 99.9% of human history most humans died in childbirth, or before they were five years old, and given that the richest man who ever lived died of tonsilitis, in a pre-antibiotic’s world, and given that 12 of Marcus Aurelius’ 13 children pre-deceased him, I have no complaints. This is the best time in history to be alive.)
Images courtesy of Dall-E-3 – the prompt was.. every word of this blog – creating all four images. Just wow!