Thursday, 18 November 2010

A night (in the A&E) to remember

Well, last night was rather more eventful than expected. What started out as a few drinks with an old friend (the huntin', shootin' and fishin' DP), wound up with me spending the small hours in the A&E unit at Southampton General.

What's still a surprise to me now is that things were going swimmingly up until to about 5 minutes before they went off the rails. We'd had a nice opener of a few drinks and a chat at the Platform, then followed up with a visit to a new-ish Indian restaurant in the city centre that came highly recommended by one of our party. As it turns out, the recommendation was spot-on, and the venue and food were great.

However, just as we were close to wrapping up (and I was reflecting that, again, we'd managed to over-order; if only slightly this time), what started as mild discomfort at having eaten a lot turned into uncomfortable warmth, then steadily elevating nausea and then the fading of my vision. The former two symptoms, while unpleasant, aren't exactly new to me, but having my vision appear to degrade into fuzzy static was a novel experience. At least, not one that I usually encounter while sitting down to eat. Anyway, perturbed by the nausea, I decided to make for the restaurant's bathrooms, only to not make it there.

Next I knew, I was on the floor in the corridor that led to the bathrooms. I also felt extremely, well, attenuated, not really entirely all there. To the extent that I couldn't initially make any connection between the preceding circumstances and "waking up" on the floor. Fortunately, my fellow diners spotted my crash-landing and before long got me sat upright on some sofa that the restaurant staff had kindly directed us to. Given the outward appearance, they'd have been well within their rights to assume I was just another liquored-up punter, but they were great. As were the rest of my party, DP and JTA, both of whom did a great job sorting me out.

Anyway, after a few moments deciding what to do, during which I was still feeling rather distant, an ambulance was called (along with C). Then, in what can't have been comfortable viewing for other patrons, I was trolleyed out to the street and into the waiting ambulance. As I was still rather faded at this point, but was otherwise showing nothing too serious, the paramedics decided that they'd take me up the General for a full service.

While the journey was a bit of a blur, by the time I arrived (some indeterminate period later) I was beginning to feel like a first-order approximation to normal. After a bit of NHS bureaucracy, I was wheeled into a bay and then hooked up to another set of machines (which, painfully enough, required the removal of one set of sticky electrodes only for them to be replaced by a near-identical second set). One friendly nurse and a preliminary check-up later, and it was time for a visit from The Doctor.

Lots of questions followed about my medical history, my family's medical history and the day's history. The upshot of which was that I was diagnosed (drum-roll) as being dehydrated - a combination of a light lunch, lots of diuretic drinks (tea, a couple of beers, a coke) and a late dinner apparently. The dehydration dropped my blood pressure, and when I ate my small intestine treacherously hijacked what little was left, to the great discomfiture of my brain. Given that it was one of the strangest experiences I've had, it was a bit disappointing that it was something as mundane as dehydration. That, and I expect no shortage of jokes about putting more water in my gin in the future. Anyway, as a result of all this I got my first taste of being on a drip for the better part of an hour. Meh.

Regarding my treatment at the hands of the NHS, again no complaints from me. The staff were uniformly great, both in care and communication, and gave me an impressive working over. If I can gripe at all, there did seem to be an issue about how the relay of healthcare professionals passed the "baton". I was there for about 3 and half hours, but because of the quite large gaps between staff visits, could probably have been out at least an hour earlier, which would have freed up the slot I was occupying if nothing else. However, having thankfully not been to the A&E very often, I can't say if this was just down to the range of other patients who were in last night. Actually, on that note, I've really not the slightest of slight grounds to complain - my problems paled into insignificance compared to those of my fellow guests of the A&E.

Anyway, today I've been "resting" at home, sorting out my busted glasses (my nose looks a sight) and drinking lots of water. Overall, it's been an interesting experience, but not one I intend to ever repeat again.


chimpaction said...

Erk! Glad your OK...

Plumbago said...

More or less. Still sore from where I obliviously crashed into the restaurant floor. But otherwise intact, and now regularly drinking water (and, consequently, routinely visiting the bathroom).

Anne said...

SOOO glad you are ok!!!! Does this explain the recent uptick in FB activity as well? Take care of you!

BTW, What does "A&E" stand for? I'm guessing its what we call the ER, but over here, "A&E" is television channel known for things like Jane Austen films and other period pieces, and I was trying to work out if we were dealing with your humor here, that you were in hospital, but seeing folks in Regency dress or some such!

Ok, home and on to Thanksgiving prep for me!

Plumbago said...

The extra time on FB is partially related to this, but more to me being able to use FB to contact my brothers, who have taken to it in a way that they never took to e-mail. With Christmas coming up, I'm soliciting present suggestions at length.

Anyhow, I'm mostly OK now following my "incident". My nose still hurts, but I don't think I've broken it - the pain is just an inevitable consequence of going face first through a closed door. I think I may have given myself a new (but small) scar as a result though.

BTW, A&E is "accident and emergency". I guess it's the UK equivalent to ER. Confusingly, UK television's "ER" analogue is not called "A&E", but instead favours another colloquialism, "Casualty" (though it has no Doug Ross, so still your heart). As such, your confusion is entirely justified - although I would never have guessed that it might involve Jane Austin.

Anyway, thanks very much for the best wishes. Have a good Thanksgiving!