Accident and Emergency
So the task from my writers’ group was five hundred words on accident and emergency. That was three days ago. Now here I am, half past six on a Sunday morning, driving to the John Radcliffe Hospital with Nick fading fast in the passenger seat. Is that irony? Or God having a laugh? Well there is no God so it must be Mother Nature taking the piss. Ooh, there’s controversial. Father God or Mother Nature? Who’s the worst supreme being? Which one gave my partner the pneumonia, which is now sapping the life out of him?
He’s the colour of fire ashes and coughs like an asthmatic. He just sits there, with his head resting on the door pillar of the car. He’s not even flinching at my terrible gear changes. He must be sick.
So, I can do Thame to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford in under eighteen minutes. It’s official. And illegal. Officially illegal. If I’d been pulled over I had a good excuse sitting next to me, hacking up phlegm to prove the need for speed.
Thank God for the National Health Service. Or rather, thank you Nye Bevan for the National Health Service. And thank you to the one point three million people who work in it. Thank you Google for that fact. And thank you to the amazing people who are here on duty in accident and emergency today.
Seven minutes. That’s
all it took. From arriving at the reception desk to Nick having an oxygen mask
put over his face. Blood tests. Intravenous antibiotics. More blood tests, then
the X-ray that shows the storm cloud of pneumococcus over his left lung. We
take a photo. Perhaps it will be a first for Facebook. Something to share and
like. Yes! Three people like it in the first twenty minutes. Why isn’t
there a “that’s terrible”
button on Facebook? (Ed: OK, there is now..)
lying here now. His breathing is shallow, but his temperature is falling and
his oxygen levels have stabilised. It’s a start. The doctor has curly hair
falling across his baby face. He looks like Jesse Eisenberg, the actor who
played Mark Zuckerberg in the film the Social Network. Perhaps I should ask him
about the Facebook button idea. Maybe not. He might look young but he’s
got a brain the size of a planet. Like all the doctors here.
He’s on the phone, trying to find a free bed to admit Nick to the hospital. He’s making a lot of calls. Endlessly patient. Endlessly polite. But persistent. Thank goodness for his intelligent idealism. Let’s hope the dead hand of government health service reform doesn’t squeeze it from him.
Midday. Nick’s been admitted. The only bed was in infectious diseases. Inappropriate, as pneumonia isn’t infectious. But it means he gets his own room. On the ground floor with a window looking onto a garden. Well, a scattering of gravel and three pretty looking weeds. Nick’s asleep. He will get better.