Saturday 14 November 2009

Friday 13 - unlucky for some...

Last night, driving through the storm on the way to the hospital emergency room, I recognised the irony that only that morning I had rubbished superstitions about Friday 13.

My partner has had a bad back for several weeks. His doctor told him to rest, exercise gently and take painkillers. Then, at about 11pm last night, he reached a little too far to pick up a glass of water, and was suddenly writhing on the floor, screaming in agony.

I immediately called for an ambulance, which arrived quickly. The paramedic and emergency care assistant - both women - were wonderful. I noticed one of them was wearing an Eye of Ra pendant, as they wheeled my partner to the ambulance, but I didn't ask if she was pagan.

My partner was whisked off to hospital in safe hands. Although I wanted to go with him to keep him company, I decided it was best to stay at home both to look after my mum, who is elderly and frail, and also to try to get some sleep as I knew I would probably need my energy later.

But I didn't get much sleep. I dozed fitfully,with bad dreams. A storm had been forecast and it hit at about midnight. I could hear the gale howling, the trees thrashing in the wind and the rain lashing at my window. I felt scared and lonely.

At about 4 O'clock in the morning, I got a phone call from the hospital asking me to pick my partner up. I put on my clothes, grabbed my coat and keys and ran out to the car.

But if the storm had been bad before then, it was about to get worse. Suddenly, the sky turned from black to white in a momentary blinding flash of lightning, followed by a huge roar of thunder. It was not a night to be driving. The storm had shed tree branches and other detritus over the road, making it an obstacle course, it was hard to see through the rain on the windscreen while the thunder and lightning continued to blind and startle me in turn. This was, indeed, the kind of night when one could believe the end of the world was nigh...

Except that, of course, it wasn't.

I got to the hospital safely and found my partner, although still in some pain, was no longer in agony and could even walk to the car for me to take him home. On the way, he told me what had happened to him.

While the ambulance had arrived quickly, and the paramedic had given him gas and air on the way to hospital to control his pain, he had had a long wait at A&E. It was a Friday night and it seemed there had been a bit of a fight at a local bar. The hospital was full of casualties of a drunken brawl and there were 15 people in the queue to see the doctor before my partner.

Eventually, he was seen and checked very carefully. The doctor told him he has a slipped disc in his spine. There is, according to the NHS website, a good chance that he will recover in 4-6 weeks, although 1 in 10 people need surgery.

The doctor prescribed very strong painkillers. They seem to be doing the trick.

However, I can't help but feel there was some lesson in all of this - like the one about it being a mistake to stand on a mountain top in a thunder storm and shout "ALL GODS ARE BASTARDS!"

Except that, sometimes, it really does seem that all gods ARE b.... (CRASH!!!)

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