It was Tuesday.
It was also a Monday night to forget, though that will be a little difficult.
I had chest pains and difficulty breathing, so my daughter called an ambulance. I’ve been taking a raft of pills for rheumatoid arthritis and although they’re not doing much for the arthritis, their certainly contributing to other problems, like breathing.
There was a momentary suspicion that it might be an impending heart attack, but no, I haven’t seen this months electricity bill yet.
Two things stood out: the quick arrival of the ambulance from the time the call was made, it was a matter of minutes, and the efficiency and professionalism of the ambulance staff.
Heart attack ruled out, they still considered it wise to go to the hospital for a more rigorous check.
One never turns down an offer to ride in an ambulance, it is a better way to get to see a doctor in a hospital without having to wait hours in the emergency waiting room.
It was mad Monday at the hospital, and people were arriving by ambulance on the same scale as buses delivering children to schools.
I was about third of fourth in line. The triage section was full. We were parked in the passage, an hour wait for a bed.
Not the hospitals fault, it was just emergency overload, and a lack of beds from the weekend admissions not having been discharged. After all, the hospital, as large as it is, has to service a lot of people.
A bed became available two hours after arriving, the ambulance people can now get onto the next job. Several more severe cases were ahead of me, and next door, a suicide watch patient.
The nurse was very efficient and sorted out the details, took blood for tests, monitored heart rates and asked all the appropriate questions. I was one of five or six she was attending to.
Then the suicide patient went ballistic, and for a few minutes while restrained by security, she was sedated. It provided an insight into what hospital staff have to contend with, aside from the usual minor problems, like mine, car accidents, drug addicts who want to fight everyone, and drunks caught up in fights or falls.
I guess Monday was not a night to get sick.
Five hours after arriving I was discharged. The doctor had recommended I stay, but there were no beds available, and it had already been a long night.
As I left another two patients were arriving, the emergency waiting room was half full, it was midnight, and it was only going to get worse. To be honest I was glad to escape, one of the lucky ones to walk out under my own steam.
I could only hope things were going to get better.