Yesterday I got to spend a lovely afternoon in the surroundings of the local Casualty thanks to the bloke who after a phone call to NHS Direct was advised to visit A+E, so a few calls later to find childcare (unsuccessful) the three of us trotted on down to A+E for the wait.
Typically on a Sunday afternoon it was filled with Football players and Rugby players with limbs in funny shapes and blood coming out of all orifices. Not a pretty sight! The waiting room was the busiest I’ve seen it and this has been my local A+E for over 20 years now. Paediatric A+E was standing room only! We were lucky that he was initially seen quite quickly and overall we were pretty lucky that we didn’t wait a HUGE amount of time, I think our total A+E stay accounted to something around the region of 4 hours from start to finish. Grandma was able to come and get the lil monkey after a while which was no bad thing as I was getting rather exhausted trying to keep one eye on the bloke and another eye on him. He did give the paramedics and patients a good giggle though when he threw a grump over me forgetting to hand him the phone so he could speak to Grandma and to which he walked two metres in the door, turned around, folded his arms and sulked refusing to move and giving me the silent treatment. Everyone was in giggles around me! I however wasn’t!
After he had gone home with Grandma though I was left with my own thoughts more and that wasn’t nice. The night I spent down Paeds A+E with Simba when he was only 8 months old and had a lump under his tongue swelling up and me trying to contact his father (who we were still in touch with at the time) who then refused to come down because it was the middle of the night. As all parents know there’s nothing worse than seeing your child in pain and distress.
Then more recently there was my miscarriage in 2009. I can remember it so vividly, I can remember the conversation we had in the car on the way there, conversation isn’t really the right word, it was more mum talking at me. I can remember how eerily quiet the waiting room was, there wasn’t anyone else there, it was 6:30am on a Friday morning, why would there be? I remember sitting down for all of two seconds after checking in before the nurse called us through. I remember how numb I was. How quiet. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t do quiet. I remember watching the nurse concerned and confused about my heart rate. ( I have Sinus Arrhythmia) and wanting to do an ECG, which I remember thinking was so pointless as it wasn’t my heart that was the problem. Then all the questions about it, How long have you had your heart condition? Are you on medication? Are you under a consultant?. All I was thinking was would you please just save my baby, not worry about my bloody heart rate! Eventually around 10:30am I was taken for a scan at the early pregnancy unit. At this point I still hadn’t cried in front of Mum. I’d done all my crying after I had rung her until my brother arrived to look after Simba and then I had clammed up literally. Finally the lady called me in after sitting surrounded by happy couples for five minutes, Mum asked if I wanted her there, but I couldn’t, two days earlier there had been a strong heartbeat, I had seen it myself, but I knew today that wasn’t going to happen, I knew in my heart my little bean had gone. Within a few minutes the radiographer confirmed it. “There is no sign of a baby there” – those were her words. So cold. So routine. When I stepped out the door into Mums arms I sobbed, she knew, I didn’t need to say it. And then I just wanted to escape. I wanted to escape the place where two years earlier I had given birth to a healthy bouncing boy.
But that’s not my only bad memory of A+E sadly. Some people may remember my oldest friend passing away in February. It was that A+E that he was taken to by Ambulance. It was in that A+E that he was treated whilst they tried to figure out what was happening with him and why his body was reacting the way it was. It was that A+E that my Mum, her best friend (my 2nd Mum), spent the day with him whilst I sat only knowing what my Mum had told me on her voicemail at 8am that Sunday morning, “Stephen has been rushed to hospital in an Ambulance, I don’t know details call you when I do”. It was 4:30 by the time she rung, that may not sound that long but it felt like days. The longer there was no news I knew in my heart it wasn’t going to be good news. And when she rung and asked if my brother was with me I knew it wasn’t. Stephen passed away four days later. He lives on in those that he donated his organs too and in our hearts and minds. But he’s not here. And we all miss him so much. The amount of times I think back to my childhood and he’s there in it. But I cant reminisce with him and asks him if he remembers those times too, because he’s not here now.
Casualty is bittersweet. The amount of times I’ve left there with a plaster cast on, or with my lil
Everyday they have hundreds of patients through those doors, some serious, some minor. I don’t think I could do their job. But for those that do they are inspiring.