Friday, 13 April 2007

NOT the Easter weekend I was expecting.

On Easter Saturday myself and Mrs W took the 3 girls to Chessington World of Adventure. There was no traffic, we got there just as the gates opened, the sun was shining, what could go wrong.?

I managed just two rides. Dragons Fury was great fun, a roller coaster that also spins your carriage round as you turn the sharp corners and hit the dips and peaks. We came off it with Mrs W's screams still ringing in my ears. My second and last ride of the day was in the back of an ambulance.

Without boring you with the details, I had what can only be described as a "funny turn". After having a twenty minute sit down and still feeling no better I headed for the park's medical room expecting a paracetamol, a sit down and hopefully a free cup of tea. Instead I was taken aback at quite how quickly they decided an ambulance was needed, and almost before I knew it I was on my way to Kingston Hospital.

It turned out I had suffered a Transient Ischaemic Attack, or a mini-stroke. The doctors at the hospital insisted that several tests were needed (I wasn't 100% with it, but hearing that you need a brain scan sinks in very quickly !). After 24 hours they agreed with me that it was pointless taking up one of their beds for days so far away from home simply to await tests that I could arrange to have done locally and let me go.

Can I just say now, I have nothing but praise for all of the medical staff involved. The medics at Chessington (although they didn't tell me at the time) had immediately made the correct diagnosis. We left the girls (aged 12 14 and 17) at the park and the staff even offered to stay as long as it took after closing "babysitting" if necessary for us to get back and collect them. The ambulance crew were simply great and all the time I was at Kingston I felt that I was being attended to and looked after. After not even seeking help until around 12.30pm I had been taken in, thoroughly assessed and was up in a ward well before 6pm. My only criticism was the lack of chocolate eggs as an option for Easter Sunday's breakfast.

Contrast the above with the next day, a near 4 hour wait at Southampton (after producing a letter from Kingston explaining all test results and listing what tests were required) to have approximately 2 minutes with a doctor only to be told an appointment to attend a clinic would be sent to me before they could do anything more. Clearly all hospitals aren't the same.

I've always gone through life assuming this sort of thing only happens to other people. It's only when something does happen you realise how much arranging needs to be done. The girls (and the car) stayed at Chessington whilst Mrs W came with me to Kingston. How far away was that? Neither of us had the slightest idea. Where was the car? Not having driven there, Mrs W had paid no attention to where it was parked. Luckily the girls had ignored my instructions to leave their mobiles at home so Mrs W was able to stay in touch with them. She is insured to drive my car (which had little petrol remaining) but never drives long distances and to be honest had no idea where she was, she may as well have been on the moon. I managed to scribble down a basic Chessington to Southampton route for her and after finally managing to get a taxi-driver to understand that she didn't want to go to Chiswick, she managed to collect the girls and head home. She got petrol on my card (now that's a worry in itself !) and got them all safely home (despite a slight detour via Guildford town centre) within two hours. Next day my brother kindly drove her and the girls (the correct way) back up to collect me.


As I write I feel fine (apart from embarrassment and a permanent feeling of light headedness similar to jet lag) but until l I have had all the tests done and get an "All Clear" I admit to feeling not a little nervous (ok then, scared). And I'm not allowed to drive which again I have to admit I wouldn't feel safe doing so at the moment.

So if anyone of you ever gets to read this I'd like to thank Mrs W (My Hero)for helping me through it and taking all the worry off me about getting the girls home, the girls themselves for not making any fuss (although I was a little disappointed at how readily the agreed to stay in the park whilst I went to hospital LoL), my brother for picking me up and all of the various medical staff for their expert attention.

Normal service will soon be resumed.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you're back to normal now. Know what you mean about funny how quickly some front-line services decide an Ambulance is required: it puts me off phoning NHS Direct...!

    Dunno how I'd manage, living on my own, if anything did happen. I'd probably just fade away quietly until the next door neighbours reported a funny smell to environmental health...

    Family and friends are very important.

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