13 August 2006

One Night in Treliske

Apologies to Murray Head and Bangkok!
Having had a day at work feeling pretty awful, with chest pain, dizziness, hot sweats and “pins and needles in my right arm, Maria organised me a doctor’s appointment when I arrived home; apparently I was not looking at all well. As a result of that appointment, and despite an ECG which seemed to prove that my heart was working as it should, I ended up in an ambulance on my way to Treliske in Truro. No Blue flashing lights, so it was a fairly gentle journey. I have travelled the coast road from Newquay to Chiverton Cross hundreds, if not thousands, of times, but never looking backwards - most strange. Another ECG in the ambulance, same result as before; I was made to chew an aspirin - not especially nice, and was given a spray under the tongue.
Arriving at Treliske, the height of embarrassment was being delivered to the A&E reception on a trolley - fortunately I didn’t know anyone. I was the third person in a queue of trolleys waiting to be booked in so I had another ECG and had preliminary information noted. About ¾ hour later, I was moved onto a bed and the ambulance crew were freed to go back on standby for their next job. Maria and Annette arrived at this time so I now had someone to talk to. I was subsequently moved into a cubicle and a doctor duly arrived to carry out an assessment. After this, I was sent for a chest X-Ray, and subsequently moved to the Medical Admissions Ward having been told by the doctor that I was “in for the night”. This Ward is a sort of half-way house, whilst patients are allocated beds in an appropriate Ward. It was mixed and the eight bed section that I was in had three ladies and five men. Shortly after that one of the ladies was taken off to a different Ward.
About 22:45, there was a panic in a bed opposite and the crash team arrived and spent about 20 minutes trying to revive a gentleman, without success I am afraid. It was very much like a scene from Casualty or Holby City, except that we couldn’t see anything; the dialogue, however, was instantly recognisable.
Having solved any number of Sudoku puzzles, I tried to get to sleep about midnight with only limited success. Constant movement of beds in and out, and lots of snoring contrived to keep me awake, but, when I think of the really ill people, my lack of sleep was small penitence for being fairly well.
Morning dawned to show a few changes, with one lady, who I had seen with her husband in A&E the night before, snuggled up in a chair next to hubby’s bed. It transpired that they were Canadian and on a Cruise which had called in at Falmouth. When he felt unwell, he was brought to Treliske, very much like me, for tests to see whether or not there was any heart damage. Since then the ship had sailed for Holyhead on Anglesey before sailing on to Dublin. The couple, once he was declared fit to travel, which was about 08:30, were left with the problem of catching up with the ship. Getting easily to Holyhead from almost anywhere is almost impossible, but from Cornwall, is desperate. I believe that in the end, they paid for a taxi, which was going to cost in the region of £500. I just hope that there travel/medical insurance covered that.
I had some more blood taken and after about 1½ hours, the results came back as negative, so no heart damage; once seen by yet another doctor, I was told that I could go home. Maria and Annette arrived about 12:30 and that concluded my Night in Treliske.

My personal experience was good; The ambulance staff were efficient and very pleasant and did not seem to mind that, outwardly anyway, I was reasonably fit. The hospital staff were exceptionally busy but friendly and efficient. Only once did I hear words of frustration, and I believe that we are all entitled to a little grumpiness now and then. I was admitted to A&E about 18:00 and it was busy then and that was before most of the Friday night fights and bouts of drinking had resulted in the inevitable increase in objectionable behaviour; even then, there were a couple of policemen accompanying someone who I could not see.

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