This is the first of two posts.
What type of Medic are you?
How do you want to be seen by your patient?
I woke up all of a sudden with a feeling as though someone was plunging a knife deep into my guts and slowly twisting it around and around. At the same time, I knew that if I didn’t manage to get to the bathroom, there was going to be a whole lot of mess in and around my bed.
Sitting on the side of the bed, I flicked on the bedside light and looked into the mirrored doors on the wardrobe at the far side of the room. I looked as white as the sheets on the bottom of the bed. I rubbed my face with my hands which quickly became covered in the cold sweat that was pouring off my forehead. I could feel the bedclothes wet beneath me from the moisture that was coming from the pores all over my body. The room was spinning,
I knew this feeling well, I had been in hospital for this same thing 3 times in the last two months, but was still waiting for someone to tell me what it was. Sure, I had plenty of doctors telling me what it wasn’t, but that didn’t really help the dread I was now feeling, knowing that yet again, I was going to be off to the hospital.
Sarah, my wife, sat up in bed then cuddled into me
“Oh, honey…..Not again!”
“Call me an ambulance Sarah, I need to go back in”
I stood to go through to the bathroom. As my feet touched down onto the carpet and I pushed up off the bed, my world span in circles and I dropped to my knees. Sarah was there in a second, phone to her ear talking to the Ambulance Service.
“No, he has just collapsed, please send an ambulance”
I lay down on the floor placing my head onto the carpet. The pain was intense, I couldn’t remember it ever being this bad.
After what seemed like an age, I heard sirens approaching. I prayed that they were for me.
Sure enough, I glanced towards the curtains and saw the strobing effect of the blue lights as they entered the street. Not long now……..
Sarah ran downstairs to open the door, and shortly after, I could hear the muffled conversation of a male voice in the hallway.
As I lay on the carpet, I opened my eyes and looked up to see an ambulance man standing next to Sarah.
“So whats going on then?”
I explained what was happening as best as I could. I told him about my past hospital visits, how I was going for more tests soon and how poorly I felt. I tried to explain what it was like, but to be honest, I don’t think he was listening to everything I was saying. Every time I had finished telling him something, all I got was a ‘Aha..’. He stood there, at the door way to my bedroom with his hands in his pockets, looking all the world like the last place he wanted to be in this world was in my bedroom.
The pain started to come back again and I cried out..
“Please…..can you just do something for the pain!”
“Alright mate…..in a minute….I just need to see what is going on first”
I could feel myself feeling sickly again and instead of pleading for pain killers, I decided to concentrate on not vomiting again.
Next thing I knew, I had a clip thing on my finger and he was pulling the sleeve of my top up and putting a blood pressure machine on it.
I heard him asking Sarah questions….
“So he has had this pain before?”
“And he was last in the hospital last week?”
“Since this pain is not new, is there a reason why you didn’t call the doctor instead of ringing 999?”
I could feel myself starting to get angry..
“Look, can you please just give me something for the pain. I called 999 because I needed help and I need it now ok??”
“Right mate, just calm down ok! You’re not helping anything by shouting at me ok? I will get you something for the pain in a minute. Just calm down and concentrate on your breathing a bit.”
Calm down and concentrate on my breathing??? Why wont he just do something for my pain? I looked over to Sarah, and I knew that she could tell how sore I was. It was her turn to speak up.
“Im sorry, I don’t know your name, but he really does need some pain killers. Can you just give him something? When he goes to hospital he usually gets some Morphine which really helps his pain”
“I cant give him any Morphine because if I take the pain away, then the doctors wont be able to see how sore he was and where the pain was. The ambulance wont be too long. They will get him up to hospital so the doctors can sort him out ”
After that, he sat down on the end of the bed and just started writing on a clipboard. The pain was unbearable, but as I lay there looking at him, I knew there was no point in trying again to get him to give me something. He didn’t care! Why is he even in this job?
After a little while the nausea returned and I started vomiting, over and over again. I really did think that I was dying. I know people say that men like to exaggerate, but this honestly did feel like It was the end. I started begging the paramedic to help me, but all I got in return was again to be told to ‘calm down’ and ‘stop forcing your vomiting….If you relax, the pain will ease a little’
Eventually, the proper ambulance came and I swear that I saw him roll his eyes a little as he was explaining to the other two ambulance men that I had “some abode pain, but he has had it many times before. He has been back and forth to the hospital but they cant seem to find anything wrong. Oh….and he says that the only thing that helps him is morphine! ”
“Ok matey, lets get you up off the floor”
The two new ambulance drivers came to either side and put thier arms under mine and hoisted me off the floor. The world started to spin again, and the pain came flooding back as I was forced into a standing position. Sarah looked horrified.
“He cant walk, look at him, he is going to pass out”
“He will be fine love, we will help him down the stairs. Sometimes it does them good to get up and about when they have a bit of tummy pain”
With that I was led down the stairs and onto the ambulance. I guess I should be grateful that they let me lie down on the bed.
“So, my mate says that Morphine helps the pain?”
“Yes, it usually takes the pain away..”
“Ok, but this time, I am going to try you on a special gas which will really help”
I was instructed on how to use the gas, which did help the pain, but whenever I stopped breathing it in, the pain came back.
Before I knew it, I was on a stretcher in the corridor of the hospital. The ambulance man came and took the gas away from me and then started talking to the nurse again. I could hear him tell the nurse and everyone else in the corridor what was wrong with me, and again, he seemed to be concentrating on the fact that I keep coming back and asked for Morphine. Does he think that I am making this up?? Does he think that I am a junkie???
But you know what?
I was past caring, I was in hospital now, and maybe some one trained to look after people was going to come and help me know.
A nurse walked up to me..
“Hello Mr Jackson, my name is Sophie and I am going to look after you tonight.”