24.04.2006 22:58 - My Last Brush with the National Health Service
Several you have written in, concerned that I was in hospital. Thanks for the concern, but I'm fine, and haven't been in hospital at all. In fact, it's nearly a decade since I was in a hospital.
I was in a carcrash in 1997. I walked out of the wreck, feeling just a little battered, but none the worse for wear. The real ordeal was yet to come. The ambulance men seemed a bit disappointed that I was standing up and claiming to be alright. Obviously I was spoiling their fun. So, they invited me into the ambulance, as it was raining, just for a little sit-down, they said.
So, there I am, sitting in an ambulance, thinking "oh dear, that was unfortunate" - the way you do. The ambulance man suggests a whiff of oxygen, as he says I seem a little pale. My response was somewhat abrupt, along the lines that if you'd just narrowly avoided being squashed by a bloody great Audi 4x4, you'd be a little pale. Perhaps you'd like to try a little oxygen, he says. No thanks, I said, I'm trying to give it up. This seems to puzzle him a little. People aren't supposed to make sarcastic jokes. However he keeps on at me so I agree to take a whiff, just to shut him up, because he's really getting irritating. I take a whiff. It makes me woozy, and the bastard knew it would. He suggests it's delayed shock, and that I lie down for a minute.
The next thing I know is that I'm on the bed, and trussed up like a bloody chicken, with a big collar on, "just to help against whiplash" he says. Presumably the large board that I am tied to is "just to help against whiplash". I cannot move apart from my forearms. I am taken to Hospital, and do you know what they did?
They left me there.
Behind some curtains.
For four hours.
By which time, my bladder was fit to burst.
Not only that, but I was in absolute agony, due to being tied tightly against a board, which was pushing on several unpadded points.
After four hours without even a cursory look-round the curtains. I'd had enough. I worked myself free and went off to look for the toilet, only to be confronted by a bossy nurse, who demanded that I go back. I pointed out that I needed the lavatory, and that I'd been tied to an extremely uncomfortable board and left, for four hours. She responded that the board was to prevent possible paralysis, and that I should go back. I responded that if I was left tied to that board I pretty soon would be paralysed, and how would they have known, since they hadn't bothered looking in on me for the last four hours.
That was when she made her big mistake.
"There are people worse off than you, you know".
"Right. Fine. Just show me the toilets, and I'll fuck off then, and won't bother you any further. That way you can get on with seeing all the other people worse off than me, and you won't have piss all over one of your cubicles."
I think she realised that she'd gone too far. I was allowed to go to the loo, and asked to wait whilst a doctor came to see me. By the time he did, it was another hour. He gave me a cursory inspection and allowed me to discharge myself.
I have a sneaking feeling that this was only done so that their arses were covered should I develop any later problems and come back with a lawyer in tow.
And that was my last ever brush with the National Health in the UK.