Recently, while waiting in a hospital’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) area, I was struck by several things. Firstly, there were such different, and rather extraordinary, incidents that had brought people into this place—not surprisingly—but still eye-opening. Then, it was curious and rather interesting to watch the diversity of moods and reactions that unfolded, while waiting, for a doctor’s attention.
While waiting—and all up, we were in A&E for five hours on a Saturday morning—it did strike me that my husband and I were as much a part of this rather macabre pageant, as anyone else. The irony did not evade me as I watched and found myself being watched by others; not all of whom were handling the situation well (understandably), as their companions suffered, in relatively enduring silence … while waiting.
Imagine, if you will, the following: a young, skinny male’s bleeding head wound—apparently the result of a drunken brawl in the early hours of the morning; an old, paunchy male in a sweating t-shirt struggling to breathe and whose heart was being monitored, while waiting; a couple of other men: one who was limping badly; another with a big brown stain on the seat of his pants—who wasn’t in the waiting area long enough to sit down, thankfully, but who looked like he was about to pass out at any moment; and then, three pregnant women—age range 20-30 years. Two of the women were there about concerns for their unborn baby whilst the third woman was there supporting her partner with a swollen face: a tooth abscess that, one can only assume, he had hoped would magically ‘go away’!
While waiting, everyone spoke in monotones and suffered in admirable silence … luckily, no dire events unfolded while we were there.
Thankfully, for us, although we did resort to A&E, our ‘trouble’ dissipated and has since resolved itself. None of the descriptions above was relevant to what took us there! As I’m always one to look for a silver lining, the content for this article brewed like a good cup of tea while waiting!
I’m reminded of an episode that my mum endured when she had only been in Africa for a little while. She wakes up in the hospital following a car accident and her first thought is for their dog, Bambi, who was in the car with her, my dad, and their friend, Abramo; a car similar to the one in the photo behind my parents. The following is an extract from Ciao! We’re in Africa. #whilewaiting #hospital #Africa
"Iucci. Cara mia. Come ti senti? How do you feel?" Eugenio's concerned face slowly comes into focus. A fluttering curtain behind him distracts my attention. I stare at the white and unfamiliar material incomprehensibly. I’m in a room that I don’t recognise.
"We're in the hospital. The car somersaulted. The butt of the rifle must have hit you. There's blood on the rifle and a gash at the back of your head. No, don't touch it!" He stops my right hand as I lift it to my head. His voice continues in a similar staccato statement of facts. "You’ve five stitches. You've just regained consciousness after two hours. The doctor said you'll feel unbalanced for a while yet."
I still haven't spoken, and I lick my dry lips.
"I can give you some water if you're thirsty?"
"Si. Grazie," I croak.
After a couple of sips, I slowly lever myself up to a half-sitting position.
"Abramo's got a broken arm,” continues Eugenio laconically. “He was also a bit concussed so he's in the room across the hall. The car's fine. We landed the right way up. Apart from a few dents it still started up first time. So, I made sure we were all secure and drove here as fast as possible. There was a lot of blood coming out of that head wound!"
He's eyeing me disapprovingly as if it's my fault. I'm about to retort with some sarcastic comment when I have a dreadful thought.
"E Bambi? Dov’e’? Sta bene? And Bambi? Where is she? Is she okay?" I feel tears threaten.
My husband's eyes widen. His mouth opens and then closes. "O Dio! I forgot all about Bambi!"
"Hai dimenticato? You forgot?!" I feel sick and then furious. My voice wobbles alarmingly as I shout. "Get out of here! Go. Go and find her! Don't you dare come back until you have Bambi!"