On the hottest, sunniest day of the year so far, where’s the obvious place – or even places – to visit? Why, Yate Minor Injuries Unit and then the A&E at Southmead. Six and a half hours of my life I’ll never get back.
Having made a return to cricket yesterday, I was not expecting to be heading off for treatment on a busted finger today, but that’s what happens when old people think they’re not old anymore. In trying to make a catch, I hurt my finger.
After an age at Yate, the triage nurse said “I am 90% certain your finger is broken. However, we don’t have X Ray facilities on the weekend, so you’ll need to go to Southmead A&E.” “Why the hell didn’t you send me to Southmead in the first place, then?” I didn’t ask. And so it was that I sat inside Southmead’s NHS wonder and waited. And waited. And waited.
I decided to earn some brownie points by telling the doctor who examined me that I supported the junior doctors. “You and I will get along just fine!” he smiled before sending me off for an X Ray. Condensing well over three hours into a one minute blog does not tell the full story, but suffice to say he said: “There is a crack in the finger. Nothing has moved, no need to set anything, not even a splint.” “So what shall I do?” “Keep it moving. Mind how you go!” He didn’t really say the last bit, but I would have been happy if he had said it.
Given that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described doctors as “work shy lazy bastards who don’t work weekends and who are killing patients in order to fleece more money from the taxpayer” (I think that was the gist of what he said) I was surprised to see a good few doctors at work on the sabbath. I wasn’t really, but it was how hard they were working that I found particularly awesome. Junior rugby players (three of them, all with head injuries), senior citizens who were rushed in after a fall, a woman whose leg had swollen up like a balloon and, of course, a stupid middle aged bloke who should know better than to play cricket at his age. The world and his wife was there.
I don’t know how the doctors do it. It is relentless – they just don’t stop. And in A&E, everything works like clockwork. For their sins, they get abuse too, lots of it on a Friday and Saturday night, today one bloke got lairy when a doctor pronounced his daughter’s name wrong, surely the most important thing of all, if you are a complete knob, that is.
It wasn’t an afternoon wasted, not really. My mind was at rest when I left, knowing that I only had a crack in my finger and it was nothing very serious. Better still it required no treatment at all, apart from a lovely glass of Prosecco, that is. The doctor didn’t actually say that, but I am sure he would have if he’d remembered.