In A&E – But Not For Me

Strange to be on the other side of the sick bed. My friend was visiting when he started having terrible stabbing and tingling pains over half his face, along with a pressure headache and a painful eye. Hmm, sounding slightly neurological, no?

After a bit of kerfuffle (‘I’m not sick, me man, we are strong’), I managed to drag/push him through the doors of our local A&E, marched him up to the desk and got him booked in. We got seen pretty quickly, a huge range of tests were carried out, he was prodded and poked and we speedily googled everything they told us. I had great fun pulling the ECG tabs from his chest and when the lunch trolley came round, we shared some corned beef and pickle sandwiches, chatted away and tried to stay calm.

Hospitals are funny places. All human life is here. In the opposite cubicles, a man was lying all on his own, the man next to him was having his arm put back into its socket and there was a tiny lady with whispy hair wandering around talking to everyone about her walking stick and a suit she should have been wearing (no, me neither).

I clearly remember being in the same assessment unit, just over a year ago. I was frightened and in a state of shock. I had booked myself in because I woke up and couldn’t speak properly – mixing up words, unable to find the right word, generally talking more rubbish than usual. All this kind of made me thankful that the whole diagnostic process was now behind me. After a year of tests, knock-backs, uncertainty and fear, yes, I have MS. But at least I know what I am dealing with.

Within a couple of hours, the doctor decided my friend wasn’t having a stroke or suffering from anything seriously neurological, it was an episode of trigeminal neuralgia. Painful but treatable. We collected his prescription and left. It was good to feel useful in an emergency and for it not always to be about me. He is now resting at home. I hope. Knowing him, he’ll be back at work. Oi, if you’re reading this, get back on that sofa and look after yourself – you never know when I might need your help again….

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