Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Even more fun…!

Yesterday, at around 2.30pm, I passed out without the aid of alcohol or drugs of any description. I’d been pottering about on the ‘puter (as usual) when the two extra dogs started barking at a passing train, I got up to yell at them to shut up, and suddenly got the feeling that someone had punched me in the solar plexus, said ‘hey, you can’t have any more oxygen!’ and switched my ‘off button’.

Next thing I knew, my darling Pudsey was licking my face and whimpering for me to wake up. After cuddling her for a while (more to reassure myself than Pudsey I think) I decided it might be a good idea to call the doctor as I was feeling a tad shaky to say the least.

A very nice doctor went through the usual ‘twenty questions’ game, then told me to have a cup of tea, don’t panic, but get myself to hospital to get checked over as a precaution.

I sat there in my dressing gown and thought ‘I woke up this morning and thought I’d have a nice relaxed day, do a bit of reading, brush the dog… It’s now just after four in the afternoon and I have to go to Ealing Hospital!’.

‘Alright,’ said Pudsey, ‘just stop panicking!’

The doctor had also advised that I got someone else to drive me to hospital (very sensible) so I waited for friend to pick me up, and finally got to A&E at 7pm. Three hours later, I was feeling even worse than when I’d arrived. There’d been a nasty RTA in Hanwell, and the waiting room was packed. Being stuck in a room full of anxious people with screaming babies was not very soothing. There was some entertainment however, in the form of the token drunk with minor injuries caused by falling over due to alcohol, screaming that he’d been waiting for nearly three hours and demanding he be given a complaint form and the audience of the head of department. There's always one isn't there?

I’d begun to wonder whether or not I’d been forgotten about, as I’d been there for over three hours by that time and was starting to feel like I was going to pass out again. As I’d already done that once already and didn’t fancy doing it again, I went over to the triage nurse and asked what was occurring. I’m not sure if it was the fact I was swaying, starting to hyperventilate, on the verge of tears and relying on a pillar to hold me up or they had forgotten about me, but I was finally sent through to the treatment area.

Again I waited, this time wearing a robe with ‘for hospital use only’ printed all over it. (Why do they print that on them? To my mind it’s unlikely anyone would ever want to wear them anywhere, ever!)

A nurse came to check me over and as soon as I saw something that looked rather sharp and needle-like I wanted to say ‘I feel fine, I wanna go home now! Please don’t stab me!!’ and being the wuss I am in any hospital situation, promptly burst into tears. Fortunately, I didn’t get stabbed.

Anyway, after the nurse had checked I was still alive, the doctor came over and we went over what had happened again. After being prodded, looked at and ECG’d, the doctor reassured me that I was going to live. Yay. One reason for my blacking out was a ‘good old fashioned, straight forward faint’ caused by getting up too quickly and getting a head rush. Another could be that I had my first proper ‘panic attack’. Either way, I’ve been told I have to take it easy, get plenty of rest, and avoid stress as much as possible (Hah, easier said than done), and to come back if it happened again.

I now have my ECG pads stuck to my monitor and the words ‘Don’t panic!’ in large friendly letters on my desktop.

As kind and reassuring as all the staff were, I really don’t want to go back to hospital, and I REALLY don’t want to black out like that again.

If anybody from Ealing A&E department is reading this, then ‘Thank you for looking after a very nervous and scared patient so well!’

And my own personal ‘hero of the hour’ Pudsey, has been spoilt rotten too…