Here we are again - Accident and Emergency. I should buy shares. The parking fees alone would make me a wealthy woman.
My son sports a passion for breaking bones and demolishing teeth. When he was a kid I developed neuroses around it. Medical staff gave me dubious looks when I told them, ‘yes, he has done that wrist before, three times I think. Oh wait, that was the other arm. This was only the fingers - twice.’
Now, he’s two and a half times my weight and six feet tall. I don’t get grilled any more, but I’m still on the A&E run. Do men ever grow up?
Phew; it’s too warm in here. I’ve discarded my jumper already. If I strip off the shirt I’ll be arrested, so I’ll have to perspire because ladies don’t sweat.
Tim wears a cotton Tee-Shirt. No coat mind, just a Tee. It’s January!
Thankfully, it’s not too busy today but I’m really fed up with this farcical new seating arrangement. They’ve fitted tight rows of blue plastic seats, fixed at the base to a metal bar. The bendy back-rest is a free spirit. It’s not attached to anything. The lady directly in front of me is amply proportioned in the nether regions, and the surplus is spread far and wide. Each time she shuffles I anticipate an early death.
We’ve seen the triage nurse already. She asked Tim why he’d left the abscess so long before seeking medical help. To spare embarrassment to both, I explained that Tim was ‘special needs’ and didn’t rate an inflamed, pus-oozing volcano on his elbow as meriting ‘a fuss.’
That was three hours ago. Now we’re waiting to see the doctor and I’m gagging for a large, frothy cappuccino, liberally sprinkled with chocolate. There’s cooled water and plastic cups, but I’m fixating on a hefty shot of caffeine.
The Coke machine rattles my brain as it gobbles up coins and spits out the fizzy stuff. Potato crisps and Mars bars are selling like hot cakes, and if one more person crinkles a wrapper or crunches crisps in my ear, I swear I’ll go for the jugular.
Four hours. I need a change of scenery. ‘Just off to the ladies room,’ I tell Tim. I wanted to stretch my legs so ambled by the ‘ambulance only’ entrance, risking collision with a fast moving theatre trolley. The occupant, a man maybe Tim’s age, didn’t look good. A bag of IV fluids swung precariously from a drip stand to a line in his arm, while a paramedic ran alongside securing an oxygen mask. A middle aged woman gasped for breath trying to keep up. She looked ashen.
I didn’t realise Tim had followed me until he asked what was happening. ‘I heard a nurse say assault,’ he told me. ‘Unprovoked.’ I reassured Tim that the young man was in the best possible place, and the doctors would sort him out.
Two more hours passed before Tim saw the doctor. The staffing levels were ridiculously stretched. We’d moved seats twice. Once to avoid the pending crush injury, and again because someone puked on the floor and I don’t care for regurgitated curry.
Anyway, Tim was eventually patched up; routine observations and swabs taken, antibiotics dispensed and a caution to return immediately if it worsened.
Now my twitchy, deprived thought processor could focus only on rich, roast coffee beans. ‘What an ordeal Tim,’ I whinged. ‘It’s been a long, long day and the sooner it ends the better.’
As we braced ourselves for the biting cold outside, I noticed two police vehicles parked up. In the wind I heard a wailing; distressed cries, verging on hysteria. A woman sobbing; inconsolable. A light flicked on in the relative’s room. Through the window, clearly visible were three women; a nurse, a police officer and a third person. ‘Isn’t that the lady who followed the young man to theatre?’ I asked Tim.
‘Yes mum,’ he said flatly. ‘His day soon ended, didn’t it?’ My blood ran cold!
Unlike me, she doesn’t get to drive her son home tonight. I discarded the pathetic trivia of my day as Paul’s words resonated with me. ‘In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’*
Human life is tenuous. Every breath we take is a gift from God. Of course His greatest gift is life in Jesus.
Have you met Him yet?
*Scripture reference. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)
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