Monday, November 12, 2012

Charlie's Angels to the Rescue! April 26, 2007

Sapeurs-Pompiers de France:  Firemen and First Responders
[This is a repost of Digi's blog entry from Thursday 26 April 2007. Used by permission]

This morning I took a med that I don't often have to take - it's a just-in-case thing which I don't actually think I needed. One of the last times I used it, on a Muddy birthday in fact, I broke out in hives around my big belly! Today, after a very few minutes I suddenly felt a familiar allergy body itching and lip tingling (I once had my lips swell atrociously due to something I ate on a flight from Greece) so I went into the kitchen to tell Muddy, and as I was talking I could no longer stand up and said, "I need to sit down," and sank to the floor as there is nowhere to sit in our little kitchen.

Apparently I smashed my head against the wall - but I have no recall or trace of this - and passed out for a few seconds. Events are not very clear but somehow I managed to struggle up when I came round but was only able to make a couple of steps in the corridor to the living room when I just collapsed to the floor and felt myself lying on my back, feeling as if in that dream state where you can't make your limbs move however hard you try: I was trying to get up but could only feel myself sinking into oblivion. Eventually I managed to put out my hand so Muddy could pull me up but I was unable to cooperate and slumped back on the floor.

I think it was then that Muddy realised she needed to call the pompiers - the fire brigade who deal with all sorts of problems. And fortunately they are only in next street so were knocking on the door in a matter of minutes. Meanwhile I had somehow struggled back to the living room and get on the couch. I was floating in and out of consciousness when the three young pompiers turned up. A while later I opened my eyes and Charlie's Angels were here too! Three young ladies leaning over my body and expertly doing, you know, their job: wiring me up with electrode thingies that were monitoring heart and blood pressure. They were also accompanied by an older guy, probably Charlie disguised as the driver of the ambulance. These were members of the SAMU (Service d'Aide Médicale d'Urgence, "Emergency Medical Assistance Service"). According to Muddy I was still capable of making them smile with some quips but I thought we might be having a party - there were nine of us in the room when normally there'd be just me and my breakfast. And here I was, the centre of attention. Flipping heck, I was staring on the Breakfast Show.

Muddy seemed to be handling things wonderfully in spite of the panic she was going through she has just told me. Eventually it was decided to take me to the ER in a nearby town and the guys lifted me onto their stretcher and with a little difficulty due to my longosity and our cluttered flat, managed to carry me down to the SAMU ambulance where Charlie's Angels continued monitoring me as the van flashed its beacon and howled its siren to get us to the hospital in record time, even though that road is jammed at that time of day.

I was put onto a wheeled stretcher that I spent the rest of the day on till 2 pm when I was released. It wasn't like in ER on TV with the SAMU giving a running commentary as they wheeled me in. A bit disappointing. Then I spent the rest of the time waiting in corridors, being moved from room to room. In two I came across the same guy who was moaning in pain - he was suffering from his vertebrae and it really did sound like suffering. I've had a bit and could relate to the poor guy but the staff got uppity with him and more or less told him to behave. The SAMU people were warm and human, but here we had blasé functionaries. They came and went and didn't communicate very much to me. I was taken for a quick chest X-ray which is apparently all right. I wasn't given anything to eat or drink but I did have an IV drip. I heard one nurse tell someone they can do that when they go home -this is Les Urgences and we don't feed people.

At twelve after having been lying there since about 8:30, falling asleep, waking up, getting restless and bored, being moved to another corridor I was told they would keep me two more hours. What, here two more hours with the moaning guy? I was wheeled into another room where there was an old lady who had injured herself from a fall from bed and was suffering from intestinal pains. I heard the doctor asking her about her farting. From time to time I'd hear a guy in the corridor shouting, "Keep your hands of my shoulder; I've got a scar. Stop touching me!" That was a bit ERish.

I didn't know that Muds had driven there and waited in the waiting room from 9:30 to 12 when she was told to come back at two. She needed to do something as they wouldn't let her see me - they don't like having people wandering around all over the place, even in operating theatres like they do in ER. I asked nurse to phone my wife at home and was later told it had been done. Obviously it hadn't. Anyway at two I was told I could go, was given the bag of clothes that Muds had brought - I'd been just wearing shorts. I dressed and wandered out to reception and waited for her to bring the car from the car park and we went home. Nothing to pay or to sign. Feeling more normal now but was still very groggy this afternoon. I have a five day treatment to follow and am officially seriously allergic to a certain active ingredient that I will never use again.

My Muddy was wonderful all day - she did exactly what was needed, then went to see our doctor after, get the meds, fill in the paperwork we need to send off. At the moment she's fixing us oven cooked, crunchy pasta. Just a couple of reasons I love her. And now she can perhaps look back at the day, perhaps have a bit of a cry. It all makes a pleasant change from your usual work day, especially when it all works out at the end of the day. Well, not really pleasant - but interesting and educational...

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