Fr Kevin Neal
I vaguely remember being in hospital when I was about seven, when I had my tonsils removed. I remember little about it and I never went near hospital wards as a patient very often till I had a stroke a good number of years later.
But I was pleased to see the hospital so quickly when I had my stroke. I will always be grateful for the many people who must have worked incredibly hard to get me there in so short a time.
I was pleased to be there and content to stay for more that two months. The care was expert and unrushed. When the worst few days at the start were over, and there were many different aspects to the start of my treatment, being in a small country hospital was a great plus.
Since then I’ve always treated hospitals with great reverence. Every person that comes into the hospital is different and each is treated as if they were the only patient. Every need was met, right down to the cutting of our toenails! We are so lucky in our part of the world.
For this reason I don’t kick up a fuss when hospital is again suggested. It seems to happen to me about every two years. Usually there is a different kind of feeling in either my head or chest or both.
Of course the doctors can’t feel my discomfort and often I have lost the words to describe it. It’s different and it bears no relation to anything in the world of feelings. This means that tests have to be taken to measure the difference between this time and last time.
I guess it must frustrate the doctors and nurses and it certainly frustrates me. But when they have finished, the facts are there.
It happened again recently. I have to screw up my courage when I speak to the doctor because I know I’m going to end up in hospital but I think that it’s better to know than to guess.
GPs aren’t heart specialists so as soon as I mention a change in the way my heart is performing you know it’s going be a trip to hospital. The hospital doctors find it slightly odd that I’ve driven myself there but it’s really the quickest way of doing it.
I also carry my cell phone to make some necessary calls from the emergency department. You have to let people know where you are especially in an emergency. To be honest you don’t feel like calling anybody, but telling a few key people can save a lot of messing around later on.
I’m putting all this in print because sometimes we should trust ourselves and ring for an ambulance.
Whatever our condition, we sometimes need the reassurance and the treatment that a hospital can give. We don’t have to ‘white knuckle’ these things through.
In spite of the endless media reports and the hard-luck stories, our hospital emergency departments are first rate.