For the second time in my life I found myself in an ambulance with an oxygen mask covering my nose and mouth.
Following a mild dose of 'flu, I had been experiencing mild pains just below my left rib cage for a while. As Wednesday evening drew on, the pain became more and more severe. It became impossible for me to lie down, sit or stand. Breathing became a major problem.
The paramedics wanted to know my medical history, my age, my usual blood pressure (which had suddenly gone to a level way beyond my wildest imaginings).
The oxygen helped and though it was still difficult to breath the pain began to ease. The ECG suggested that my heart was fine.
During all this time my family was there. Luckily, my son was able to delve into his library available through his Kindle. Nelson Mandela's "Conversations with Myself" was an interesting choice.
At the hospital I was wired up to an ECG machine, connected to an IV and given pain killers. Then xrays and blood tests. My phone, watch and everything else were at home. By 2:00 a.m. I was feeling a little better. The blood tests had suggested the possibility of a clot on the lungs so I got a blood thinner injection and was sent home to return the next morning for a CT scan.
At 6:30 we were back, waiting for the CT scan. I filled in the forms. The medical aid approved.
A CT scan is a strange experience. You move forwards and back through an arched instrument. The strangest part was when I got an iodine injection as the final part of the scan. First you feel the stuff tingle through your veins. Then your body becomes hot, your brain feels disoriented and high, and next thing you feel warm and wet everywhere. Then it is all over. A rush of new sensations within a couple of minutes.
Back to wait for the results and to see the doctor. A long wait. This time, I had my cell phone and now felt up to reading so had a look through my emails. I hadn't heard any news for a while so I read the Daily Maverick delivered to me daily by email. I works well on my phone.
This time the two hour wait was long. Being able to get the news and to read a number of articles on my phone all helped.
Eventually the doctor returned. No clot. It was (is) pneumonia. So here I am, taking masses of antibiotics and painkillers and resting.
As these kick in I am able to begin to function once again.
Hospitals can become very boring places. The assortment of magazines in the waiting rooms are never enough to satisfy waiting patients and visitors for hours on end. Besides, there must be a risk of cross-infection as who knows who has handled these items? While I prefer a book to a Kindle at home or a Laptop to a phone for reading emails, the electronic devices are ideal for the hospital environment.
So yes, you can bring along your collection of 3,500 books and an email reader all on pocket sized devices. That could help keep you sane rather than staring at the ceiling hour after hour. Can make waiting in a hospital bed a lot more entertaining.