Those horror stories - they are real

23:12, Jan 07 2014

Some weeks, it's easy to write a column.

Other weeks, like when you've spent the past six days experiencing first-hand the grim realities of the NHS, you've been guzzling strong prescription medications non-stop, and you've just realised your column is due in 40 minutes . . . Well, let's just say those times are less easy.

(You're also more likely to be distracted by Build Me Up Buttercup on Spotify, debates about the inconsistencies within Britain's immigration policy, and the progress of this week's Family Roast Dinner. Smells delish, FYI. Also, my world is a much better place now that yorkshire puddings are in it. Highly recommend.)

But, if you're a look-for-the-silver- linings kind of gal like I am (ahem), those painkillers mean that, at a time you would normally be experiencing heart palpitations, you're chilled as.

Anyway, as I was saying, I have learned that the horror stories about England's national healthcare system aren't urban legends; I partook in the hospitality of one of London's hospitals and, despite the efforts of the most apathetic nurses I've ever come across, lived to tell the tale.

(I can't join the crew in a glass of German mulled wine from the nearby budget supermarket, though. So is this REALLY living?)


Pressing the call button for more meds to dull the white-hot pain searing into my flesh was futile.

But, I quickly learned, it could have been worse.

I could have been the 95-year-old lady who not only didn't know why she was in hospital - she kept telling everybody there had been a mistake, she'd only come in o the hospital to visit a friend - but whose bed was angled in such a way that every time she threw up (read: often), she ended up gurgling on her own vomit.

Neither of us appeared particularly important to the nurses.

Not even when some of us (read: not me) vomited all over ourselves.

Those E-Bay auctions aren't going to win themselves, y'all.

I also could have been related to my arch nemesis, Janet.

Situated in the bed opposite me, she had an interesting habit of being in excruciating, in-need-of- immediate-attention pain only when the nurse was - finally - tending to somebody else.

Even if she was wolfing down a big bowl of porridge while simultaneously calling for help.

("Ohhhhhh . . . I c-c-can't spread my marmalade, I c-c-can't cope with this painnnnnn" . .)

Funny, that.

All in all it was a fairly unpleasant week: minor surgery, having to wear a hospital gown, and a fulltime desire to hurl is not exactly my idea of a good time.

This definitely wasn't the column I was expecting to write.

This weekend I was meant to be in Copenhagen, and regaling you of tales of hanging out in the autonomous freetown Christiana, and feeling completely out of place among the low-BMI, minimalist- beclothed Nordic trendies.

First and last time I will skip on the 10 pound flight insurance.

Suffice to say, I am feeling very woe is me.

But it's not all bad.

Since arriving back home, I've been doted on hand and foot - not only by a very apologetic boyfriend, who thought a harden up pill would remedy my "pulled muscle", but also by some very sweet new flatmates and friends.

I've been instructed to perform light duties only, so any time I pick up a tea towel I find it swept from my hand.

My fleeting appearances downstairs have been met with plenty of clucking and offers of brie.

My sole Australian housemate didn't even gloat too much when the weekend consolation prize - watching the Kiwis in the rugby league final - failed to go my way.

Who needs an NHS nurse anyway?

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The Southland Times