I gave great consideration to writing about this, but in the end I thought.... why not! If we want to share a negative experience, it seems that we have no second thoughts or hesitation about it, but we seem to be a lot less forward about saying nice things.
In my case, I have good things to say about the NHS, of all the heretical things in the world......
I am quite habitual in my routine on Friday nights. I always buy 10 cigarettes, a bottle of wine and the Belfast Telegraph. I dont smoke any other day of the week, and I would only generally have a glass of wine one or two nights a week with dinner, but I zone out on Fridays and normally I enjoy it.
Last Friday, I had my usual crime and smoking night, and toddled off to bed. I woke at 3 am with a crushing pain in my chest. At 3.30, I called my son because I couldnt walk, talk or wish the pain away. After one look at my ashen face, he dialled 999 and I sat outside in the yard gasping for air.
When I realised I was going to have to go to hosptial, I gave a little thought to my state of dress and decided a pair of knickers would be a must for the preservation of modesty. I sent the child upstairs for same garment, but even in the throes of what I thought was a heart attack, I wouldnt wear granny knickers!
In the end, although it seemed an eternity, the 2 nice men arrived in their ambulance, mercifully sans blue flashing lights. They were calm and reassuring, and led me to the back of their truck and hooked me up. Give them their dues, they were very tolerant of me and even indulged when I asked to read my 12-lead ECG. I havent read one in 15 years, but it was like riding a bicycle and I assured myself I wasnt having heart attack after all.
The hospital was beyond reproach. It was clean, efficient and even though it was 4 in the morning the staff were cheerful, empathetic and superb. The Consultant arrived at 8.30 in the morning, and we chatted and he listened very carefully to my differential diagnoses. When I was a nurse, I despised patients like me, but Dr Devlin took it in his stride.
There was one very scary Ward sister in the CCU, who induced some ugly flashbacks for me from my days as a student nurse. In the end, I tried to avoid her which seemed to suit both if us. I had been promised a blood test at 3.30 in the evening, with a 4 pm discharge. They delivered their promises to the tee.
I have nothing but praise and commendation for Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry on this occasion. We hear so many o f the bad things that can happen in hospital care, and to be fair some pretty bad things happen. All the more reason perhaps to give praise where praise is most definitely due.
By the way, I've decided to treat this as a warning, and wont be 'binge smoking' on a Friday any more. With the new smoking ban now in force, its time to quit for good, I hope!