Sudden snooze

Life I fainted today.

As much as I can remember I was watching television, needed a bathroom break, got as far as the toilet, began to breath heavily, the blood rushed from my brain, I felt dizzy and the next thing I remember was lying on the floor with my mum shouting ‘What have you done?’ I remember dreaming though -- I don’t know what it was, but when I suddenly found myself on the floor the sensation was rather like waking up.

I spent the next ten minutes calming Mum down and drinking water and trying to work out what had happened. I decided to ring NHS Direct. I didn’t feel dizzy but I didn’t feel ‘right’ either. After giving my details I was put through to a nurse who asked a range of diagnostic questions such as whether I had clammy skin and hands and whether blood had been coming out of anywhere it shouldn’t be. I told her about a job interview I had this morning, about being nervous, about having the collie-wobbles.

Eventually, because when I’d fainted I’d obviously banged my head on the floor the nurse suggested I get to the A&E at the hospital for a check-up. By now I felt a bit sick and vomited the lolly-ice I’d not long eaten, but at least it was just orange and didn’t have any blood red in there. I was also a but drowsy. So woozy and drowsy.

A caught a taxi and met my Dad at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. This was only the third time I’d been inside a hospital because of something wrong with me. The first time was at the age of about eight because I’d fallen badly in a ball pool at the Garden Festival in Liverpool. The second was during my GCSE’s when someone who had been bullying me threw me into a brick wall and I needed stitches. I’ve been very lucky.

After talking to the receptionist, we were heralded into a corridor outside of curtains where a nurse checked my blood pressure, heart rate and temperature and asked me what had happened. By now the incident had already reached the stage of being a ‘story’ almost as though it wasn’t something I‘d gone through but I told it anyway. Then we sat for two hours and waited for a space to be free.

Around us patients came and went. Someone from the far east was almost prone on a seat not far away who couldn’t speak English and the nurse was trying to make a diagnosis. Eventually a friend arrived who translated. He too had collapsed but needed a head CT. I hoped I didn’t need my head examining. A girl, twenty-some sat next to him and cried. And cried. Other passed by many pale, some unconscious but all in a worst state than me. After a while I stopped experiencing wooziness and drowsiness and instead my neck began to ache.

The nurse apologised for keeping us waiting. I said it was ok because everyone else seemed like they were worse off than me and they ‘were obviously hammered’. Ten minutes later I was ushered into curtains. Five minutes after that another nurse entered with a gown and blanket and asked me to go naked but for my undies and wondered if I needed painkillers and for some reason I wasn’t sure, but she persuaded me.

Ten minutes later, The Doctor, sorry, a doctor bounded in, shook my hand and asked me what the trouble was. And I told him. We passed information almost rhythmically, back and forth, question and answer. At one point when I said the blood had rushed to my brain, he corrected me and said the blood rushed from my brain, ‘You’re the doctor’ I joked. I told him my neck was hurting. I told him about my job interview this morning, about being nervous about that, about having the collie-wobbles.

He asked to look to my right which I did. There was a twinge and he felt about the area, but there wasn’t any pain were he was touching. Then he asked to look to my other right (having looked left originally not actually knowing the difference ever) and did the same. And that was that. He said I just needed to take some paracetamol for the stiffness in my neck, but oddly didn’t make a diagnosis about anything else, I presume because he’s been doing to the job for so long he can tell how bad it is just by looking at them.

I hope.

The Doctor wished me luck with the outcome of the interview, and bounded out again. I thanked the nurse on the way out and we went to look for the shop, shop, so that we could shop (or buy a Liverpool Echo) and here I sit now, unable to look left or right and feeling like I need to go and lay down again.

What struck me about the whole affair is that I wasn’t actually worried that it could be anything more serious. I spent half the time calming my parents down. Touching wood as I type, It’s almost as though I knew there wouldn’t be anything more, and that the process of ringing NHS Direct and then going to the hospital was just all part of life’s routine, the stuff you need to do just to make sure you're all ok.

When I updated my status on Facebook yesterday I said that I was ‘seeking a sense of purpose’. This whole experience, however minor in the grand scheme of things sort of proves how important that actually is and that I need to pull my finger out. Oh and take things a bit more calmly next time.