‘How I spent Christmas’ or ‘Travels in an Ambulance’ an update.

In a recent post which was little more than a sad plea for entirely undeserved sympathy some of you may have registered, I was dragged away kicking and screaming to the hospital on Christmas Eve. It is now the morning of December 29 and I have spent the last few days absorbing tax-payers’ money with all manner of blood tests, X-rays, MRIs, anaesthesia, surgeons, knifes, stitching, machines that go ‘bing!’ and, of course, an assortment of drugs. There are only a few good things in that list. I’ll leave it to you to guess which ones they are.

Has anyone spent much time in hospital? Not a lot happens around here. So this little post is just a way of me filling in time. Don’t bother reading it. You have better things to do.

Further sympathy is not required (or even advisable) – I am more interested in devious escape plans that others might have employed with success. Meg helped me with one that involved several junior members of my family and (for reasons unexplained) a kangaroo. The plan failed.

Background Information.

I am old. One must accept these little inconveniences and indignities with the passing of time.

I have no spleen. That’s right – I am literally spleen-less, due to a moment about one hundred years ago during which I zigged when I should have zagged. The result of that is that I am particularly susceptible to infection – a fact that tends to set off alarm bells with medical types whenever something goes a bit wrong with me.

Are you interested in this? Probably not. More important background information is the fact that Mrs Richmond (and myself, to a lesser extent) had prepared a Christmas lunch consisting of cured trout and caviar, rolled lamb, ham and a peach salad followed by several cakes and deserts. Anyone who knows me would understand that some trouble had been taken with the wine list.

Thus far I have only seen photographs of it. It was served 3 days ago.

Events thus far.

My older son threw me in the car and rushed me to hospital when things started to go pear-shaped. Mrs Richmond was in the shower at the time so, before we left he opened her bathroom door and spoke through the gap, “Hey, Mum, I’m taking stupid to the hospital, see ya!”

Apparently she emerged from the bathroom about 5 minutes later wrapped in a towel.

“What was that all about?” she asked.

My daughter-in-law is Korean and about as unflappable as her husband so replied, matter-of-factly, “oh…. he take Papa to hospital.”

Things ramped up fairly slowly at the hospital with a few fairly boring drugs but it wasn’t long before it became rather more industrial. I was doing some fairly heavy duty swearing, apparently, and the drug regime was wound forward a few notches if for no other reason than to keep the noise down. Even my son was getting a bit concerned at this point and was conducting all these inane one-sided conversations in the hope of diverting my thoughts. He was hugging me and rubbing my back all the while. I am not known as a tactile/human touch sort of person so it was a bit surreal to be softly embraced by a huge, heavily bearded bear. And quite beautiful.

Meanwhile Mrs Richmond had arrived and was questioning everything the doctors did. “What’s happening to him?” “Why are you giving them that?” “Hasn’t he had enough of that already?” “He’s getting worse, give him some more.” That sort of thing.

Eventually my son said to her, “Keep it up Mum. You’ve really got them on their toes. It’s only a matter of time before one of them admits to a fatal error of judgement.”

This quietened her down for a minute or two but, as things deteriorated further she couldn’t help herself, “Do something. Please do something.”

“I’ve already given him enough to kill a brown dog,” one made the mistake of saying.

“You’ve fucking what????”


“What I mean lady, is that we are getting a bit out of our depth. It’s a small hospital [it really is] and it’s best we put him in an ambulance and send him elsewhere.”

And so that’s what happened.

Who of you have spent much time in ambulances? One might intrinsically assume that they would have a smooth ride, like travelling on a waterbed. But the fact is that because of the weight that they have to carry the suspension is very solid. At high speed it’s like travelling in the London to Dhaka rally.

The first thing the guy in the back with me said was, “this isn’t going to be much fun. Slow your breathing down. Slow your breathing down. You want some more morphine?”


A few minutes later, “Slow your breathing down, you don’t look so good. Want some more?”


What seemed like five minutes later, “You’ve really got to slow your breathing down. We’re almost there. How’s it going?”

“Actually …. that last one might have hit the spot.” I was beginning, in fact, to feel nothing.

“That’s it, that’s it. Just slow your breathing down a bit more. One more for the road, then?”

“Another dose of morphine? Are you sure? Is that OK?”

“You can’t have too much of this stuff. Trust me.”


I was willing to trust anybody by then, of course. But I was wondering if my breathing might be in danger of stopping altogether.

In the emergency room I was met by Mrs Richmond and my son. Somehow they had managed to beat the ambulance to the hospital. That was a bit of a disappointment . Thinking back now on events I realise that they didn’t use the siren either. What a rip-off.

My son managed to snap another photo in his collection entitled ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Very Old Man’. I have since seen it. He was certainly right about one part of it, anyway.

23 thoughts on “‘How I spent Christmas’ or ‘Travels in an Ambulance’ an update.

  1. I spent 3 days on the cardiac ward a few years back. My blood pressure was like 180/115 or something. They took so much blood for tests, I felt like a pin cushion. They even did an ultrasound of my heart, which was pretty cool. Final diagnosis was a shrug. From the Cardiologist. Worked for me.

    I enjoyed being away from the chaos at my house. Except for the food, it was like a mini vacation. An expensive mini-vaction, and a VERY expensive shrug.

    Morphine is nice. So is the fentanyl in my intrathecal pain pump. Look it up if you get bored enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been rushed to the hospital twice. I was in excruciating pain both times. Like you the pain meds couldn’t come soon enough. Every time the pain seemed to get at its peak I would look over at my husband asleep in the side chair with envy. But he was quite chipper and full of energy while I was in pain other times. When it was all said and done the proud look on his face while he held our new bundle of joy was worth it all. Those two like pains are the best things that has ever happened to me.
    My mother was a nurse though and I spend much of my childhood in and around medical facilities. I’m glad your escape is nearing!


    1. It’s not my first rush to hospital either. Maybe (hopefully?) not my last. My own bundle of joy (or, at least, one of them) was along for the ride on this occasion and I am thankful for that. Somewhere within all that swearing and screaming he gave me a lesson on global share price manipulation, believe it or not, and we shared jokes about British aristocracy.
      When he came into the world I was in no pain, but I was scared shitless.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had my first and second ambulance trips (no lights or sirens, dammit. I was hoping) last winter, and the pain came when they sent me the bill for the short ride to the local hospital: $2000 to travel 20 miles wrapped in a warm blanket, no meds, just riding backwards.
    I ended up in the world famous Leahy clinic in Mass. and while the care was good, the food was literally inedible. They ruin everything on a steam tray, including the toast, and probably the coffee.

    I was there four days and read the same book three times. Boring isn’t even close, but it will do. The high point of each day was when a bunch of practicing interns would invade my room, shout at me, and ask me what my name was, how old was I, and how tall was I. I suspect they were all under 30, and since Im gently over 70 they viewed me as elderly and probably about to go strange (because that’s what old people do, apparently, when they go to the hospital), so they had to keep asking me Stupid Questions. It livened up the morning, and it did make boredom seem more interesting…

    Please check your hospital mail. I have sent you a sharp pointy object embedded in a cake. That’s for payback for all those dreadful shots…


    1. Ha ha! I’m lucky – I have actually spent a lot of time in hospital over many years – mostly here in Australia where it has cost me virtually zero or in other countries (China, Thailand, Singapore, South Africa and America to name a few) where someone else was paying the bill, but there can be no doubt that food is consistently ordinary in such institutions world wide. I have had the sirens running a few times but not been in a position to tell if anyone was actually getting out of the way.

      But I am old now. I thought the scars would kill me eventually or I would die in some glorious ball of fire, but the truth seems to be that I will just fade away ….

      And the coffee …. don’t get me going about the coffee ….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Our local hospital has the best food I have ever encountered in my travels to other hospitals. It’s actually edible, in all directions. They even give you real coffee!

        As to the cake, I hope you enjoyed it, just don’t cough too hard for the next few days…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ohh!! The kangaroo was meant to distract the nursing staff, silly. “Who let a kanga onto the intensive care ward?! Paging security.” 😀 😀 😀

    While we’re all sharing stories here, I’ve only been in the hospital once (for physical reasons). I had pneumonia in my kidney (???). Later, I blamed myself, because I think I know what I did wrong: my puppy, who was Echo at the time (she was a wonderful doggie), picked up a Kleenex while on our walk, and I took it from her mouth and tossed it, and then I didn’t freakin’ wash my hands. (Yeah, you had to see that coming.) I’m a little angry about it, too, because for crying out loud, who out there that’s THAT SICK litters Kleenexes? Eh.

    Your narration of events is beautiful, and it sounds as if you’re blessed to have a very wonderful and loving family!! I’m so glad you have them all around!! They sound wonderful. Oh my gosh. That part about the morphine is hilarious. Yeah, you were feeling rather trustful by that point, I’d imagine, and they were still giving it to you?!?! Offhand, it sounds like a lot of morphone, but what the heck? Who knew you could never get too much, ya hear me? 😮 Pass the morphine!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope Fandango reads this. I told him to keep his sense of humor and you certainly have. I know you’re ill and I should not be laughing, but of course I am. Morphine overdose can kill you for Pete’s sake, what were they thinking? My grandson and fiancé are firefighter, EMT and paramedic, and with my own experiences, I know what most drugs can do. Fortunately I learned the hard way that I’m allergic to most of them! But you sound great, you pictured the events well and please post a few photos!

    Keep improving, driving hospital personnel nuts, and get home safely. ❤️🤗

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  6. lol at least you took your SOH with you … son sounds cute and love his wife’s calm! Mrs R sounds as excitable as you … what a pair!

    Guessing you like a bit of drama now and then and spleen sounds awfully like a footy twist. I volunteer in a private hospital and their food is yum! Pay a bit you old miser … life is too short to bludge off the public system!


    1. I did end up in a private ward – but not with much of an appetite. But the staff were wonderful. I’ve just returned from another brief visit and they were wonderful again.
      If I appear to complain a bit then let me assure you that it is very much tongue in cheek. I have lived a blessed life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My brother is out fighting fires around Bateman’s Bay. I don’t think he has had a lot of sleep in about 2 months. So I worry a lot. I have about a dozen family members who were evacuated today. Mrs R has had me moving fire pumps and generators tonight. I am struggling to do much of anything right now, to be honest – but it eases her mind a bit …. I think the danger level at our place is relatively low. You are safe, I assume?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m totally safe but as you know I grew up down south but it’s not impacted on us yet … just glad Mum isn’t around as it would distress her hearing about all this.

        Thanks to your brother and many others like him for putting their life on the line to protect others!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for asking. All is well. A bit of running around preparing to fend off bushfires and a surprise visit to the hospital (3 hospitals, in fact) and a planned visit to another hospital next week.
      What a drag it is getting old.
      Meanwhile I’ve been trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to write something for this year’s NYC Midnight challenge short story competition. My previous failures in this event are well documented.
      And how are you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I’m glad you are well! I have confidence you will when the competition. I’m good! It’s rainy and cold here but that changes daily! Thank you for asking!:)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.