28th May 2017

A long day in A&E

A long day in A&E

Day 0 | Sunday 23rd April | 9am

Getting shipped to resuss

After bumping along country lanes at high speed for 10 minutes we were finally at Barnsley Hospital.  All I kept thinking was why did they have to take me here… I had argued with the paramedics about going in the opposite direction and taking me to Pinderfields in Wakefield so I would at least be closer to home but policy was – closest hospital – so tough shit!

I was wheeled out of the ambulance and in to some sort of holding pen corridor where there were other paramedics with their patients.   We waited there for what felt like ages, it sounded really busy but all I could see was the ceiling because I had a neck and head brace on.  This was not a nice welcome to Barnsley A&E.

Eventually they had found a bed for me, it was on the resuss A&E ward… I’m assuming that meant resuscitation!  Why were they taking me there?!  I was fine!!  I wasn’t dying… I didn’t need resuscitation… did I?  I couldn’t remember blacking out at this point and assumed everything was fine.  This started panicking me a bit.

The paramedics pushed me through to a four bed resuss ward, I was pulled up next to the last bed and told it was the child’s bed, it had lots of Disney stickers on the ceiling.  Four other medical staff then rushed in, doctors, nurses, I’m not really sure… they began the routine that you always see in A&E TV series (I was thinking Casualty).  Six people very carefully slid me across on to the child’s bed and then the paramedics started shouting out exactly what they thought was wrong with me…

I tried not to listen because I didn’t really want to know, particularly if it was bad but I couldn’t help it… deep shin and knee lacerations, lots of blood loss, potentially broken ribs, a bump to the face and head but was wearing a helmet (thank God!).  They were saying unknown neck and spine damage but I tried to insist that I was absolutely fine!  But in reality I had no idea what was going on in my semi-conscious malaise.

My pain at this point wasn’t actually that bad, which was strange, it was more of a numbness and that made me start thinking are my legs at risk of paralysis or something?!  Multiple times throughout the day and over the next few days nurses would ask what my current pain was like – 1 to 10… I didn’t really know to be honest… what did ten actually feel like?!  I was numb but something that did bloody hurt was my ribs, every sudden movement was awful!

Settling in

Once the paramedics left I was then with a nice young A&E registrar doctor and a young male nurse.  They put me at ease straight away and some of the crazy thoughts rushing through my head disappeared somewhat.

Then suddenly a familiar face popped through the curtain… it was my amazing wife, with a slight look of apprehension and terror on her face…  I was ridiculously happy and relieved to see her but also scared of what she might say or think.  [She had kicked off at me massively following a false alarm accident just a few weeks earlier… more on this another time!]

She was amazing, she sat next to me, held my hand tightly and said everything would be ok… and with that the crazy and negative thoughts were gone!

Nasty Cannula

I don’t remember loads about those first few hours in A&E but something that sticks out is when they fitted my cannula.  I am, or certainly used to be, terrified of needles, and the thought of this thing being stuck in the back of my hand was not pleasant.  I looked at Becky but she had no sympathy, she had been a gestational diabetic when she had our boys and she had two cannulas in each arm!

Anyway, this cannula was not pleasant, the male nurse shoved it in the back of my hand and must have hit some blood vessels or something but suddenly blood was dripping all down my hand and arm… bloody hell that hurt!  And what’s more he didn’t even put me on a drip after that so what was the point?!

Bandage swap

After maybe an hour the A&E doctor uncovered my paramedic dressing… I wasn’t sure whether to look or not, I could see my wife was interested… she clearly wanted to see how bad it was…

By this point the blood had completely soaked through the bandage dressing around my shin and knee.  It came off slowly, I could feel nothing, that was the strangest thing…  there was something sticking out of my shin and basically a big hole where my knee used to be!  I didn’t look for long, I didn’t want to think about it!

The doctor quickly took photos and then the nurse redressed it beautifully.  Although within ten minutes the shin wound had already bled through.  This is what I could see at that point (my only photo during 8 hours of A&E fun!):

X ray confusion

A couple of hours after coming in they wanted to X ray me to see how bad the leg damage actually was.  This took a bit sorting because apparently there was only one porter (to push beds) assigned to A&E that day.  After half an hour of waiting the A&E doctor registrar said “stuff this, I’ll take you down there” – what a legend!

He pushed me the ten minutes round to X ray where a lovely young radiologist took four snaps of my knee and shin.  A porter then came to collect me and push me back to A&E.

After only ten minutes the A&E registrar came in to give me the news… I was nervous, I assumed I wasn’t going to like what he said… But then he came out quite abruptly and said “there’s no fractures…”

What?!  No way!!  How on earth had I not even broken a bone… what a result!!  But what on earth was sticking out of my leg then?!  May be a bit of bike or car… who knows.  But how amazing was it that I had smacked that car and my leg had stayed in one piece!  I guessed the knee news was not going to be as good but I had to wait for the ortho surgeons for that…

Quick save the cycling shorts

Later that day one of the doctors said:

“Those cycling shorts have got to come off…”

He explained they were too tight and they wouldn’t go comfortably over the bandage.

I was thinking – “there is no way they are chopping these shorts up – they were my best Sky Betting & Gaming team bib shorts!  I’d spent about £70 on them less than a year ago, there was no way they were being cut to pieces and thrown in a hospital bin!!”

Fortunately for me there were no scissors to hand so both the doctor and nurse went off to look for some.  As they left through the curtain I looked at my wife – “PLEASE HELP ME GET THESE SHORTS OFF… PLEASE?!”  The reply was quite a standard one when I was doing something my wife strongly disagreed with… “I’m not being a part of this!!”

I didn’t care… they were not chopping these off, simples!  What was almost as bad was that I had no underwear on – don’t judge me for going commando – this was standard for tight lyrca… that’s what my dad always told me anyway… stops the rubbing and chafe I think!  So the last thing I wanted was the shame and embarrassment of losing decent cycling shorts at the same time as my dignity…

As my wife shook her head at me I started tugging, I got them down to my knees easily, now this was going to be the tough bit.  I needed my wife’s help, I gave her a look… fortunately the nice male nurse came back in and was happy to help me out… the shorts were saved!

The doctor came back, scissors in hand, he stopped and laughed… maybe because I was sitting butt naked, cupping myself, or perhaps at my stubbornness and determination to save my shorts, I didn’t really care!  He quickly found me a surgery gown to save my dignity!

A long day in A&E

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