A&E Doctor (calm and professional): On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you assess your level of pain, Mr. Millar?
Me (writhing on gurney and losing grip on reality): 10 and getting higher.
I was in pain. I never envisaged that such pain could exist – or that I could survive it. It is truly amazing the level of punishment that the human body can take - and recover from. I slumped into an uncomfortable chair in A&E, knuckles white as I gripped the arm, looking with pleading eyes at any possible member of the medical staff that walked past. Whatever happened to triage? Could they not see that I was seconds from passing out? The hell with anyone else in A&E. This was self-survival at its best!
And who, in their infinite wisdom, determined that pain-killers could not be administered until the condition has been diagnosed? Eventually they conceded. Then karma struck! As morphine coursed through my veins, the gods flipped the allergy switch and I had a new set of conditions to deal with. Some quick thinking on the medical staff’s part saved the day and I discovered what was to become my best friend in the months to come – the drug dilaudid. Supplemented by Tylenol-3 and my “little pink pills” (more of this later), I was on the path to a pain-free, floating above the bed existence.
Eventually, I was admitted although this appeared not to be based on any medical rationale. Rather it was deemed that a 50-year old man who never had a major health issue in his life and whose last, brief hospital stay was for a vasectomy (ouch – and another humorous anecdote for another day and another blog) should not be writhing in agony on the gurney.
So off I went into the general hospital population. I have little memory of where I ended up although probably it was in the GI Unit. Even with health insurance - Canada may have “national health” but insurance still rules! I could not afford a private room, but was fortunate ending up in a 2-person room, rather than a 6-person bay.