People sometimes joke that you haven’t had a real university experience until you’ve spent a night in A&E. I’d like to take this opportunity to say those people are bloody crazy.
Last weekend, I spent an anxiety-riddled seven hours in hospital with my friend and I can safely say I won’t finish my course in 2015 consumed with regret at all the time I could have spent in a room with curtains for walls.
It was Saturday night and I had spent the evening at Maria’s with Lauren and Emilie watching ‘Legally Blonde’. Lauren and Maria had an argument over who got to sit next to me while we piled duvets and cushions on the sofas. Lauren won, and I sat feeling smug and loved until I realised it was probably because they knew if they sat next to me, it was guaranteed I’d be coerced into brushing their hair.
“That was so good,” Maria said, when the movie finished.
“I don’t know,” Emilie said. “Happy endings like that are great until you remember in real life it’s very unlikely to work out just right. Then it just reminds you how depressing that fact is.”
I looked sadly at my plate containing the remains of a very short lived chocolate gateau and tried to pretend that wasn’t true.
I shall never understand why you’d pay to have your hair permed like that
Back in my flat, I had decided to call it a night when I heard screaming coming from outside. I looked out my window and had one of those terrible ‘my worst nightmare is coming true like it does in the movies and no amount of Luke Wilson in a sharp suit is going to make that better’ moments. A window on the first floor was flung open and someone was lying in the grass below.
On arrival outside I was met by a fellow student.
“Oh my God, someone’s fallen out a window, did you see?”
Running to the figure on the ground, I could see two people were already stood over them. It was two security wardens from our student village.
“I’ve called an ambulance,” one of them said. “We were driving past and a student stopped us saying someone had fallen out of a window.”
The boy on the ground was evidently in a huge amount of pain and was writhing around.
“You need to keep him still,” I said. “He will make any injuries he has worse if he keeps moving.”
“You need to keep still mate,” one of the security wardens said to him. “What’s your name?”
“Richie,” the boy groaned.
“Oh my God, I know him,” I said. “I didn’t recognise him in the dark.”
“Go and get something to cover him while we wait for the ambulance love,” the warden said.
Back on the grass with his neighbour Adam’s duvet, I said, “His door was locked. I don’t understand whose window he fell from.”
“What were you doing mate?” the warden said. “Why did you jump from the window?”
“I don’t know,” Richie muttered. “It seemed like a pretty bad ass thing to do.”
Thankfully, no one could see me roll my eyes in the dark. “Richie!”
“Have you been drinking?” The warden asked.
Richie, under the duvet, seemed to consider for a while. “Probably.”
By this point the paramedic had arrived and after determining it was his back that was his only evident injury, Richie was stretchered onto the ambulance.
“I’ll come with him,” I said. “He doesn’t even have any shoes on.”
The paramedic was telling him off when I got into the ambulance.
“Who decides when they’re drunk that it’s a good idea to jump out of a window?” she was saying. “It was a stupid thing to do.”
“Yeah,” Richie acknowledged. “It was.”
After the longest ambulance ride ever, Richie was wheeled into an emergency ward while I hovered near-by, anxious beyond belief and trying really hard to not appear so. While the doctor examined him, I texted Alison to let her know why I wasn’t home and that I might need her help in getting a shoe-less Richie home.
“Let me know if you need anything and tell him I hope everything’s okay” she text back.
“Alison says she hopes everything’s alright. It seems to be, the doctor doesn’t seem too worried,” I told Richie when I had scavenged a chair and the six hospital staff members had departed.
“Yes, he said he thinks it’s just a deep muscle injury,” Richie said.
“That’s good,” I said, relieved.
“It could have been so much worse. I”m such a tit,” Richie said. “I don’t even know what I was thinking.”
“Your door was locked and Adam’s window was open,” I said. “Why did you jump from Adam’s window?”
“I couldn’t find my keys. Maybe I was trying to reach my window. God, I’m such a tit.”
After being seen by two other doctors, Richie was told he could leave.
“Just watch him for 24 hours,” the doctor told me. “Nobody saw him fall so he could have hit his head.” I was slightly in love with this doctor. He had a voice like honey that suggested he could only ever speak words of comfort and reassurance.
I ventured to the hospital cash point to pay for a taxi home where the machine promptly swallowed my card. I considered just lying on the floor by the x-ray wing until the honey-voiced doctor came to tell me in his mellow tones that he had sorted everything and we could go home, where Friends was buffering on my laptop and there was peanut butter in the cupboard.
It was now four o’clock in the morning.
Chandler’s my favourite
I returned dejected to the ward to hear Richie shouting my name. I found him spreadeagled on his bed.
“Something’s really wrong. I can’t go home. Something’s wrong.”
After fetching a nurse, who told us Richie had low blood pressure, she put him on a drip for a further two hours.
“Hey,” Richie said after a while. “How did you get here?”
“I came in the ambulance with you, Richie,” I said tiredly.
“Huh,” he said. “This isn’t getting any lower.” He pointed at the IV bag. “And it’s not working. I don’t feel hydrated. My mouth is dry.”
“It’s an accumulative affect, you have to wait,” I told him.
“I don’t need this anymore. I feel fine. Let’s go.”
“You can’t just leave Richie!”
“Why not? There’s no law against just leaving hospital.”
“For a start you have no shoes,” I said. “And you’re on an IV drip.” I nodded at the pole above his bed.
“So? Let’s go! We can make it!”
I was highly aware of the fact the ward rooms were divided only by thin curtains and everyone could hear our conversation. It must have been like listening to the most boring version of ‘The Great Escape’ ever. Thankfully, a doctor chose that moment to appear and told Richie he could leave.
I rang Alison. It was now 7 am.
“I’ll meet you from the taxi and pay the driver,” she said after I described my card-less predicament.
Outside the hospital, I explained the situation to our driver. He looked at Richie’s feet.
“He’s not going anywhere Duck. Get in,” he said.
“I’m going to buy you a present,” Richie said, when we finally got back to the flat. “I owe you big time.”
I’m still waiting for my present. I’m expecting nothing less than a pony.
A really big, leaping pony
All images courtesy of Google