Saturday, 15 March 2014

The quickest way to see a doctor in Emergency on Boxing Day

It was boxing day. Years ago. I was in my early twenties and at my ex partners mum's place in Townsville. It was a super ridiculous hot day. They all are in Queensland in summer.

We were laying on banana lounges in the shade (you don't lay in the sun in Townsville, umm ever - say 'no' to melanoma).

And we had the hose on. And we were using the water to cool our bodies. It was back in the day before water restrictions. (Or knowledge about water wastage.)

Anyway I digress.

Did I mention it was hot?

In the delirium I decided to be funny. I stuck a cotton bud in each ear and started waving my head around like an alien.

"Hey check it!" I said to my ex.

He laughed and I pulled a face and waved my head around a bit more. Doing my alien thing.

I'd forgotten about the banana lounge back that was much closer to my head than I realised.

I smacked the cotton bud right into my ear. Super hard.

I think I blacked out for a few seconds from the pain because next thing I remember I was holding my ear and writhing in agony. Possibly squealing too. I don't remember pulling the cotton bud out.

My ex was holding me with a worried look on his face and saying all the right things. "You goose are you alright?"

After the initial pain and fright abated I assessed the damage by sticking my little finger (tentatively) in my ear. I pulled it out and there was blood on the end.

"Do you reckon it's okay?" I asked my ex.

"Yeh I think so, but call Rhonda, she'll know", he answered.

I rang Rhonda, a lovely woman I was boarding with (and her daughter, Lis, who is one of my closest friends even to this day). Rhonda is a nurse.

Rhonda suggested I go to the doctor to make sure my ear was okay. "You want to make sure with something like that Mary", she ventured.

Right then. Off to the Townsville General Hospital.

On Boxing Day.

Because no doctor's (in Townsville, at least) are open, like, none, on public holidays.

It was going to be a long wait so we took books and magazines.

I went to triage while my ex and his mum found us somewhere to sit. The ER was packed.

"So what have you done today?" the nurse asked.

I just pulled an "I've been really stupid face" (I'm good at those) and stuck my little finger in my ear and pulled it out. My ear was still bleeding so my little finger came out with blood all over it, thankfully. Nothing worse than rocking up to hospital and the thing (whatever it is) being gone.

Her eyes widened a little and she just said, "right, take a seat someone will see you soon".

I rejoined my crew. They'd found 2 seats and gave me one. My ex handed me a magazine. I had only just gotten seated. I hadn't even opened my magazine and a doctor called out my name.

Wha...? That's me. But I'd only just gotten here. There were HUNDREDS of people in the ER! Some with broken things and bloody towels held against their heads and I'm certain I saw a stab wound. (Townsville, remember?) Okay maybe it was just a big cut.

Anyway I stood up and made my way past all the other banged up patients. All of them glaring at me with a venom quite like no other I had ever seen before. Poor sods must have been waiting hours, in pain - and here in walks a young, healthy, unwounded girl who's laughing and walking on her own and she sits down not 10 seconds and her name gets called.

I was thrilled.

I sat up on the patient examination table and the doc looked in my ear with his little ear torch thingo.

He looked in there for a while. I gotta say it was quite scary having a foreign object in my ear so soon after it being traumatised by the cotton bud.

Eventually he said, "all good, you're one lucky chicken to not have burst your ear drum, it's just grazed, off you go".

Phew. Ear drum in tact.

Didn't have to wait 8 hours to find out.

So if you ever need to desperately see a doctor......don't tell him or her I told you this story.

Oh and it took me years to be able to stick a cotton button in my ear again. 

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