Sunday, January 1, 2012

Saying Goodbye to 2011

The last day of 2011 started early for me.  Up at 6.30, shower, got a few odd jobs done, you know the kind of stuff, emptying the dishwasher from the night before, feeding the dog.  I had a vital task ahead of me though, so once all my little household duties were done, I set about typing up my list of questions for someone very important.

Now when I say very important, I mean this on a number of levels.  Firstly, the person I was going to interview was prepared to help me with research for my novel, secondly, he was a Detective Inspector, and thirdly, he was an old friend of mine. I knew my Detective Inspector from way back, when we were both teenagers and thought we had the answers to the world's problems.

Anyhow it was brilliant to meet him again, yes we had bumped into each other on occasions over the years but more bumping into each other at shopping centres or the like.  I had 8 pages of questions waiting for him, with spaces in between, so not too bad really.  About half way through the interview though, I knew something was wrong.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it at first, the queasy feeling rising in my tummy.  Was it because we were talking about autopsies? Body parts? Or was it something much more sinister?

I soon came to realise, that it WAS about something much more sinister - the coleslaw which I had had on my sandwich prior to him arriving wasn't going down well.  Despite looking forward to this interview for days, I had to abandon my wonderful Detective Inspector and rush upstairs.  Luckily hubby was there to put on an extra cuppa while little old me faded peacefully away in the bathroom.

Long story short, the interview was abandoned as I got sicker and sicker, and things went even more downhill from there.  Eventually I became so ill that when I rang A & E, they told me to go straight in. 

So hubby and I arrived at St James Hospital about 10.30 last night, and after going through my symptoms, I was admitted immediately and put into isolation.

Now, I am not one to enjoy spending long periods in A&E, especially on New Year's Eve, but being taken in so quickly, didn't fill my heart with a lot of joy either.  If I was getting such speedy attention, chances were, something could be seriously wrong.

The doctor treating me was from Nigeria.  He had very good english, but was a little serious and hard to get to know at first.  In the periods while he wasn't in the room, hubby and I googled my condition, and when the less serious reasons for its occurrence were eliminated, we both became more worried. 

It was one of those period when life just gets suspended.  You think what if all of this is sudddenly taken away?  Sorry to be getting so deep here, but I thought about Nuala O Faolain, and how she became ill in New York, and her extremely moving interview with Marianne Finnucane before she died.  I guess during those moments in isolation both hubby and I were thinking a little differently to the rest of the world, because suddenly I looked at the time, and realised it was 12.02 and we had both missed midnight.  I turned to him, saying a mild Happy New Year, and being the worried hubby that he was, he gave me a huge hug. 

Then we waited and waited for the results of further blood tests, while ringing everyone to tell them not to worry.  When the tests came back and our doctor gave us the verdict, we were both very relieved.  The coleslaw from early morning had given me a severe dose of food poisoning, so much so that I had burst blood vessels internally, which was why I was losing so much blood.  I had been put on a drip earlier, which the doctor explained I needed, as they had to bypass my stomach, because anything going through my it would have encouraged my body on its task of getting everything on the inside, out.

The reason I'm telling you all this is because over the next 5 hours we got talking to the doctor, whom in my opinion brought me back from the brink.(I know drama queen!)  We heard all about the poverty in his village, the funny stories he had about training in Irish hospitals, the lovely and not so lovely people he met along the way.  He spoke about the corruption in Ireland, and how if his homeland had our level of corruption, the place and his people into which he was born, would be very happy.

He told us how many of the people in his village live until their 80's or 90's, how despite lots of bad things and unfairness, they are a happy people, how remote the village he grew up in was, how at night the adults sat around the fire and told each other stories, how excited he was the first time he saw a frizzy telly, and I remembered how excited I was too so many years back.   He told me I was very lucky, my body did exactly what it was supposed to do, and that soon I would be well.

When I was leaving I passed by other people in A&E, less fortunate than I had been, me having the luxury of being put in isolation.  I saw the drunks, the lost, a blond girl in her twenties with black eyes like someone had just painted them with the darkest mascara.  It was a strange eerie feeling walking through, and I thought about how many of us in western society don't realise how lucky we are, how we mess up, like many in A&E last night.  I thought about the doctors and nurses on duty, the guards in and out of A&E trying to keep things calm on a very uncalm night.  But I also thought about my friend the doctor, and his people telling stories around campfires, and how the world over we as humans love to hear, tell, and read stories.

I hope 2012 will be full of wonderful stories. I look forward to reading and hearing them, now that all my google searches have ended on such good news.

Have a wonderful 2012 everyone, and thanks for being part of making 2011 so great.


  1. Good grief you poor thing! Fingers crossed you're on the mend now. Yes, I know what you mean about people watching in A&E. It's a voyeur's heaven though and a melting pot of life.

    Take it easy now you hear?!

  2. Oh Louise I Hope you are feeling ,much better. I can't believe that colslaw made you so sick that u burst a blood vessel. What a way to start 2012, but as you said you were in the right place.

    I agree with Caren, take it easy.

  3. Oh my god Louise, that's scary. Glad it turned out ok.
    Take care

  4. Thanks guys - and not just one blood vessel but numerous blood vessels Michelle. That makes twice in 2011 I ended up in James Hospital, strange for a girl who other than having babies in them, only ever visited!

  5. You actually forced tears into my eyes midway and that's no easy feat. I'm so glad there was a happy ending. And I admire your postive outlook. Happy 2012 x

  6. You poor thing Louise - I'm sure planning your interview you had blood and guts questions floating around the pages - but hadn't planned on taking it all so literally!

    Glad to hear you're feeling so much better and you're right - stories are what makes the world go 'round . . .

  7. Thanks Elizabeth Rose and Susan - I guess none of us know what twists and turns life will visit us with. X

  8. I never realised food poisoning could be so dangerous, so glad to hear you'll be well soon. I really enjoyed reading your post though, it puts a lot in perspective:) Stay away from coleslaw and have a great 2012:)

  9. Indeed Words A Day and congrats on ur poem in New Irish Writing:)

  10. God Louise what an ordeal! I am so happy you are well again. Thank you for your blog, I have enjoyed reading it in 2011 & hears to lots more in 2012.

    May I wish you & yours health, peace & more love in 2012 :)

  11. Louise! Oh my god! So glad everything is ok, and take it easy lady xx

  12. Thanks Trish - and same to you for 2012:)

  13. Sorry Katy, missed ur comment there - planning on taking it easy alright - getting loads of TLC from hubby- have a brill 2012:) X

  14. Wow, Louise - having something like that happen to you puts everything else in perspective. Wishing you good health in 2012. Shirley xxx

  15. And the same to you Shirley - hope 2012 brings lots of wonderful things:)X

  16. So scary! Nearly as relieved as you to learn everything came out all right in the end. Doctor sounds fascinating; you should put him in a story.
    May this be the last scare of 2012--nothing but good stuff for the rest of the year for you!

  17. Yes ds - he was a very interesting man. Learned a lot about whats happening in dat part of the world-eye opening for sure:)

  18. Crikey, talk about blood and guts, you poor thing.

  19. i too was once laid up via the coleslaw method i was as sick as a dog for days.
    i have also worked in Africa and the level of corruption is crippling, if you think it's bad over here then take a trip to Africa... it will open your eyes as to how fortunate you have been to be born in the western world...education, education, education
    ever heard of school through the window ?
    what's a fuzzy telly btw?

  20. Ah I survived kate - hense resting on couch writing up address book!!!

    Mark - sounds like you know what your talking about - eye opening for sure.

    Fuzzy/frizzy telly - one with lots of interference!

  21. Ah, a born survivor, obviously. The interesting bit for me was the doctor's talk about his village, the best bit was how it turned out for you.

    Here's wishing a great 2012 to you and yours, with n o more alarums.

  22. Well, the only way is up after that. Scary stuff...

  23. I hope you are on the mend, Louise.
    Such a poignant tale about the doctor and what a contrast between A & E on New Years Eve in Dublin and his home village make.
    You are a natural storyteller, even your blogpost had me riveted. Good luck with your research and wishing you a great writing year in 2012!

  24. Thanks Dave and Brigid - hope 2012 is brilliant for you both. X

  25. Sorry Peter, forgot to include you in the last one - have a brilliant fab 2012:)


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