wherein I report on the state of hospitals in the UK

Well last night turned into a rather interesting evening. But first, the good news. There’s a (rather posh) kitchen store downtown that sharpens knives for only £2. The catch? They don’t do it in-house and it takes about a week. My beloved chef’s knife was in desperate need of a sharpening, so I took it in and they sent it off to be sharpened at some secret undisclosed location. That meant living without my knife for about eight days. Painful but bearable. The store called me yesterday and I walked into town and gleefully picked it up, then rushed home to make some salsa. And baby was that knife sharp. I mean, sharp. I didn’t even have to apply any force to chop the pile of shallots, bell peppers and cilantro I breezed through. The knife’s own weight was sufficient to destroy anything in its path. Including Ben’s finger. You see, I do the cooking and Ben does the dishes. And last night while washing the dishes (at about 12:30am) his hand slipped and the knife sliced his right index finger pretty deeply. Mr. Nonchalant walked into the bedroom and said “hey I cut my finger” like he was reporting the weather, as blood steadily soaked trough the paper towel he’d wrapped around it. Of course, it fell to me to evaluate it. Those of you that have known me a long time will remember that I spent most of my teenage years fully intending to go to medical school. I was a faithful devotee of “ER.” I watched open-heart surgery on cable access for fun. Well, use it or lose it apparently. All that fascination has turned into something closer to squeamishness. Coupled with the fact that this is the first time I’ve witnessed one of the most important people in my life injury himself, I was a little freaked out. I will spare you a description; safe to say that was the deepest I’ve ever looked *into* a finger…But where do you go to get stitches at 1am? We called the local hospital (about a mile away) and were told they don’t have an A&E (accident and emergency) department, so we got on a night bus and went downtown to the county hospital. Hospitals here look just like hospitals at home except there were no sick kids with fevers or scruffy men with nasty coughs that have nowhere else to go. (Everyone here has a GP they can see if they aren’t feeling well, so non-emergency things like colds and ear aches aren’t dealt with in the ER.) Nope, we were the only people in the waiting room. We waited about 20 minutes and a nurse came out to triage him. We waited another 20 minutes, then the doctor took Ben into an exam room, looked at his finger, and pronounced it not quite bad enough for stitches. So a young nurse taped it shut, wrapped it in a huge bandage (I’m calling him Mummy Hand now) and gave him a tetanus shot just in case. Yeah, the wait was annoying given there were no other patients (that we could see), but it’s hard to complain when you get treated by a doctor and two nurses for FREE. I would just like to say, for comparison, when I was in college I was in a car accident and had second degree burns on my arm. I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, and yet I waited about an hour and a half to be treated. And I never saw an actual doctor; I was treated by an EMT who was on a rotation in the ER. Food for thought. Now it’s my turn to do the dishes for a few days…


About krisawayfromhome

Back at home, but still a bit uneasy. Cooking my way to salvation?
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