The English are the nicest of people, but give them a drink and they lose concept of time on the other side of the world, hence when the phone rang at six o'clock this morning, I assumed it was one of them. R answered the phone, as he has a cordless phone in his bedroom. While I have a phone plug in my room, I refuse to have a phone there.
"Andrew, wake up and concentrate. It is a hospital. They want to speak to you".
I was asked to collect Mother from a large Dandenong, or is that Mulgrave, private hospital. There seemed to be some haste to get rid of her. I was assured she was ok, just a blood pressure problem. She had throbbing in her neck and around midnight called an ambulance. The paramedics checked her blood pressure and it was well over 200, so they insisted she go to hospital. Do you have private cover, they asked? Yes, she replied. Ok, we will take you to the private hospital where they will attend to you straight away and you won't have to wait like you will at the nearby public hospital. Mistake. She loved the paras who were full of concern.
Upon admitting her to Emergency, the hospital wanted $200 up front. Overnight they did tests and slowly her blood pressure came down.
I arrived at about 7.30 and she still had ecg pads attached and a stent in her wrist. I don't know what the urgency about her leaving was about, but there had been a shift changeover. Mother disliked the evening staff very much. She wanted something to eat and asked if I could see if the canteen was open. I asked staff and they said they would bring her something and myself some coffee which duly arrived with a packet of sandwiches each, tea and coffee. Mother queried me about why the staff were so nice now and had been so horrid last night. I did not have an answer. I went outside to make some calls while Mother dressed and I took her home and stayed with her for a couple of hours. I rang ABI Brother at work and he said he would stay the night.
She is fine now, but upon leaving she was given a bill of $280 for the doctor, who had already deducted his Medicare reimbursement. I am not sure if that figure includes the original $200 or not. Nevertheless, it will be we children who pay and because she wasn't admitted to hospital, the health fund gets off scot free. I have urged her to go to the public hospital next time. If she needs admitting, she can switch to private later.
She was very apologetic to me about the early hour inconvenience but she knew I was not working and I was the best person for the job. Fair enough.
"You know Andrew, I don't actually know what the word surreal means. Do you?"
"Mother, you had no sleep last night. I expect it felt like a surreal experience and this morning has been a surreal experience for me".
I was home a bit after 11 and felt quite distracted. How could I centre myself? I caught the tram to St Kilda Library and renewed my library card that won't work for ebook borrowing from the library and the contact phone number for the library on my card was only seven digits, not eight. Yes, it would have been issued about 1992. A long black at a cafe and a flick through The Hun, and I felt a lot better.
PS If you drive in towards Melbourne on the Monash freeway, in the morning peak, I feel very sorry for you. Kilometre after kilometre of crawling traffic. What is wrong with this damn country that people are forced to endure such things, along with an absurd private medical system that you insure yourself for, but it doesn't pay.