(Via viewing properties and putting down an application/holding fee on a house earlier in the day, because we didn't quite realise how serious things were. So, um, yay house?).
Basically what he had been told in the hospital clinic on Wed and again on Sat was a bit of tonsillitis that he should go home and take paracetemol for (and drink lots) became a major problem when yesterday swallowing became so painful that he couldn't really do it (an abscess developed). (New top tip for people who think in very precise ways like me and him: when dealing with medical descriptions, take "I can technically do this but it causes me excruciating pain and I am choosing not to 99% of the time" as "I can't do this")
Anyway. I'm really glad that he's being seen to and that he's okay; they say that 24 hrs of antibiotics should sort things but if not, he's in the best place. (The one thing we're a bit narked about is that when he was seen on Saturday in the clinic they really should have given him some antibiotics, rather than telling him that antibiotics probably wouldn't do anything and anyway they didn't have any liquid ones for adults)
Mostly I am immensely relieved and grateful for a whole host of things:
- we live at a point in history after the discovery of penicillin, and in a place where antibiotics are fairly easy to access.
- we live in a country where healthcare is free at the point of service. He was/we were able to go to the walk-in clinic on Wednesday, and on Saturday, and make a doctor's appointment, and phone a doctor for advice, and go to hospital, and be transferred by ambulance, and go to another hospital, and be admitted, all without having to worry about what those things would cost, or having to worry about paperwork.
- we have access to a car in good condition and so could drive to hospital quickly rather than having to rely on public transport which would be less direct and slower.
- as a household (us and his Mum) we are in a financial position where paying for petrol driving to and from hospital and paying parking fees at the hospital aren't a worry either.
- both I and his Mum were able to come in to hospital with him, which meant that there was always someone else there so we knew what was going on (one of us could go to the loo or to get a drink or whatever while the other one stayed with him)
- we live within approx 20 mins' drive of a hospital with an A&E, and 25 mins' drive of the hospital with an ENT specialist where he's been admitted.
- I'm able to work flexi-time/I'm a student able to organise my own study time, and his Mum will be able to take a bit of time off work, so we will be able to fit in with the hospital visiting hours (2-4pm) fine, and would be able to collect him to come home at any time.
- his workplace is full of wonderful reasonable human beings so he won't have any problems on that end (we phoned them yesterday when we realised he'd be too ill to come in to work today (but before we realised it was hospital-worthy) and they were very good about it; I'm going to pop in and see them later today to give them an update), they haven't been pressuring him to come back in even though he's been off nearly a week now as they've accepted that he's been too unwell to work.
- I was allowed to stay with him the whole time, including going in the ambulance. This was particularly helpful as he's been finding speaking painful (probably due to dehydration?) so I could answer the questions, and he could just nod. I could also make sure that at every stage of the process people knew what had happened so things didn't get missed as he was being handed over from area to area (initial assessment --> being treated in 1st hospital --> being transported --> being seen by specialist in 2nd hospital) - not that I think things would have been missed were I not there, but it's good to have me there as a backup or able to ask questions.
- all the staff who saw us (15 or 16 people, I think, from the receptionist at A&E all the way through to the nurse who settled him in the ward to stay overnight) were friendly, helpful, efficient, and funny. After the first nurse saw him things moved very fast (e.g. I know the person who'd been seen just before us needed to have blood taken for a test and he was asked to wait because MrM needed a needle in his arm ASAP so they could start getting everything into him). It wasn't til I stopped and thought about it later (when he was OK again and waiting to be seen in the 2nd hospital, dozing and breathing fine) that I realised how many people had been involved in looking after him at that first stage. In particular the senior nurse was just having a quick look in every few minutes, making slightly sarcastic (wonderful) comments and just making sure that if anything happened it would be dealt with ASAP.
I know that a lot of people in a lot of parts of the world don't have all these factors going in their favour. This makes me realise again how very fortunate and privileged we are (not that all of it's privilege, but stuff like having a car and not worrying about money is).
(He was settled in bed after midnight, we can phone to ask how he is in another hour - at 9:30 - after he'll have been seen by a doctor this morning.)