Friday afternoon saw us travelling up to Birmingham for the wedding of my good friend Graham‘s daughter, Abby.
The traffic was horrendous and it took us three hours to do the 85 miles there.
We booked into our hotel and quickly had a bite to eat in the restaurant, as the kids and Mrs M were famished.
Both kids were quickly put through the shower and then it was my turn. As I stepped in, I could feel it was slippery underfoot and I could see a mixture of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner still covered that end of the bath… you know what kids are like: they use far too much of the stuff.
“Blimey, this is a bit slippy”, I thought to myself, “better be careful here”.
I lifted the other foot into the bath and immediately went down like a sack of spuds.
The side of my head hit the wall and my chin caught the side of the bath, snapping my head back.
Mrs M rushed in, Amelia and Harry close behind her. Both kids then ran straight out again, screaming. I think they thought I was dead, at first. There was a lot of blood.
Where I’d hit the tile with my head, I’d made a small gash above my left eye, which was bleeding profusely and mixed with the water from the shower, making it seem there was even more. It looked worse than it was.
There was a lot of pain in my neck too.
I lay there in the bath, the shower still pouring down on me, whilst Mrs M tended to the cut on my eye with wet towels. I could hear the kids still sobbing in the bedroom and it took a while for them to calm down.
Concerned about my neck, the decision was made – by Mrs M and the hotel staff (who supplied us with plenty of clean towels, ice packs and concerned looks) – that I should go to hospital to get it checked.
So, we cancelled the taxi that I’d booked only fifteen minutes earlier, climbed in the car and Mrs M drove us to the hospital. I booked in at the reception in A&E and was sent through to a waiting room in the Minor Injuries Dept.
There were only two other people waiting, so I was optimistic that it wouldn’t be too long before I was seen.
But anyone who has ever attended A&E will know how long it takes. After forty minutes – when only one of the other two patients had been called – I instructed Mrs M to take the kids – who were mightily bored already – and go to the party. I would call her when I was ready to be picked up.
The other patient was called. “Won’t be much longer”, I thought. Then some more came in and sat down next to me. And yet, a couple of them were called before me. I guessed their problem must be deemed more important.
I sat there. Nursing staff and doctors walked past me several times but no-one spoke to me. No-one enquired as to my condition. No-one apologised for the wait. No-one even acknowledged my presence.
Mrs M and the kids turned up. She was surprised that I hadn’t yet been seen and she went off to find a nurse. She returned a minute later. “You’re next”, she said. “The nurse said that having neck pain, coming here was definitely the right thing to do.”
A few minutes later a nurse came along and I went to stand up, in anticipation, but instead she called for the Indian lady sitting next to me with her toe bandaged up. She got up and hobbled after the nurse.
We sat there for another fifteen minutes. I looked at my watch. It was now eleven pm and I had been sitting there for three hours. “Fuck this”, I said, “I’m going”. Mrs M didn’t argue with me as I picked up my phone and headed out.
“Aren’t you going to let them know you’re leaving?” she said as we passed by the reception desk.
“No”, I snorted, derisively. “I have been sat in that chair for three hours and not one member of staff has said a single word to me.”
And we walked out. No-one tried to stop us; no-one tried to question us as to why.
Over 24 hours have passed and I half expected a phone call from the hospital (they had our contact details) enquiring as to my condition and my reason for walking out. But no: nothing.
For anyone actually concerned about my health: I’m fine. My neck hurts still, but not as bad as before. Ibuprofen helps. I have a bit of a black eye and the small cut above it will possibly scar (it should have been stitched, probably) but that’s OK, because chicks dig scars.