About midnight last night, I was walluped across the head by a chap I’d never as much as said hello to. My glasses went flying to the floor and had there been room, I’d have taken a nosedive with them. When I screamed to my Jesus, the chap turned and looked at me, and said sorry.
We were standing, ready to disembark from the late-arriving RyanAir flight from Dublin. The woman in 1C wanted to get her bag. He was in 2C. I was in 3C. Neither of them had much by the way of a reach, but rather than wait or even ask for help, she tried to stretch across. He then went to help. I was in conversation and wasn’t paying much attention until he swung wildly and caught me on the top side of the head with yer woman’s suitcase. If it weighed under the 10kg limit, I’m a size 8.
Jesus! I roared with the pain of it all. They looked back to see what the commotion was. I bent down to retrieve my glasses, thinking that if they were to have broken, it was a good day to break them as I’d a new pair to pick up today. But they were fine. My mate told him what he’d done and he apologised, three times. What could I say but
Ah, sure you’re grand.
What is it about us former convent-school girls. Why can’t we make a fuss when a fuss is needed? My head was throbbing. The force of the weight had clicked my jaw together and my teeth felt as if they’d been assaulted. My eye was thick and my cheek even thicker. But the more he apologised, the more appeasing I got. Anything to avoid a fuss.
By rights, I should have told the flight crew, gone to the airport doctor, and then gone to the ER to get checked out. All this I learned today when I did go to the doctor.
I went to have her check my finger and the lovely scar tissue that’s building up. I wanted to be sure it wasn’t infected. And sure while I was there, I thought I’d mention, in passing like, the clatter I’d gotten the night before. She ran the usual follow-my-finger, watch-the-light, touch-your-nose neurology checks, only tutting a little at the light thing. I’d passed. Then she had me stand, feet close together, hands by my sides, eyes shut. I lasted 2 seconds before falling to the left. I was impressed. It was a spectacular fail.
She apologised and told me I wouldn’t like what she was going to say next. And I didn’t.
An ambulance? Are you mad? I’m grand, I came here by tram. I’m fine.
But you mightn’t be, she said. There could be all sorts wrong with you. You need a CT scan. You need to go to the trauma centre immediately.
Do I have time for a coffee?
I didn’t hear that, she said. If you’re not going by ambulance you’re to take a taxi.
Across town at 4 pm? I’d be quicker on the metro, I said. She wasn’t impressed. I don’t think she’s had many patients who’ve been taught by the nuns to hold their whist and offer the inconvenience up for the holy souls in purgatory.
Thankfully, I’d arrange to meet the very capable KG afterwards for coffee so the Doc was happy enough to release me to her care.
I broke my promise, though, and took the metro. I could blame it on the bang on the head. Sure I wasn’t in my right mind.
At the hospital, we checked with security and took the lift downstairs as directed. The statue we passed on the way should have prepared us for what was in store, but I wasn’t really paying that much attention. As we were getting out, some poor chap in a wheelchair was getting in – he looked like he’d had better days. Leg in a cast, arm in a sling, a bandage on his head. There were lots of people milling about, dodging trolleys being wheeled hither and tither. I could feel the anxiety unravelling inside me and as the hours of waiting stretched ahead. But then we saw a sign for CT and MRI and buzzed ourselves through that door into a place I recognised. I knew we’d crossed the line from public to private, from insurance to out-of-pocket payment. And I was right. But faced with the choice between a bill for about €60 or a free 8-10 hour wait among the wounded masses, I was glad I’d gone to the ATM on my way over.
Some 2 hours later, I’d been scanned and released. No lasting damage apparently. Just a mild concussion.
I’ve a superstitious vein running through me and have a thing about leaving through the door I came in so we made our way back into the milieu. We passed a body laying on its side on a trolley facing the wall. It was covered from the neck down with a black bin bag, I said a silent prayer for the poor soul, wondering if they were alive or dead, but not waiting to check. I’m not a medic.
I was lucky. I had the wherewithal to pay. And although I’ve earned it, the privilege weighed heavy on me. Had I not, I’d still be there, taking my chances, and hoping to get released this side of midnight.