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Sunday plans changed
by Asa Butcher
2007-05-10 10:06:35
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Last Sunday was a day that I would dearly like to forget and pretend never happened, yet my enthusiasm for sharing a story and writing for Ovi could never let any part of my life remain private for too long, so prepare for a candid insight into Sunday May 6th.

After getting out of bed at the ripe time of 1030 I began to think about what the day ahead had in store. Our apartment block had organized a community day to help tidy up our shared courtyard and then have the first barbeque of the spring, so my wife and I were preparing to lend a hand and maybe sneak off in the afternoon to do something as a family unit.

My hair was defying gravity on three different planets and some would say I needed a shower, but before grabbing my dressing gown and heading to the bathroom I thought to tidy the lounge, including the web cable we use for the Mac at night. I coiled the wire snake and crouched down to hide it away when my lower back went CLICK!

The pain was overwhelming and all consuming. Somehow, I don’t know how, I managed to climb back onto the bed and began writhing like the aforementioned snake. I’d love to say how I kept a stiff upper lip, controlled my breathing and dealt with the pain in a controlled manner, but I would be telling one of the greatest lies of mankind. I broke down in a whirlwind of self-pity, intolerable pain and moans/screams that began to upset my 22-month daughter.

After much deliberation (2.4 seconds) I ordered my reluctant wife to phone for an ambulance, which was the first time for both of us. I really couldn’t stand, let alone take a single step, so I suggested that she tell them I am the co-editor of Ovi magazine and that would give me VIP treatment, but she refused. Anyway, the ambulance was immediately on its way.

Three (one was a student) paramedics came in and began asking me questions, although the only one I remember now was actually about a piece of furniture one of them admired. My wife will tell you that I love to be Mr Entertainer or Mr Funny, so even with incredible pain swamping every nerve in my body I had to apologise to them for not offering them a cup of tea – how English!

It got worse…and this was before the morphine…”Do you have any allergies, Mr. Butcher?” ‘Pain!’ I replied. How they laughed at my British sense of humour, yet I was actually being serious that time. The worst part was being lifted from the bed onto the stretcher, but I was hyperventilating by then and they were trying to calm my breathing down, so my face would gain some of its feeling back

I must admit it made me smile when the paramedic warned me that I’d feel a stab as they put in the drip into my hand; I didn’t have pain left to spare a small scratch. Once on the stretcher they began to wheel me out into the corridor and down the two flights of stairs – again I warned them to lift with their knees, so they don’t damage their backs. My wife later told me one of them asked if all doors were locked, the oven was off and we had housekeys, which was really decent of him.

As they went down the stairs I suddenly realized that outside in the courtyard was almost all the neighbours beginning the community tidy-up day. Seriously, of all the days to be wheeled past the neighbours looking like hell – at least the morphine was kicking in and I didn’t really give a shi…

My first time in ambulance was better than I had ever hoped, although no siren was sounded. We chatted about being married to foreigners (his wife was Cuban), about life in Finland and I even arranged to interview them for Ovi magazine when I got better – ever the professional. Once we reached the hospital I thanked them again and apologized that I wouldn’t recognize them again, since I only ever saw their belts and I wasn’t wearing glasses.

Well, eleven hours on a hospital stretcher with regular pain medication was certainly a different Sunday than expected. I passed in and out of consciousness too many times, plus the doctors didn’t get too upset after Finland lost to Sweden in the World Championship Ice Hockey match – thankfully I was English and not Swedish!

Next Sunday is Mother’s Day in Finland, so I shall be buying my wife, courtesy of my daughter, the perfect gift: morphine!

Here’s to Finland’s paramedics, the first line of emergency healthcare!

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john2007-05-10 17:26:47
well written...... lol
its just a shame I wasn't home I could of supplied some great photos to compliment your article

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