A Trip to Redlands Hospital in the wee hours

A cautionary tale of thanks…

Ok, I know I can make mistakes, we all do; being mere humans – it is our condition.

Last night I made a whopper.

In the dead of nigh at about midnight, I took my usual 1/2 tablet of Valium (Diazapan). Usually enough to send me racing off to the land of Nod. Not last night, however.
So, as I am allowed 2 pill at night, I took another half. That made for 5mg of Valium. But it didn’t work. I had all the usual ‘;not so welcome symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis – Painful and Powerful muscle spasms in my legs. Doing their own little dance routine was NOT going to allow me to sleep. So, I took another complete pill. That now made 10mg of Valium. This was my limit.
However, after a little while, it appeared that this was not working, so I decided to take another 2 Baclofen pills. Again, this was withing my dosage limit of 3 before bed.
Just as well, I only decided on another 2 pills. At night, without the lights on and only the glow of my TV, I reached out for what I thought was Baclofen. When I went to replace the bottle, I noticed there was already another bottle in that space. As you can see, there is very little difference in the bottles (Pictured right)

I had made a terrible blunder, I had taken 2 more Valium by mistake. I usually put the different bottles in different locations, as they are identical. Somehow I buggered it up this time.

So, I knew I may be in trouble. I called 13 HEALTH the Queensland Governments medical help line, designed for especially this type of situation. I was promptly put through to a registered nurse. She checked my past history, made all the required enquiries of my medical situation and recommended I call triple zero for an ambulance.

I was reluctant to drag an ambo out of bed, but after much convincing by the nurse,I reluctantly agreed.

In short order, David, the ambo (pictured at left), a relative newcomer to Macleay appeared. He was quite concerned when he took my blood pressure, 75/65. This is dangerously low. Much lower and one can start to have convulsions and fits. And yes, it can be fatal.

David was nothing short of marvellous. He spent an hour battling with a grumpy old man who (mistakenly) thought he knew it all about blood pressure. Now that has got to be a rotten job at 2am, as the time was by then.
Here are some of the possible symptoms of low blood pressure (don’t forget – I am NOT a doctor, these are from Dr Google):



  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Blurred vision.
  • Nausea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dehydration and unusual thirst
  • Lack of concentration
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Depression
  • Lack of concentration.


The dehydration was the most obvious symptom for me. As were the other 4 in BOLD type.
Eventually, after I called my long suffering wife, who herself was ministering to her Dad in Nambour (he had major surgery last Friday); In her ever so sweet way told me to stop being a ‘bloody idiot and do as I was told and go to hospital’.
And so, despite all my protests, I was bundled into the ambulance and away to the ambulance boat I went.

The skipper preferred to remain anonymous, but I also owe him a great debt of gratitude. In my grumblings and protestations, he had returned to base, perhaps to get some sleep. Then he, as cheerfully as could be expected, came back again to collect me.

The odd thing was, as soon as I was in the ambulance, and then the boat, my attitude changed completely. I became calm, cheerful and relaxed. It’s one of the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis to become agitated, and anxious about the silliest things. Panic attacks are not unusual, and they can be dangerous just by themselves.
So I wasn’t actually being a pain in the bum by intention, It was a symptom of my disease over which I had no control. I figured that out this afternoon when I finally woke up.

We arrived in good order at Reddy Bay, the Mainland ambos, Inhumanly cheers for 3am got me loaded and suffered my inane chatter and rambling conversation (another symptom), getting to Redlands Hospital by about 4am.

Straight into Emergency and to a bed. No waiting, there was a lovely pleasant lady nurse by the name of Lorraine (see, Lorraine I remembered you), who promptly got me and my erratic ways settles (tablet and phone put on charge, bags put away, etc).

Time was a bit flexible for me, but it seemed about 20 minutes before a doctor appeared (sorry, forgot your name, but thankyou), he was very easygoing. But certainly would nit brook any nonsense from a rather smart Alec, self opinionated patient.

By now, my knack of being able to consciously regulate my blood pressure had kicked in (I don’t know exactly how I do it, all I know is that I can raise or lower my blood pressure at will by about 20 points – weird, huh?) Anyway, I had pushed it up to, initially 120/85. A touch high on the Diastolic side (the low number) but fine on the Systolic (the high number) It settled down to 120/76 (my nickname when I spent almost a year in hospital was Mr Perfect Pressure, always within spitting distance of the ‘perfect’ 120/80 picture to right).
After making sure I could walk (well, as well as I am able) he said it was fine to leave, but not to drive (no intentions to).

Then another wonderful thing. The hospital staff ordered me a Taxi. I explained that I had no money with me, but no matter. They provided me with a voucher. The taxi arrived, the driver had been briefed that he would have to help me walk down to the pontoon at the Marina. Cheerfully he did so (why was everyone so cheerful?).

Then I had a slight issue with BITS. I could not find out when the next boat was due. I had to phone home to make sure my son was ready to help me inside the house from the footpath.

Completely unassisted, my walking is a bit on the dangerous side, but I had no choice but to make my way from the macleay pontoon to where the ferry was refuelling. My poor walking (tottering or staggering) was clear to all and islanders alighting from the ferry were quick to offer aid as I tried to make my way to the boat. Sad to say, i had no such help from the deckhand, who shall remain nameless. I was very brusquely told to ‘get back over there’ nobody allowed on the ferry when refuelling’.
Well, fair enough, but a person in obvious need of assistance, one would think may be offered a helping hand, as I was stranded between the fences with nothing to hold onto. Not until I cried out for help as I was about to collapse and fall was a reluctant arm presented.

Leaving the boat was much easier. As the fates would have it George and Sophie from the Macleay pharmacy were on their way to work, so, kindly they saw me safely onto the ramp, from where I could make my own way to the taxi area.

Ulla came back from delivering the school teachers (for some reason passengers are not allowed on that run), she wave away the fare, as I was completely out of any money after paying for the ferry by cash. I had lost my GoCard. It seems my son, when he was with my wife, the last time she caught the taxi had dropped the Pensioner concession card.  Guess what? Ulla had a sign taped to the window asking if a card had been lost! So I even got my  card back.

Home finally, I collapsed and slept until 2pm.


A long and involved story, but one worth telling for the great professional and friendly service and help I received from (with one exception) from absolutely everyone. We are very fortunate to have such a service from the State Government all the way to the helpful locals, Ulla George and his lovely (and ALWAYS immaculately dressed) wife Sophie. And most definitely not to for get Dave the ambo, and our mystery Ambulance boat skipper. If course, I didn’t get all the names (I did remember Lorraine the Emergency ward nurse, though), but I take this opportunity to thank them one and all.


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