A Night Portiuncula Hospital: A Story of Survival

On the evening of the 3rd of February I was admitted to a hospital in the exotic and treacherous town of Ballinasloe, Co Roscommon. Friday afternoon I developed serious minor side effects from a serious minor brain injury, and I was informed by my personal school psychican that I must go into hospital for possible brain scans and observation. Needless to say, I was devastated to be YET AGAIN suffering from another concussion. However, my fans back home and abroad were even more worried that this traumatizing injury would lead to the end of my roller/ice skating / dancing / comedic / political career. Obviously, I got this concussion on a night out dancing a mission to save refugees from the mediterranean sea. So it can at least be said that I at least put my life on the line for a cause worth while.

In all seriousness though, let me tell you about my wild crazy Friday night at this hospital. I was lucky enough to have an amazing director for my BCA study abroad programme who took me to the hospital, and he and his wife stayed with me all night to make sure I didn’t die. I was informed that the hospital out in Ballinasloe, whilst further away, would have better service as the Dublin hospitals on the weekends are rough and over crowded. I got there around 21.00 and was informed that I might have to wait a little bit in the A&E, little did I know that when the Irish say “wait for a little bit” they mean 8 hours. When I got to the hospital I was suffering from dizziness and ear ringing that had been around all day, however by the time I left most of it was gone due to the fact I had been there forever. The RD of my programme, Kieran coined the phrase “Portiuncula hospital, where our cure is worse than your sickness”.  Whilst 8 hours is a long time to be at the A&E, some of the other patients had been waiting for over 10+ to be seen by a doctor, so I am pretty lucky I got out in 8.

Here is a self I took at 3am in the hospital. Please note the terror in my eyes

The other patients waiting to be seen were interesting characters. If only Yeats had been so lucky to sit in this A&E for 8 hours, I’m sure he would’ve found a muse greater than Maud Gonne to write poetry about. My favourite was probably Clifford. Clifford’s real name is not Clifford, but he goes by that because he used to play a lot of snooker. I don’t actually understand how that name relates to snooker, but then again I also do not fully understand how the game of snooker works. Clifford seemed to be a genuinely harmless character, except for the fact that he was so drunk his eyes were crossed. He had hurt his hand, and it looked broken to my unqualified eyes. I learned a lot about Clifford that night through Annette’s translations of his incredibly thick slurred accent. While I was informed that he was probably part of the ‘travelers’, which are gypsies to my understanding; Clifford worked mainly by clearing bogs for peat.

However, Clifford was probably the most normal person I encountered that night. Shortly around 01.00 many intoxicated old white guys kept getting wheeled in from the ambulance into the A&E. This was annoying because since they came by ambulance they took priority over the people who had been waiting for over 4 hours. This one man came in with a huge open wound on his cheek. His face was red, not from blood but from high levels of booze. Shortly after he was wheeled in, we heard shouting from behind the emergency room doors, and the guards quickly emerged with this man dragging him by the scruff of his jacket. The guards wanted to arrest this man because he was disturbing the peace, but I don’t believe they could because he was injured. The gardí shoved him down in a chair, and after much shouting on both ends they left when they got him to agree not to move until he had been seen by a doctor. About an hour later this man disappeared into the toilets for a very long time, doing who knows what. He was in there for about hour and a half. *I obviously know the estimate of this time because I had nothing else to do*

So it’s around 03.00 now, and obviously I am dying from exhaustion, but luckily some new entertainment arose when the drunken bald man returned from the toilets. Unfortunately Clifford was staring off into space, and his eyes just happened to land on Baldy. Baldy, being the mad bastard he is, stomped over to Clifford (who for the record was sitting next to Annette and I) and grabbed him by the sleeve of his shirt and shouts, “Wut yer fuckin lookin at?!?” I would like to state that at this point Annette and I had cups of tea and biscuits and we looked like two observers in a Shakespearean comedy. After the shouting there was a short argument, and somehow Baldy returned back to his chair on the other side of the A&E partition.

Finally, at around 04.00, I was taken back into the emergency room and left on a trolley until a doctor could see me. During the hour period I was back there, I saw a man strapped onto a gurney being rolled into the ER shouting, “I don’t want a tube up my arse!”. He also was very drunk and shortly after he was admitted I heard more shouting out in the A&E waiting room, and according to my sources ANOTHER crazed drunk man started a fight with the garda and had to be pepper sprayed in the face.

By 05.00 I had been seen by two doctors who had confirmed what I already knew, that I had suffered a bad concussion and there was nothing else dreadfully wrong with my brain other than the fact that I am Polish, but I am told this cannot be helped. I just want to state that when I was first admitted, they told me that they would need to keep me overnight for observation, however I did not realise that when they said “overnight” they meant watching fights break out for 8 hours in the waiting room. By the time they saw me it had been over 24 hours since my injury, and it was actually the morning, so by that point they let me leave.

All in all, it was a memory I’ll never forget, and now I can cross visiting an Irish hospital off my bucket list.

Other new developments in my life include:

  1. My room is either haunted or has mice
  2. I have left the bottle of mustard out of the fridge for far too long, yet I am too lazy to google to find out whether or not it should be thrown away. If anyone has the answer to this, please DM me.
  3. I would like to live in this country forever. But that is old news.
  4. I have lost weight on a strict diet of potatoes, hobnobs, tea, and Bulmers. It is likely I will die of malnourishment, but I’d highly suggest this diet.
  5. I saw a dog a week ago.
  6. My victorian literature professor is literally Peter Capaldi, but if Peter Capaldi was from Belfast.

Author: Savannah Rives

Savannah Rives is a young hot professional (waitress) who enjoys amusing herself with fart jokes and crying into bowls of ramen while filling out FAFSA paperwork. Rives is also a third year Writing Studies major at EMU, amateur comedian, and a bit of a hipster.

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