Friday, 25 March 2016

Hop On

This tale ought to involve a wheelchair or a gurney. I know, if you're not American you may not quite get what a "gurney" is. In case that's you, here...

Now, I don't think we even have a single word to describe a wheeled stretcher in the UK, so that's why I'll stick with "gurney". I rather like the word anyway. It's not sack trucks, that's for sure. Sack trucks? You're kidding me right? Oh all right, just for purposes of clarity...

Image courtesy of

Right, having got that out of the way...

A local friend of ours here in Kiotari recently broke his foot. He dropped a tree on it whilst heavily pruning some large ones with his chainsaw. Yea, that ought to do it, you're thinking, right?

Well, to be accurate, it wasn't a whole tree, it was a thirty foot length of trunk, probably about 8 or 9 inches in diameter - and he dropped it on his foot endwise-on, not lengthwise across, if you get the idea. Ouch anyway.

Now, to get this straight, our friend is well skilled and experienced in such activities, rest assured. I'd trust him with a chainsaw to the ends of the earth, even further. But he has often told us that when you're sawing an almost vertical trunk, there are ways you have to cut in order for the whole thing to plunge earthwards out of harm's way. He did have an accomplice too, of course. It's never a good idea to be perched several feet up in a eucalyptus tree, wielding a chainsaw, lopping near-vertical boughs, without someone on hand in case anything goes wrong.

Trouble was, his mate Stavros had just nipped off to run a quick errand and our friend, ever the confident one, having done this zillions of times before, decided he may as well carry on regardless. Time was, after all, slipping away. He has often regaled us with tales of his escapades in his past life in the UK working in forestry, when things didn't go entirely according to plan. He not only knows how to cut a trunk to make it fall where it ought to, but he's also made it clear that occasionally things don't go right, even when you've done the right cuts.

On this occasion, things didn't go right. Having almost completed the final cut (apologies to all Pink Floyd fans), the whole trunk began, not to fall in the direction our friend had intended, but to twist on the last few strands of wood left uncut, swing clear of the remaining stump, then plummet a foot or two (good that, eh? "foot", you know...) straight on to his right ...foot. 

There's no need to expand too much on what happened next. I'll cut to the quick. When he eventually arrived at the hospital (we drove him there as it happens), his faithful mate Stavros was there to greet us at A&E. Stavros had said, "You let me know when you're getting near and I'll be there to meet you. I know people. I'll make sure he sees someone pronto." Which indeed he did.

In fact, they decided to keep him in because he had quite a few broken bones and shouldn't have been walking on it at all. Well, he wasn't to be honest. More like limping, but that also counts apparently.

So, a day or two later we contacted a mutual friend who was more in the know and had been to the hospital since our visit, and he told us what happened as they were checking him in (Stavros had told us we could clear off, as he'd handle it from there on in). Now, there are elements to this that I don't rightly remember, but the essence is this:

Well, actually, first I need to make a few observations about the Municipal Hospital here on Rhodes. You'll know that I myself had surgery there a couple of years ago and was entirely satisfied with the whole experience. That is, of course, if that's the right way to describe going in for a hernia op [see this post]. There are, though, some who decry the local hospital, having barely a good word to say for it. I can only speak as I find and I believe that the staff there are doing a grand job in the severely straightened circumstances in which they find themselves. Some UK ex-pats complain that they're not treated very well, but I suspect that may have something to do with their own failure to speak Greek or to demonstrate patience when inter-acting with the staff. Only saying, like.

Anyway, our friend was admitted and told to report to a particular ward on a particular floor, but not the ground floor, where he'd been seen by A&E. Now, this would entail a trek to the lift, then, on exiting the lift a further trek of some distance to the desk on the ward where he needed to check in. After looking around for a wheelchair or a gurney and finding none, the two chaps in question, our friend with the broken foot and his trusty Greek friend Stavros, began an arms-over-the-shoulder type struggle to reach the lift lobby. They made it to the lift, but exiting just as they arrived to enter, was a doughty porter wheeling some boxes from the stores to a ward, using his sack trucks.

You know where this is going now don't you? Yea, right, exactly. The porter commented that our friend the patient with a well-bandaged foot and a crutch ought not to be walking. 

"Hold on," he said to our two heroes, "Hang about and I'll find you a wheelchair" ...or a gurney. He left his laden sack trucks near the lift with our two friends and legged it off down several corridors before returning breathless and saying, "Let me just get these off and I'll take you."

On saying that, he unloaded his stack of boxes, bade our friend step on to the sack trucks, wheeled him into the lift, up to the appropriate floor and along the corridor to the ward desk for him to be checked in.

Let no one say that the staff at Rhodes Hospital lack dedication to patient care.

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