Sunday, 18 April 2010
It's been an eventful holiday one way and another. We spent a miserable day in Limerick Regional Hospital's A&E waiting room before being sent home for lack of a bed. By the next morning, Sarah (who was extremely ill) collapsed and had to be taken right back there by ambulance, a journey of over an hour. The paramedics were absolutely fantastic, a jovial yet highly professional crowd. All of the medical staff were truly marvellous: kind, good-natured and funny.
We owe the doctors, nurses and staff at Thurles Ambulance Service and Limerick Regional a huge thank you.
Despite that, Ireland's health service is obviously at breaking point - even from our limited experience you could see it was dangerously under-resourced and over-managed. I was infuriated by the fussy bureaucrat in admissions who insisted on calling me rather than letting me call them to check on the availability of a bed - only to find out when it came to the crunch that they actually couldn't call me as I had a UAE mobile and their lines were barred from international calls. We only found out we had a bed when I called back in desperation post-collapse. I pointed out this was perhaps an issue worth escalating in case of other international travellers being in our situation only to get a repeated response of 'that's not my issue, it's nothing to do with me, that'. I understand, I said, but perhaps you could flag it to management because as it happened it was a somewhat dangerous situation. 'That's nothing to do with me, it's not my responsibility.'
And of course, the one time we decide to spend a week offline in a totally remote lighthouse in the middle of nowhere (well, West of Kinsale, anyway) is the one time we needed online access - when Iceland's most unpronounceable volcano erupted and spewed ash across Europe's airspace, everyone was directed to airline websites (the airlines having worked out that websites are really cool at informing customers rather than actually talking to them). Aer Lingus are as good at not answering the phone as Limerick Regional's bureaucrats are at avoiding responsibility. In fact, we haven't managed to get through to a human once all week - despite tens of calls every day.
Our flight out of Cork got canned so we've gone north to stay with the in-laws in Dundalk - we'll be flying out of Dublin as and when we do get away. In the meantime, it's lots of following aviation sites on Twitter, watching the news and drinking Guinness.
Well, even clouds packed with volcanic dust must have their silver lining...
From The Dungeons
(Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I clearly want to tell the world about A Decent Bomber . This is perfectly natural, it's my latest...