I hate to alarm you – but last weekend I was so sick my friend called an ambulance.
Don’t worry, I’m fine.
If you had asked me at the time – I was going to die.
But I wasn’t.
We’ve all been there, the morning after.
The initial realisation that, yes, you are actually conscious and, yes, your face hurts (and you’re going to die, obviously).
This is usually followed by attempting the arduous hangover tasks of opening your eyes and then, you know, moving. I’m not saying that the execution of these tasks is always perfect, but it’s the taking part that counts, right?
When there’s a race between your legs and your belly – your legs wanting to get to the bathroom and your belly wanting to throw up before you get there – it’s definitely the winning that counts. Unfortunately for me belly was slightly faster, causing me to have one of those moments where you realise: “uh-oh, I’m not going to make it.” So for me the fun and games all started at the kitchen sink.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not much of a drinker, so a hangover isn’t remotely new to me; many a morning have I woken up and wished that I hadn’t drank the night before. But this time I couldn’t even remember the night before.
This was no ordinary hangover.
If Hitler was a hangover, this was Hitler.
I found myself unable to carry out some of the basics. Standing up is pretty basic – I just couldn’t do it! I had no balance whatsoever (Maybe my drink was spiked, who knows?).
Then there was the throwing up – good grief the throwing up. I won’t go into too much detail on this, but let’s just say it was messy and frequent. We’ll leave that there.
Luckily for me, I live with one of my best friends, who looked after me and did whatever it is that people can do for you in this situation – which was basically just watch me throw up. But still, I appreciated it.
The nice lady from NHS direct decided that the ‘symptoms’ that I was showing weren’t normal and an ambulance was sent.
The paramedics checked me over and were happy enough that I would be fine. As far as I was concerned I was dying and we may as-well skip the ambulance and take me straight to the morgue.
As it turns out, after nine hours of hell, I physically couldn’t be sick anymore. I fell asleep and woke up several hours later with that ‘THANK GOD’ feeling that we all get after a hangover nap (in my case it was more a coma than a nap but I’ll let that slide).
It took a few days to get back to normality, but everything was fine.
But this isn’t the case for everyone – brace yourself, this is about to get depressing.
Across the UK people have developed all sorts of alcohol-related illnesses thanks to their drinking habits or drinking problems. Liver problems are the most common and can even lead to people needing new livers. The problem with this is that there aren’t enough organ donors compared to the amount of people actually looking for new organs. This doesn’t surprise me even a little bit, I’m sure that I’m not on my own in saying that I have no plans to register as an organ donor. However selfish this may seem, these body parts are mine, they are meant to be inside me. Not you.
Anyway, due to the shortage of donors, criteria has been put in place to help the ‘best-matched’ candidates receive the organs that are available. Patient details are loaded into a computer and matched up with the criteria.
Brilliant. But what about the people who aren’t considered as a ‘best match’ by the NHS Super Nintendo? What about the people who drink themselves silly through negligence or even through a genuine drinking problem? The harsh truth is that, in many cases, they die.
This is why it’s so important for us to look after ourselves. The attitude that the NHS seems to have adopted is one of ‘if you don’t look after yourself, we won’t look after you either.’ Whether or not this attitude is justified is up for debate but it highlights the responsibility we have to look after ourselves. There is only so much that charities, like Drinkaware and Alcohol Concern, can do – although both websites are handy if you do think you have a drinking problem.
So, it’s pretty safe to say that, although I don’t have a drinking problem, I’m off the alcohol for the foreseeable future (just the thought of drinking makes my stomach curl).
I’ve had a chat with my liver and we’re friends again.
Secretly, though, I think it’s considering leaving me for another digestive system.
Oh and for anyone who’s still waiting for me to say it; yes, an ambulance came because I had a hangover…