Friday, September 21, 2012

A Stylish Faint

It started so promisingly.
            Margreet and I had been invited to a birthday party in London’s most famous 18th century gaming club.
            So, dressed accordingly, we took the Underground train almost door to door, with us having to stand up in the rush hour crush.
            At the club, after ascending the grand, red-carpeted staircase, we passed a gaming room where many tables, designed for gambling with cards were looked down upon by oil portraits in gilded frames of long-dead worthies.
            As the door of this famous room fortuitously happened to be open, we had a glimpse through it to where, in the 18th century, great estates and plantations were lost and won – along with probably slaves and possibly wives.
After being unable to sit in the Tube, and then standing up at the party for an hour or two, I felt a bit faint, and managed to reach a chair with Margreet’s support.
My eyesight and brain became a little befuddled – rather like blacking out when throwing an aeroplane around the sky as G-forces take effect (except that then the brain is more intact).
            Margreet saw my ashen face and called an ambulance.
            The fact that two Members of the Cloth offered me water, frightened Margreet more than me.
            First to arrive, by bicycle, was a paramedic who, seeing that blood had drained from my face toward my feet, led me, under the direction of a servant, to the aforementioned gaming room (where the gamblers had departed). I was asked to lie prone on the floor.
            Blood to the head, a satisfactory pulse rate, demeanour and spirits, soon returned.
            But when medics are called, precautions have to be taken. So all of the medical equipment able to be taken on a bicycle was put to use.
            The summoned ambulance men had difficulty in locating the building as, in the 18th century, there was no need for it to have a number. And, accordingly, no number to the place had since been thought necessary.
            Now, with the arrival of the ambulance men, and me feeling normal once more, I was put into a chair and, because there was no lift in Georgian times (the one for food being too small for anything larger than a small roasted ox – standing up on end), I was carried down that rather grand staircase, with ambulance men fore and aft, as if in a sedan chair.  I expect that Georgian estate owners, having lost their property and inheritance at the tables, might well have fainted, too, or had the vapours or whatever, and been carried down to their carriages in much the same manner.
            I was taken to the hospital where my pacemaker had been installed and cleared by general and cardiac doctors to go home, and to have the pacemaker checked on another day.
            By the early hours of the morning we were home, and glad to consume a bowl of hot soup.
            The pacemaker, which had, until then, given me the feeling of indestructibility, was checked the following day and found to be in excellent working order. I had fainted only by standing up for so long, with blood sinking downward.
            As before, I cannot over-praise our National Health emergency and back-up services.
            But I would rather not have to use them quite so often.