A calm night in A and E with no repulsive drunks or junkies around as people quietly lick their wounds

by Colin Campbell

AFTER a year without setting foot inside Raigmore I’ve now been up to the hospital twice in the past couple of weeks. The first time was for a check-up delayed by the coronavirus for around five months.

As I previously reported, after eight months of nothing in the media other than scary, and most often scaremongering medical news, it was reassuring to see Raigmore looking just as it’s always been, and if anything a bit quieter than it used to be.

The second visit was on Saturday night to A after E falling off my bike, again.

I say again but that might imply I’m especially prone to it happening. There are no statistics relating to that in Inverness so it’s impossible to know how that compares with others. I’ve fallen off quite a few times over the past 15 or 20 years and usually it involves nothing more than a bump or a bruise but very occasionally medical assistance is necessary.

This time it was after an accident – a wobble, a twist, a crash on a fast flowing hill down from Scorguie. There were cars on the road at the time but they were not involved, although they did slow down in sympathy as they glided past a dazed and bloodied, upright and mobile, figure.

Later on, when a visit to A and E was deemed necessary by myself and young relatives, after a couple of hours wait I was seen by a super efficient young doctor. As always with accidents of any kind, recovery will take place in its own good time.

There are more cyclists than ever out and about, people who have taken it up as an exercise hobby during the virus curse.

Even if you remove the fact that Inverness is a fairly high-risk cycling city, most will at some stage fall off their bikes too. It is not wholly inevitable but it is highly likely. It takes only a moment’s carelessness, distraction or, the more you do it, over confidence, and down you go.

Hopefully the more casual and careful bike users will be able to avoid a visit to A and E, but you never can tell. Once you lose control of a bike at virtually any speed it’s in the lap of the gods what happens to you. That, as countless cycling injury websites and forums will confirm, is an unfortunate fact. But on a more positive note, the vast majority of people if they’re riding at a fairly gentle pace will not suffer serious or semi-serious injuries, and many will be able to dust themselves down and carry on.

Riding a bike is very obviously not without risk. But it keeps you fit and is infinitely preferable to being wholly addicted to a car, taking no exercise and getting fat, or obese, with all the attendant health risks that brings.

Raigmore when I was there two weeks ago was quieter than usual and for a Saturday night the A and E department was quiet too.

By 11pm no drunks or junkies had stumbled in or been assisted in to abuse the staff or pollute the atmosphere. This must have something to do with licensing restrictions under the latest new rules, even though, as pub owners insist, more people will be drinking at home.

There were only half a dozen or so people sitting quietly and patiently waiting to be attended to. You could have heard a pin drop.

I’ve been there on a normal Saturday night when it can be an ugly experience, even if only two or three drunken cretins are around to cause unease to everyone else, with police and hospital assistants being required to control them.

No wonder characters who cause trouble at A and E who subsequently appear in court are now almost automatically locked up for six months to reflect on their disgusting behaviour. It’s barely long enough for these useless wretches.

A visit to the department is not a good experience at the best of times and the least the folk who go there deserve is to be left in peace and quiet to lick their (our) wounds.

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