Tuesday, January 8, 2013
The British American War of 2013
I can be an unusually stubborn man. Fortunately, I married a woman who can endure my obstinate nature but who is also strong enough and wise enough to overrule my more stupid instincts.
Following our Trans-Atlantic journey through hell (see yesterday's post), we attempted to fight off the jet lag and enjoy some dinner in the Covent Garden section of London. I told my wife I was feeling well enough for a meal but, having downed enough codeine-flavored cough syrup to sedate a rhino, I almost fell head first into my bangers and mash.
She knew something wasn't right when I refused to eat and even worse, when I left 7/8 of a Guinness Stout on the table.
So at 6 AM the next morning she dragged my feverish ass across the street from our hotel to the very convenient St. Thomas Hospital, where I was attended to in the Accident & Emergency Section.
Upon my immediate reception, I was told, almost with a certain nationalistic pride, that all my healthcare costs would be picked up for by the British taxpayer. This, I thought was fair, considering the torment I had experienced on the airline that represents the realm.
For the next 6 hours I was given more medical attention that I had accumulated in my entire life of 43 years.
Blood tests. Urine tests (twice). Chest X-rays. EKG. Even an HIV test, which for some reason my wife thought laughable. In total, I saw one receptionist, two nurses, three technicians, one radiologist, two doctors and a consulting supervisory doctor who wanted to admit me to the hospital for overnight observation.
Of course I had no intention of staying in a hospital room, when across the street I had a perfectly good $350/night hotel room with cable TV and a fully-stocked minibar. My low oxygen count be damned.
The doctors concluded my bronchitis had been inflamed by the 11 hour plane ride and that I had picked up some nasty airborne virus as well, which for reasons rational or not, I blame completely on Dirty Gepetto.
I exited the hospital with 38C degree temperature -- I think that's 115 degrees Fahrenheit but I'm not completely sure -- and a couple hundred British pounds worth of unpronounceable antibiotics.
I also left with my 2013 New Year's Resolution: Take down British Airways.
I don't know if one man, armed with nothing more than a blog, an unusual commitment to writing letters, an inexhaustible supply of righteous indignation and a serviceable knowledge of social media can change the way an airline inhumanely hauls humans from one location to the next.
But as the Brits might say, I'm ready to give it a go.