Yesterday afternoon at 5.15pm my DD11 (dear daughter, aged 11) did a spectacular stunt when getting out of the car. Fell backwards, lost her shoe, managed to upright herself - whilst simultaneously jamming her thumb in the car door. At full force. Yep, the poor wee lamb got a fright (not to mention gave her Mum a fright) and ended up with a bleeding, mangled thumb.
So DS14 (dear son, aged 14) fetched her duvet and propped her up on the sofa, while Mum fetched painkillers and a bag of frozen sweetcorn to place on the (by now) huge and throbbing thumb. Now what? Oh yes, phone Akuttelefonen 1813 (the Emergency Helpline for Greater Copenhagen). You call them if a) you need a doctor outside of surgery hours b) you've had a minor accident which may require a visit to Skadestuen (the Emergency Room) or c) need advice about a medical problem. You can even send them a picture from your smartphone of your kid's spots/rash - very helpful for young Mums! If you need an ambulance or if it's a matter of life and death, you should always call 112.
Um, but hang on a mo'. Call 1813? What about all that bad publicity? Will I even be able to get through to the switchboard? To give you a little background: the new 1813 emergency helpline came into being on 1 January 2014. And had a catastrophic start. Which wasn't a surprise to anyone because the changeover to the new system had been highly controversial. Danish GPs, who previously provided the after-hours emergency service, refused on principle to work for the new helpline as they don't believe it will provide the same standard of care for patients. So the new service was undermanned from day one, resulting in telephone chaos. Callers were put on hold for hours. Or - worse - couldn't get through at all.
But back to the Throbbing Thumb... It's now 5.35pm and I dial 1813 and get a recorded message with various options. Type in DD11's identification number and am told that I am fifth in the phone queue, with a wait time of approximately 3 minutes.
Realise, while I'm still on hold, that I made a mistake in DD11's id number. So put the phone down (or whatever you say in these days of mobile phones...) and redial 1813, retypying the correct id number. This time I get through immediately, to a nurse. "Yes, sounds like you need to have the thumb x-rayed. I'll book you in for 6.33pm at the Akutklinik (Emergency Room). There's no need to turn up before then and there shouldn't be any waiting time when you get there."
Okay, the hospital is 10 minutes drive from us, so we'll just chill at home for half an hour. So I grab a drink and a bite to eat, a stack of Anders And blade (Donald Duck magazines) and DD's medical papers/id card. And we head off in the car at 6.10pm...
At 6.20pm we pull into the hospital car park. Log in online with DD's id number at the Akutklinik reception. And at 6.25pm a doctor comes to greet us and inspects The Thumb. 6.3opm and we're sent off to the x-ray department. Follow the lines...
We're the only people at the x-ray dept, so we walk right in. At 6.40pm we're done and are told to walk back to reception and wait.
At 6.50pm the doctor comes back and says - hooray, hooray - it doesn't look like The Thumb is broken. But there could be a teeny, tiny crack so he'll get a second opinion from the x-ray doctor in the morning. He checks our phone number and says they'll phone us if we need to come back.
6.55pm we're back in the car, on our way home.
At 7.05pm DD11 is back on the sofa. All snuggled up, ready for another episode of Sherlock.
Hooray for happy endings! And "two thumbs up" for a very successful first experience with 1813!