Not Holland but Otahuhu


“Auntie…I need a coffee, can I have a coffee?”
“Not long now. Just stay in your cubical.”
“Auntie…I’m going for a smoke.”
“No. Wait. Stay here, we’re just organizing x-rays.”
An orderly arrives but it is too late. The patient has disappeared.

From calls of “Nurse, I’ve got stinky feet. Can I use a shower?” to abusive patients being pushed around by a swarm of family, the activity in the A&E department of Middlemore Hospital never stops. It is like being in the middle of a reality TV programme.

This is not where we were supposed to be. We were suppose to be in Holland, tiptoeing through the tulips at the Keukenhof, drinking coffee and appeltart at sidewalk café’s, joining family for a fun reunion followed by a month of climbing and kayaking in the Norwegian Fjords.

Instead, Dirk’s knee became painful, swollen, unbearable the night before our flight. We spent three ten-hour days in the A&E, during which time we saw two cars full of armed police arrive, (a scary sight at 6am) an obnoxious, abusive visitor being taken away by security, calls for security to remove others, and had a visit by a senior hospital staff member to see if those of us (and there were lots!) were okay after the aggressive disturbances.

Finally, on the fourth day, back in the hotel room which we were extending day by day in the hope of a miracle, we got a call for Dirk to go back to hospital and be admitted. A diagnosis, an operation and now on Day Six things are looking better.

I have nothing but admiration for the staff at Middlemore hospital. Such kindness and patience during days of the junior doctor strikes, an unappreciative public and the daily threats of violence is unbelievable. I am full of respect and gratitude.

Back at the hotel I am greeted like a long lost friend. Perhaps they see dollar signs when I walk towards the counter every day or maybe they are just very friendly. I have become one of Uber’s biggest supporters, booking two rides or more a day. The drivers have all been immigrants, living in New Zealand for less than six years, holding down two jobs and always, always praising our country. I’ve never felt safer.

It looks like the tulips and cheeses will have to wait. For the next few days I will continue my holiday in Otahuhu, Auckland.

The writer of this blog has not been sponsored by Uber, the hotel or the hospital however the insurance company will sure as heck be called upon!
Happy Holiday to those of you who have made it onto your flights.


We should be drinking Dutch coffee and eating Appletaart.

20190503_174633Instead we were holidaying in Otahuhu and staying at Middlemore Hospital.

3 thoughts on “Not Holland but Otahuhu

  1. What a start to what should have been a fabulous trip. Hopefully you’ll be able to replan your adventures. You will probably look back and think it was better that this happened before you left, rather than have to cope with another country’s medical system.


  2. Turning a disappointing, but unavoidable, situation into gratitude is a great reminder to us all…thanks for the great read and seeing others ‘reality’ through your eyes Angie 😊


    1. Thanks Paula, I hadn’t thought about the actual “turning an unavoidable situation into gratitude” but that’s a lovely way to think of it. Thank you.


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