Donard Hotel

Main Street, Newcastle, BT33 0AD, United Kingdom
Donard Hotel
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Travel Tips for Newcastle

What do you mean this isn't Ulster hospital

by Alain_Smeets

"How we get to see 3 hospitals in one evening"

When the Ambulance leaves the carpark I follow in Zuzu’s car and behind me is Dirk in our rental car. The driver asks first in which cars we are driving before leaving. All of a sudden Dirk is missing and the Ambulance stops and the driver comes over to ask me if I know what happened. I never saw him disappear, but I noticed that he was missing at the moment he stopped. The driver saw Dirk pulling over to the right hand side. Moments later Dirk is there again, he told me later that he thought he forgot to put his bag into the trunk, but luckily it was he. He stopped to check. The ambulance takes very good care of not loosing us and when we arrive in the hospital, we can park our cars into the handicap zone. Do they know that Dirk sprained his ankle also on this trip.

Yes he did, when walking down with those 2 girls, he wasn’t looking towards the road but chatting with them and he twisted his ankle. The girls told him to hold some cold water on it and to put it in the river, a few meters below. Do you see him crawling to there. No so he answers a bit irritated, how do you know, are you doctors or something. They reply yes. So almost two people having an accident on this mountain.

They bring Zuzu into the emergency ward and we have to wait in the waiting room, were we see the result of a Saturday at football, an injured knee, a dislocated elbow, but also a person who has a cut in his hand or a girl who cut a piece of her finger. But most of all are the two children crying there very loud. We can see Zuzu now and then and then she calls us again and tells us that they had order another ambulance to bring her back to Belfast.

The surgeon at Downpatrick will not operate on her and he thinks she needs an operation and therefore they have to bring her to Belfast to the Ulster hospital to get a second opinion and if needed to operate her. She points on our map where that hospital is located in the city of Belfast. Zuzu is sitting there with her temporary cast and we are waiting on the ambulance to arrive. It’s already 22h00 and the ambulance will arrive soon, they say. When they put her on the stretcher to carry her out it’s already 22h20 and we tell the driver that we will follow him. He tells us that that’s OK and that he’s going to the Ulster hospital and Dirk says OK, I know that. We let the ambulance pass us and then we turn our cars and we don’t see him anymore. So were is he, did he turn left or right.

We know that the road to the left leads towards Belfast, so we take that road and we speed up. Speed-limit, what is that? It’s dark and driving on the left over that hilly road, but still making up time. But as we don’t see him after 20 minutes, we pull over and wait, maybe he waited for us and we are ahead of him. But a lot of cars pass us but no ambulance, so the only thing we can do is to find the Ulster hospital in a strange country in a strange city in the dark. But we are confident we will find it.

Dirk is taking the lead now and he brings us towards Belfast and the hospital with the help of the Lonely Planet guide book. We park our cars in the street in front the hospital and in the mean time we are cursing that ambulance driver for leaving us behind. When we enter the emergency room, we go directly to the counter and I ask is this the Ulster hospital. She says, no this is the city hall hospital. The clock is ticking midnight 00h00.

What do you mean this isn’t the Ulster hospital, we are looking for a woman that is transferred from Downpatrick to here and the ambulance didn’t wait for us. Can you tell us where the Ulster hospital is, please. We show her our map and it isn’t on our map, it’s located far outside the city. (You have the Ulster museum and the hospital next to it is the City hospital.) Oh sh*t, I think by myself. She does several calls towards Ulster hospital and tells us that Zuzu is already there and worried about us, Belgians in a strange country with no clue where to go.

So we head our own rental car in the right direction and leave Zuzu’s car parked in the street and are cruising towards Ulster. Are we on the right way, it’s indeed far, let’s ask. But nobody on the streets except us chickens, but there is still a kebab place open and I ask for directions. Well keep on driving and after 15 minutes you will see it at your left hand side.

I can tell you when you arrive at an hospital at 01h00 at night, you have no problems in finding a parking spot. We go into the closed emergency room and find a nurse who puts us in the right direction. But when we are getting closer to her ward, we ask again and then we are in a dark area, no lights. But we see a small light at the nurses station and she sees us and says that Zuzu was worried and expecting us. She was sitting there, waiting for us a bit worried and we were worried about her. Well chasing some one through 3 hospitals gives us a nice story but one I never hope to experience any more.

Zuzu was not feeling happy anymore because she still didn’t see any doctor and hadn’t eating anymore since lunch, just like us. She gives us a list of things to bring and we go back to her apartment were we can spend the night. We have some bread that we still had from our lunch at 14h00 and finished the half bottle of wine Zuzu had on the sink. We had her permission to open more, but we didn’t do it. It was late enough and we wanted to sleep.

The next day we packed her things and with that big load we went back to the Ulster hospital. And as we guessed were to park, without no Ponds Stirling anymore, so we put our car on the handicap zone and brought everything in to her. After a short talk we say goodbye and we are again on our way towards Dublin this time.


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