The Blog

Why Am I Here, Still?

Hospital wards are a curious contradiction. Every member of the team is clearly operating at full tilt, and yet that is all with the purpose of creating a serene and stress free environment for the patient. When it works, it's quite miraculous.

I'll get onto "next" when we've got a bit more "now" out of the way.

We're still waiting on a few answers: everything is staked on the result of an angiogram that I'm in the queue for. That means I'm here for the weekend too.

Hospital wards are a curious contradiction. Every member of the team is clearly operating at full tilt, and yet that is all with the purpose of creating a serene and stress free environment for the patient. When it works, it's quite miraculous.

It's been 7 days. Work has stopped calling for now, although that might start again next week. For now, I'm In The Zone. My routine is bedding in very nicely. If you want to you can fill a day with very little very easily.

8:00 open eyes. Blood pressure, pulse.

8:15 get up because an HCA wants to turn the bed over. Chair only (not bed) for the rest of the day now.

8:20 coffee trolley (white coffee, one sugar).

8:30 Weetabix, toast and marmalade.

8:35 the first drugs run of the day. Think Woolies pick and mix, but prescribed.

9:00 Peace.

There is no Muzak cycling over the tannoy, but it feels like there should be. Something anonymous, saxophone noodlings. Window, door, phone, book; my gaze rotates at ever shortening intervals. Toilet. Number 2's. Better do that. I'm going to get asked later and I hate to disappoint. Shower time. LUNCH!

11:45am and the coffee trolley is back and crossing paths with the lunch trolley.

Hospital food gets a rough deal; there are 1000 patients residing in this hospital at any one time. That's something like 3000 covers a day not including canteen meals for staff and visitors, and hell knows how poxy the cook's budget is per person. For that we get school dinners just how I remember them! What's not to like? Where in the world can you have Frog Spawn or Semolina two days on the trot: the answer is either a time machine back to the 70's or right here.

After a few days, peace and quiet can get a bit dull. You've got to take your excitement where you can, and opportunities are few when the pace is this sedate. The food arrives covered with plastic, battleship grey versions of the domes that are ceremoniously lifted from dishes at high-society shindigs. It gives dinner time an, admittedly utilitarian, sense of occasion. To up the excitement quotient, I've started deliberately and immediately forgetting my menu choices when I tick them off the previous day. Now when lunch and dinner arrives there's that clear frisson of anticipation before I lift the lid. What the hell did I actually order? Oh yeah, Frog Spawn! You've got to work with what you've got. And perhaps not overdo it; remember why you're in here.

You can imagine that there are people in here that are a hell of a lot sicker than me. I can get a few hundred yards without feeling it. Some, if they're out of bed, won't get much further than the bay door. So, you know the guy in prison who can get you "anything you want" - think Morgan Freeman sourcing the rock hammer in Shawshank, or Georg Stanford Brown and Richard Pryor's "big ole juicy cheeseburger" in Stir Crazy. That's me on Ward 39, Bay 3.

But without laying on the "vig".

And only as long as they sell it in WHSmith's in the foyer.

Have you seen their prices? Smiths are taking ALL the "vig"!

If a visitor comes I've got to drag them down to Costa. It's preferable for me; I haven't asked but it must be for them too. When you were a child, you went through a stage of thinking "if I can't see you, you can't hear me". Hide behind a curtain snickering convinced that you can be neither seen nor heard. That conceit still exists. Just by pulling this lightest if beige curtains around we are now granted full invisibility and become inaudible to other humans permitting a full and frank discussion of whatever is going on. And it's not really that I don't want you to hear mine. I don't really want to hear yours either. Nothing personal, but it is kind of personal.

After evening visiting, boy, does the pace start to wind down quickly. Lights out is 11pm, by 9.30pm we've had our dose of Horlicks and we in for the night. No messing about! Amazon Video are rueing the day they accepted my subscription. And the wifi has taken a battering on the downloads. But I have caught up on a lot of stuff. Regrets, I have a few.

Adam's Capsule Review:

Intouchable: Brilliant performances, funny script. Pygmalion premise might irritate some working class sensibilities but worth it all the same.

Zeitgeist the Movie: Oh Christ, 2 hours I'm never getting back. Just portentous, badly referenced conspiracy laden twaddle. Note to self: view sister's future recommendations with extreme caution.

Fleabag: true "watch through the cracks of your fingers" comedy. Marvelously written. As good as The Office in its ability to make the excruciating funny. Stay with it to episode 4 whatever you do.

Flight of the Conchords (Series One): Jemaine? Present. Brett? Present. Murray? Present. Adam? Present.

What We Do In The Shadows: The finest documentary about Vampires you will ever see.

Leap of Faith: an old favourite. The jury is still out on Steve's performance after all these years. (I feel Steve and I should be on first name terms by now).

Westworld: the best documentary about what will happen if you let Elon Musk run rampant with everything that pops into his head. Why did I find myself rooting for the robots?

That Sugar Film: Made by an Australian but for all that it's still quite insightful. Don't be fooled by an appearance similar to Supersize Me. It's similar in some ways but the premise of far scarier. Seek it out.

Crikey. Word limit breached. We haven't even talked about drugs and tests yet. Next...