Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lines from a hospital bed - 3

I'm in a four bay ward and when the bloke opposite went home yesterday morning, I thought this would help toward a quiet weekend for the rest of us, given that hospitals don't do routine admissions then. I was wrong. Later that day the bed was given to a brash young man who has been a source of noise and distraction ever since. He is seriously ill with an unexpected recurrence of long-standing pancreas problems but has the air of a newly rich popstar holding court. Last night he had extensive treatment, had several machines plugged in him, hourly monitoring and visits from about a dozen assorted doctors, nurses and specialists. He greeted them familiarly, "allo, ow are you doing alright", instructed them where to insert drips and take blood, had his personal mineral water put in the nurses' fridge, told them which painkillers he wanted and made them explain every reading.

This morning the crisis seems to have passed and he only took up about 80% of the time of the main nurse on duty. Mind you, she has 4 others to look after. Actually, this is not so bad as it may appear because the rest of us need little direct care. But unlike any other patient, he spent all the time not employed in ordering nurses on his mobile. These are not discreet and quick, essential calls. He bellows into the phone in a voice that cuts into Wishbone Ash (a 1970s rock combo. Ed) playing loud on my Walkman headphones. I would mind less if the hospital had not put large red notices at the entrance to the ward forbidding mobile use within.

As I write it has gone a bit quieter (exhaustion of the vocal cords?) but it won't last. His family will be visiting later.

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