East Ward #3

Chapter 3

I didn’t know where I was when I awoke. Somewhere vaguely unhealthy. A skip possibly, off the Caledonian Road? A  rasping voice, seemingly at my ear.

‘Nooooo, I dinnae want th’ methodone. It’s nae fuckin’ strong enough’ (In a Glasweigian accent – in case you weren’t sure)

Yup, Caledonian Road it is. But wait, a patient, calm voice. Possibly a junior doctor:

‘Look, you won’t be getting anything if I can’t get this line in’

‘Nooooo! Ahhhhhh! Ye bastarrrd!’

Patient, calm voice:

‘Okay, now just lay still for me a …’

‘Aaaahhhhhhh! …. Fuck!’

Patient, calm voice, getting irritable now:

‘Look! What Am I supposed to do, You’ve got no…’

‘Shhhhhhh!’ (I’m not sure whether this came from other patients or the nurses, unable to hear each other as they chattered at the Nurses’ station.)

(Almost hysterical whisper) ‘You‘ve got no veins I can get into. We’re going to have to call someone else’

‘Well tell ‘em I don’t want th’ methodone, I….

And so it went on.

During the night, unbeknown to me as I slept soundly for nearly a whole hour, the newcomer – my companion to the left – was wheeled in. I was not in a skip off the Caledonian Road. No, I was in the East Ward and the time was – I glanced down at my watch. I’d bought it a couple of days earlier. It boasted a digital and traditional mode, neither of which I could read, so I pressed the nightlight button. A pathetic watery orange glow slowly emanated from somewhere under the watch glass. It actually made the face darker. ‘Brilliant’ I stretched my neck out to catch a glimpse of the bay clock. 3:35am. ‘Brilliant#2’

And so it went on.

Patient, calm voice finally lost it, and in came someone else.

‘My, your arms are in a mess, I’m going to….’

Ahhhhhh! Tell hum I dinnae want the methodo …etc

They went as far as the Assistant Registrar, who finally after a marathon of whispering, shouting, profanities and one imagines medical procedures right on the limit of tolerance; finally gets a line in. I miss this, as exhausted I doze off about 6:15 …Just in time to get fifteen minutes shut-eye before at 6:30, windows are flung open (the lights have been on all night anyway) and the nurses start their rounds, checking that everyone is still alive and if so, taking their blood pressure.

What was it the irrepressible World Champion motorcyclist, Valentino Rossi said about hospitals recently? He’d crashed during practice at Mugello (June 2010) the result being a compound fracture of his right leg. He said he hated hospital because it was there that you woke up to the snores, coughs and farts of men you’ve never met before. Indeed. It was enough of a shock that he was back on his Yamaha competing within 6 weeks of his injury. If ever there was an incentive to get out.

My Scots companion was now bright and breezy, ready to chat (or more accurately talk at) anyone willing to listen. After the night he’d given us: no way. I dipped under the covers and studiously avoided him for the rest of the day. Conscious of the negative impact that the stereotypical treatment of characters can reinforce, I nicknamed him Jock. I liked the alliteration in Jock the Junkie. Bastard.

Captain Birdseye, however was a completely different kettle of fish….

© Andy Daly  2010

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