I ended up in hospital last night hooked up to an IV after a bad piece of fish. You just know that Pacu bastard put a fish fatwa on my head for bad mouthing him to the world at large. Clearly fish and I are taking a break from one another.
Anyway as per usual, during this entire episode, for lack of a better description, I couldn’t help but be a very distant observer (throwing up 12 times makes one very very distant. I mean distant on the verge of comatose) and take note, as us writers do of what was going on around me. For starters, the paramedics that came to retrieve me when signs of dehydration began to set in seriously needed to work on their bedside manner. There is nothing more amusing (or non sensical) than two medical technicians trying to reason with someone who has no capacity to reason (I will give them the benefit of a long shift probably filled with drunk people face planted in the gutter; you know, a British Saturday night out). When I’ve been sick multiple times in a row, I'm dehydrated and my blood pressure is on the floor, the only thing I want to do is lie down. Call me crazy, but I’ve always thought it made perfect sense, no? And I mean, I’ll lie down anywhere – my preference, like many, the cool tile floor in a bathroom. This becomes hard once in an ambulance, admittedly, but I’m not picky.
So, our exchange went something like this (take note of course at this point I looked like Nick Nolte on a bad day and was barely audible). Them: you can’t lie down Miss, we need to run some tests. Me: I need to lie down. Them: you can’t lie down (more forceful this time) you have to cooperate. Me: (barely audible), I’m lying down now. Them: Mam, please. Me: now prostrate on the floor of their truck. Them: Mam that’s dirty down there. Me: (in my head), I could give a toss, just let me lie down and leave me alone as I’ve been throwing up for the last two hours. Of course once they took my blood pressure (I finally relented and sat in a chair), they decided I could lie down on the gurney and saw reason. Thanks Fellas.
Anyway, we then hit the A&E, which past ten o clock is like a triage on crack with no Dr. Ross in sight (ER fans will know this reference). The most ironic thing about hospitals, as we all know, is that when sick, we are compelled to go, and yet, there is nowhere you would rather be, as the reminders of one’s mortality are splashed across the walls like graffiti art. In short, you enter a hospital telling yourself you’re going to be fine while no one around you seems to be, which just seems …well perverse really. If it’s not the sounds of the fellow visitors on any particular night (the moans, groans, howls, coughing fits, vomiting, or belligerent, unruly behavior ("I have to lie down damn it!" ha), it’s the relentless sounds of the discordant machinery that are enough to drive you utterly bonkers. Throw in that fantastic track lighting all hospitals seem so found of (I mean come on, people feel badly; dim the sodding lights already! And light a candle while you're at it) and one feels like Jack Nicholson could jump through the door holding an axe at any point.
Meanwhile, the fact that the nurses and doctors seem oblivious to all the noise and incessant beeps, dings, whirs and shrill cacophony from the machinery makes me think they’d all make tremendous parents. Imagine their ability to tune things out. On the flipside of course you then realize that this quality of inward reflection (or survival) of the staff, also applies to patients. “La la la, I’m sorry but I don’t hear you, I’m doing something else, thank you!”
So there I was, finally laying down on a bed (of sorts), hooked up to fluids, clinging to my mortality like a starfish, as I watched a few elderly people wheeled out of room that said RESUSITATION ROOM across the top of it. I’m thinking you want to stay out of that room at no matter what cost. The upside of everything, the fluids of course and my excessively nice nurse who was far more compassionate than the paramedics, I can tell you that. She even wrapped a very fashionable hospital blanket around my shoulders like a shawl as I was leaving as she feared I was cold. It only takes one nice person to restore the hope, I’ll tell you that.