I haven't been posting these last couple of days because I've been trapped in hospital since Monday. I've got a collapsed lung. Don't ask me how. Just like my character it was spontaneous. (Yes, I do still have a lame sense of humour left, after over a week here). My stay in this facility is driving me round the bend (and yes I know they have wards for those kind of people here too). Luckily I am on the good drugs to drain out reality now and then.
So here's a few thoughts on my week so far:
Most things are just so surreal. I am on planet Nurse. It is not part of our neck of the universe. Rules of normalcy have not settled in just yet.
1) So they jammed this thorax drain between my ribs in the emergency room, put me on a bed an wheeled me to my new digs. I just managed to sneak a peak at the room number before I was sentenced to bed. I could not believe my eyes. It said on the door: Room 101. Yes, it is the torture chamber in the Ministry of Love in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. I was being kept in the room were people are subjected to their worst nightmare or the place where you put stuff when you want to forget all about it. Great. That was an extra motivation to getting well a.s.a.p.
2) After being quizzed about allergies, special dietary needs or previous hospitalizations they asked me: 'Is there anything else we need to know?'
So I obligingly went: 'Why yes. Before you go, could you take that crucified Christ off the wall please?' I pointed to the obligatory cross between the two windows.
Nurse: 'You're not, eh, into that kind of thing?' (I gathered she meant 'catholicism' by 'that'.)
Mrs B: 'No, I'm not. Besides I already have one of the stigmata on the side of my ribs. It wasn't induced by a Roman soldier but by one of the doctors in Emergency, so I don't need the Lord to remind me of his suffering, I can feel it right now.'
She didn't get that one. But she did get up and removed the cross without any further ado.
Nurse: "I'll put it in the cupboard". And without looking she just opened the door and put it on a random ledger. What she didn't know was that a colleague of hers had (ten minutes or so earlier) unpacked my things and arranged them in there. I couldn't see it from where I was lying in the bed, but I'm pretty sure the Lord is lying between my knickers right now
-Insert cheesy joke about Christ going to heaven after all-
3) There are 5 wireless networks here, all of them secure. I asked the head nurse if they could contact someone over on IT so I could log in. The network is up and running already, I just need a password. She did and came back with some weird cock and bull story. I wasn't able to laugh because it hurt too much.
First off, she said the wireless would only be accessed within a month or two. I told her I hoped to be long home by then.
Then she said they probably couldn't give access because of the patient record system I could probably access.
Then: 'It doesn't work because we haven't gotten our computers" (which crowded the room even more with roosters and uncastrated male bovine animals). And to finish it off she then told me: "Besides they've only laid down the cables for the wireless just last week, so it probably doesn't work anyhow". I had to stop myself from having a fit. That thorax drain really hurts if you move just a little bit. I was too short 'o breath to explain to her how this kind of old fashioned technology actually works.
Nice lady, but just stick to nursing us medical lay people back to health. My curiosity is aroused why they would need a computer now. Let's hope they know how to work it before they mess up somebody's medication scheme.
4)Rule for all nursing staff: DON'T touch my computer without asking. And DON'T lift it up by holding the screen when it is open. I've got some fat fingerprints in the middle of the screen now and I haven't got a bottle of iWash with me. I mean, that's like squeezing someone's testicles when all you had to do was shake the man's hand.
5) Apparently you're only a nurse when you have Crocks on yer feet. I think I've seen all possible (and most implausible) colours worn by both sexes of medical staff. Wonder what the orthopedic surgeons think of this. The individual expression wave has set in. But, I don't care how comfortable those crocks may be, you still all look like dorks! I bet there is a facebook group for this already. -Update: Yes, there is-
6) My sight is failing me because of the drugs. If I look outside here is what I see: Some other rooms, mostly filled with other sick people, across a courtyard with some lavender, nicely trimmed bushes, a small road with cerb stones, some leafless trees. Now; in front of one of these trees there is a kind of grey cylinder shaped form with some yellow stuff near the end of the appearance. I'm not sure if it's a gas cylinder (the yellow part is where the valves are supposed to be) or a pole with some illumination for the road. Must ask Dr Livingstone when he comes to visit.
Oh crap. He can't of course, he's in Kuwait.
6) I couldn't take my exam on literary history on Tuesday. Had word from another student. Only six of our group took the exam and it was impressively difficult. (So he says) I wish I could have taken it, just to spite them and tell them it was really easy and make them feel really obtuse.
So I have been wasting my time the week before this useless week too. Doing all of that memorising and student stuff.
7) There's a kid on my floor somewhere screaming its lungs out as if it is being butchered. Drug him for gawds sake!
8) The remote for the bell (press if you want the nurse) looks like an energy saving bulb upside down.
9) Out of bed is out of humour.
10) Lion feeding times 0800, 1200, 1700 hours.
11)Dope times: 0800 & 2000 (5mgs of happy-go-lucky drug). Further dope times: 0400, 1000, 1600, 2200 (little bottle with fluid pain killers that makes my hand and arm go numb), 1400 (1 litre 5% glucose with some pain killer in it to last me 24 hours.)
12) Mind-numbingly lame movies on telly so far: Tango&Cash, Under Siege, Scream, Armageddon, Speed, Mona Lisa Smile, The Relic
13)This man in a trench coat came into my room on Friday.
Man: "Hi, are you Mrs B?"
Mrs B: "Who wants to know?"
Man: "I'm a priest"
Mrs B: " Why are you here, you're not going to win any souls in here"
Priest: "Oh no, I just visit all people who live in my parish when I'm in the hospital"
Mrs B: "Well, that's very kind of you, have a seat"
As the priest sat down, he looked up at where the Lord had been hanging and then fixed his gaze upon me.
Priest: "Well, why did you look so worried there when I said I was a priest"
Mrs B: "That wasn't worry, it was amazement. I couldn't figure out what a priest was doing in an atheist's room"
Priest: "Most people look rather worried because when they see a priest they usually think of the last rights"
(I had to bite my tongue and not say if people usually think of priests they think of child molestation).
Mrs B: "And you're not wearing your dog collar, you look just like normal people."
So we were of to a good start by any standards. The knives had been sharpened by opening remarks. Sarcasm was on my side today.
Priest: "You are very categorical in stating you're an atheist. Why?"
(So I thought: Good. I could use a bit of a debate. But then I thought: Aaaargh! I'm in Room 101!)
Mrs B: "I'm proud of being one. My family have been intelligent critical thinkers for generations. But don't get me wrong, I am a humanist, I respect people from all walks of life. In fact I am very interested in our catholic cultural heritage. I think a deeper understanding and study is crucial to understand our society today and put historical facts and decisions into a broader context."
(Ha, that got him. I could tell from the look in his eyes he was getting a bit worried. He gazed up again to the empty spot between the windows.)
Priest: "Ah, that's good. So what part particularly are you into?"
Mrs B: "Early Church history"
Priest: "Ah, the Middle Ages!"
Mrs B: "Oh, no, earlier. Bede, Boethius, Augustine, that kind of thing"
Priest: "Wow, the churchfathers. That is a rich profusion"
(Then he changed the subject, I think this was getting a bit out of his league and he wanted to avoid losing face on his own terrain.)
Priest: "So no one turned to the faith in your family. That is quite abnormal"
(So I was not going to get a high standard of conversation out of this man. Anyway, I wanted to know why people claiming to be catholics these days in our parts are a bit sloppy in being committed to their faith, all having a different, individual understanding of what God is. I asked him how come his religion had evolved into this religious laziness. I was a bit gobsmacked by the answer he gave me, I can't transcribe the exact wording but it was along the lines of: "We can't mobilize the kind of masses like the islam can. Alas we are not in the Middle Ages anymore."
So luckily no throng of people outside my door with pitchforks and the like to tie me to the stake and set fire to the heathen I am.
He didn't stay long after that. I think I scared him away. Shame. I guess the only intelligent conversation I'll have all week will be talking to myself again.
14)So I'm hooked up to this pump that creates sub pressure which makes breathing a bit easier. This is a simple pump with valves etc. No electricity involved. It is hooked up to the air pressure valve just above the head board of the bed. Just shear mechanics. And what does my bored little eye see when I turn to examine that contraption? A Y2K OK sticker! Aaargh! Get me out of Room 101!