Friday, May 11, 2007

On the Ward (Part 3 of the Hospital Saga)

By the time I arrived on the ward, it was early Tuesday afternoon. I was wheeled on a gurney to within proximity of bed 21. The porter and the nurse who escorted me on my trip from A & E, looked at me. With a straight face, the nurse asked me if I could manage to get into the bed on my own. What? I had suffered a bleeding nose, not a broken leg. I proceeded to get up and climb into bed. Thankfully, my two companions from my journey left. A nurse on duty on the ward approached me. She had a friendly face, but was very fat. Recently, there had been a news story that some NHS trusts have started refusing treatment to fat people. Would they start refusing to hire fat staff? The patient in the bed to my right was fatter than both me and the nurse, so I guess this trust is still treating the overweight, at least for noses. The fat nurse had a form to fill out. She sat down next to my bed and made herself comfortable. I was subjected to more questions. "Do you smoke?" she asked.
"Are you offering?" I responded.
She chuckled. "No, this is a no smoking hospital."
I gave her a deadpan look. "Then, no. Will it help my condition if I take it up?" She laughed. She wasn't taking me seriously. She asked if I was religious. I wondered if I would receive better treatment if I pretended to be Muslim, before assuring her that I am not religious. The next of kin question, again. Were they all planning for me to die? I told her my only family was in another country. She hesitated, then asked if I lived with anyone. I told her to use Nando as my next of kin. After all, he is Italian. Once finished my interrogation, fat nurse asked me if I had lunch yet. Leave it to her to think of food. She looked like she'd eaten one of the patients. I told her I hadn't even had breakfast, yet. Off she went to see if she could find me some food. When she returned, she had only managed to come up with a sandwich and some chocolate biscuits. Gosh, I missed the free food at work. Before heading off in search of more food for herself, fat nurse asked me if there was anything else she could do for me. I asked her how I could contact the outside world. She said I could use my mobile, but that I should keep it from ringing loudly, as I really wasn't supposed to be using a mobile.
Once alone, I started making calls. First, I called Nando, because I was worried he might still be waiting for me downstairs. I had been told that someone had called asking about me. That had to be Nando, because he was the only person, other than the hospital staff, who knew which hospital I was in. When Nando answered, I learned he was safely at home. I told him I would be spending the night and he told me that he would come pick me up the next day, if I was discharged between noon and 3PM. Next, I called work. I let the Restaurant Manager know that I was being kept in the hospital for at least 24 hours. I told him which hospital I was in and asked him to tell the guys at work, so they might visit me. He thought it unlikely they would visit me, if I was only in for one night. I suspected he was right, but by letting him know where I was, he could call the hospital and check to make sure I was really there, in case he thought I was making it all up to get off work. Finally, I called my artist friend, Jan. Jan knew I was supposed to be going to an audition on Tuesday night. I was concerned that she might try to contact me, to see how the audition went, and start worrying when she couldn't contact me.
Jan was glad I called her and let her know. Instead of worrying about what had become of me, she sounded like she was worried about my health. I assured her it was no big deal and just a precaution on the part of my gorgeous, Indian doctor lady. Jan offered to come visit me. I hadn't expected her to, when I called, but I agreed that a visit would be nice. I would like someone to visit me. I asked her if she would bring me some stuff, but then we decided on a plan. She would come to the hospital, get my keys, go to my house and get some stuff I wanted, then return to the hospital. This was a great benefit to me, as I had come with next to nothing, not expecting to be kept in overnight. When Jan turned up, she made a list of things I wanted her to bring back for me. Number one on the list was my wallet. The hospital was equipped with pay television services, by Patientline. I had heard people complaining about that on talk radio. It seemed that in at least some NHS hospitals, one has to pay to watch TV. The private hospital I worked at provided patients with TV at no charge. This was the NHS. The health care was free, but if you wanted TV, you had to pay. Patientline had installed a modern-looking, flat screen TV on a movable arm, over my bed. For a fee, I could have TV, radio, telephone, internet, and video games, through the service. At £2.90 for 24 hours, I wanted in. I didn't want to miss "Eastenders," that night. Next on my list was a newspaper. I suggested the Daily Telegraph, as I thought they have the most sudoku puzzles. Then I wanted the book I was planning on starting to read. I also wanted a collection of sudoku puzzles that a close friend had given me, earlier in the year. I asked for the printed out email detailing the audition I was supposed to attend. I hoped there would be a phone number on it, which I could use to make arrangements to audition another time. Finally, I wanted a pen, so I could do the sudokus in the newspaper. I sent Jan off on her mission, with instructions as to how to get to my house from the hospital. I eagerly awaited her return, as it was very dull in the ward, with no TV, nothing to read, and no sudoku. In order to pass the time, I did the only thing I could do. I had a nap.
To be continued...

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