Saturday, May 12, 2007

Robot Nurses (Part 4 of the Hospital Saga)

I awoke from my nap at about 5:30PM, Tuesday. Jan still hadn't returned from her mission to bring me some stuff from my house. I began to worry that she'd gotten lost again, or something else had happened to her. She had been gone about two hours on a journey that should have taken no more than an hour. As it was Nando's day off, maybe they exploded into an irresistible lust for each other. Come on! Shag later guys, I need my stuff. I couldn't imagine Nando exploding into anything. If he could roll downhill into lust, then it might happen. Besides, I don't think Jan finds Nando attractive in that way. Still, one never knows. The main reason I was in a hurry was that I was due at an audition for a short film, at 6PM. If Jan returned with my email from the casting person, I could call her and explain why I wasn't coming. I hoped I could reschedule. I get so few auditions, I don't want to blow one. In my mind, it seemed important to notify the casting lady before my call time.
I sat up, on the edge of the bed. The fat nurse had told me that I shouldn't walk around, so if I needed to use the toilet I was to do it in a bedpan, instead of going to the loo. Yeah, right! I guess she doesn't know me that well. If I got up and walked to the loo, would any of the nurses at the ward nurse's station stop me? Would they even notice? A strong urge to take a piss pushed me past the boundaries of indecision. I had forgotten that fat nurse had insisted that I put on some special stockings, designed to prevent blood clotting in the legs while one lays in bed. I didn't bother to put on the flip-flops I wore to the hospital. It would be quieter to walk in just my stockinged feet. Bold as brass, I stood up and walked out of the room. The opening was right next to the nurse's station. Two of the NHS's finest robots sat there, chatting away. They reminded me of the two Stormtroopers in "Star Wars," who were gossiping while Obi-Wan Kenobi sneaked past to disable the tractor beam. Yeah, I liked that idea. Here I was, Obi-Wan Kenobi, sneaking to the toilet in his stockinged feet.
Once I had relived myself, I crept back to bed 21. I lay there, with nothing better to do than wonder what was keeping Jan. A few minutes later, I heard her voice, asking the NHS robots where I was. Finally! I looked at the time display on the flat screen above my bed. It was 5:45, just 15 minutes before my audition call time. Jan came around past the curtain that separated the creature in the bed to the right of mine, from me. To my left was a window, which I enjoyed, even though it only provided me a view of the side of a building. Jan had brought everything on my list expect one item...a pen. I hurried to look at the email print out. Scanning it, I couldn't find a phone number. I re-read it, more carefully. There was no phone number. I couldn't call the casting person. I could email her, later. Jan got it into her head to ask one of the robots if I could use her computer to send an email, now. I told her not to, but then Jan has this knack for going ahead and doing things that I have asked her not to do. It's a trait I admire, when she does it to other people, but one over which I feel annoyed, when she does it to me. Taking the email, she went out to speak with the robots. It all seemed rather pointless. With the audition starting in ten minutes, the casting person is hardly going to be reading emails. If she was going to find out after the session, then the next day would be just as good as that moment.
Jan returned, having succeeded with her powers of persuasion. She'd been much more successful with the robot nurses than I had been with the beautiful, Indian doctor lady. She'd gotten one of the robots to email the casting person, on my behalf, explaining that I was "in hospital," as the British like to say. I was feeling very hungry, as all I had eaten thus far, that day, was the poncy sandwich and biscuits that fat nurse had given me, four and a half hours earlier. In addition to the things Jan had brought me that were on my list, she'd gotten me a Cadbury's Fruit and Nut bar, as an extra treat. I tore into the chocolate taste treat like a famished, wild animal, while Jan was away talking to the robots. It didn't last long, as it was only a small bar, but it took the edge off my hunger. The next order of business was to get my TV turned on. I phoned Patientline and paid for the service, using the financial resources that resided in my wallet, which Jan had brought. I may have been missing the audition, but at least I wouldn't miss "Eastenders," that night. No sooner had I turned the TV on, than a nurse came around, offering me dinner. I wish she'd turned up a few minutes earlier, before I demolished the Cadburys bar. I would have preferred saving the treat till later. As she read the menu out to me, it seemed to mostly consist of sandwiches. She had mentioned something about sausages, in the beginning. Interrupting her robotic recitation, I asked, "are all of these sandwiches?" She told me the first item was hot food. Sausage and mash, a traditional British dish. While not usually my first choice, I wanted a hot meal, not just another sandwich, so I opted for the sausage.
Jan explained that she had a meeting to attend, about this open studio exhibition she was supposed to be participating in. If she was going to the meeting, she would have to leave. She didn't feel like going, so I asked her if she could get the information which would be presented at the meeting, later. When she agreed that she could, I suggested that she skip the meeting and stay visiting me. She could use me as an excuse, telling the people holding the meeting that she had to visit a sick friend, in the hospital. Jan seemed genuinely pleased at the suggestion and went to move her car to free parking on a side street. The parking in the hospital car park was expensive. My dinner arrived just as Jan got back from relocating her car. I tucked into the bland meal with the enthusiasm bred of hunger. Feeling a tiny bit guilty for chowing down in front of my only visitor, I got the robot who offered me tea or coffee to give a cup of coffee to Jan. Anyway, I don't like coffee.
I persuaded Jan to watch "Eastenders" with me. Because the sound was coming over a headset, so as not to disturb the other patients, we shared the headset, turning it upside down and each putting one phone to one of our ears. On Tuesdays, "Eastenders" finishes at 8PM, which was also the time visiting hours ended. I said farewell to the only visitor I was ever to have during my entire hospital stay. At least I had TV to keep me company. The Patientline service also included some video games. I got addicted to a version of Tetris, alternating between playing it, reading, and watching TV. Eventually, I dozed off, only awakening again just past 11:30PM. The only thing worse than unattractive, female, robot nurses, was a male robot nurse, as the night nurse. He came over to engage in the ritual of taking my temperature and blood pressure. This one was named Mowbry and came from South Africa. Earlier, a female robot nurse had left a menu for the next day's lunch and dinner. On the back I read that one could have snacks at any time, by asking a member of staff. I read this passage out to Mowbry, as I was feeling a bit hungry. He refused to understand and kept telling me that there were printed explanations on the back in order to answer patients' questions. I ended up giving up. That Cadbury Fruit and Nut would have come in handy, then. I played the video game until I felt sleepy. The person in the bed next to mine had the oddest snore I have ever heard.
In the morning, I woke up and went back to playing the video game. The first attractive nurse I had seen showed up. She was skinny, with curly red hair and small breasts. She had a sweet face, with sparkling eyes. I asked her where she was from. It turned out that she was from Prague. I told her I had visited Prague, because I have and I thought it might win her over. Prague nurse offered me breakfast. No eggs were on offer, so I settled for some bran cereal, buttered toast, and some orange juice. After breakie, a group of doctors turned up, making the rounds. Amongst them was the beautiful, Indian doctor lady. I looked at her hand for a ring. She wore some silver ring, which didn't look like a traditional wedding ring, but then I don't know what the traditions are in India. She seemed to dress like a married woman...descent, but not as sexy as she was capable of. Indian doctor lady seemed to be deferring to some tall, dark haired, pale, English doctor, who acted like he was the boss. They discussed my condition. I didn't see what use he was. Indian doctor lady was more than capable of treating me, thank you very much. Tall doctor informed me that they would be removing the pack from my right nostril, then seeing if there was any further bleeding. If necessary, they would cauterize. In other words exactly what Indian doctor lady had told me they would do.
A little while later, a Scottish nurse came around. She removed the pack. I expected it to tear open the wound and the bleeding to start again, but that didn't happen. She gave me a small ice pack to put on my nose. I held it to my nose until I got tired of doing so. Still no bleeding. I was pleasantly surprised when Indian doctor lady turned up, wearing scrubs. She still looked so pretty, even with that ghastly surgical cap hiding her luscious, dark brown hair. No longer able to contain myself, I told her she was the nicest looking doctor I had ever met. She smiled as if she was blushing (I couldn't tell if she was blushing as her skin was rather brown) and thanked me. Her face displayed a combination of pleasure at being complimented and embarrassment. She examined my nose, shining some light up my right nostril. Doctor lady decided to cauterize a spot in my right nostril. She wasn't sure it had been the source of the bleeding, but thought it would be best not to take a chance. After spraying some local anesthetic in my nose, she employed a chemical cauterization stick. There was a slight delay, then I felt a burning sensation. She said she would keep me in till about lunch time, then, if there was no further bleeding, I could go home. I hoped I would get to eat lunch before I left.
After a while, the Scottish nurse came back and disturbed me while I was playing the video game again. She was oldish and manly looking. She complained that I needed to walk around, so they could see if my nose would start bleeding again. First they didn't want me to walk, now they did. Can't they make up their minds? I went for a stroll around the ward. It wasn't that big, so I ended up doubling back. Back and forth, back and forth. How dull. A different robot nurse at the nurse's station asked me if she could help me. I told her the Scottish nurse had told me to walk, so I was walking. For some reason, this robot nurse, who was English, somehow misunderstood what I said and thought that I was waiting for someone parking a car. Odd woman. I tried explaining again. This time, she understood. She said I had been walking for ten minutes already and that was enough. I was happy to go back and get in bed. At lunch time, I opted for chicken fricassee over rice. The food was so bland and no pepper was available, but desperation rendered it palatable. After lunch, Scottish nurse came around and asked if there was any bleeding. There wasn't. She told me I could go. I was being discharged. It was almost sad. I had gotten used to laying down all day and watching TV, playing video games, reading, and sleeping. She gave me the certification of my stay in hospital. Reading it, I noticed that Indian doctor lady had written that I wasn't supposed to go back to work for a week. The heck with that! I discussed it with Scottish nurse, pointing out that it seemed excessive. She said it was up to how I felt, but that at the very least, I shouldn't go back to work until Monday. I called Nando and he came to drive me home. When I turned on my mobile, I found that Tom had called and left a voicemail. Jan had told him I was in hospital. I decided to call him back later, when I was home.
Finally, I was out of the hospital and all in one piece. I didn't see why they couldn't have just cauterized my nose on Tuesday afternoon an let me go home, then. When I emailed the casting person again, she informed me that the role had been cast and I was out of luck. Checking with work, I found that the Manager hadn't gotten any cover for me. He wanted me to return to work on Thursday. Reluctantly, I agreed. requesting light duties. I then had a nap, as I was supposed to perform at a comedy talent search, in London, that night. The sleep did me good and I drove into London, happy as Larry, whoever Larry is. I wore my hospital bracelet on stage, like a badge of honor. I had survived and at the end of the day, that's the most important thing.

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