It’s a strange old place, a hospital

Most of us at some time in our lives spend a stint in a hospital. For me recently, it’s been much more time than I’d have liked.

Hospitals have a life all of their own.

The large city hospital I’m calling ‘home’ moans into life about 6am. And I do mean ‘moans’. Somehow the intensity of the air conditioning begins to rise, creaking and blowing, as if the whole building stretches ready for another bustling day.

Talking in the corridors begins. The clatter of the ‘weighing chair’, pushed around from room-to-room to help record the first of many patient ‘observations’ for the day. Blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, blood tests, ‘take your medications’ – off we head into another day of routine.

It’s a strange old place, a hospital.

Breakfast lobs. Never quite like home. The novelty of opening packets and plastic trays wears off. The coffee’s never hot, and often cold. A tip for novices: Don’t bother with the ‘hot’ breakfast. Hospitals try, but never succeed. Thanks go to the delivery staff who try hard with a cheery ‘good morning – breakfast’.

As quick as they arrive breakfast trays are whisked away. Meal order forms for the next day completed, not knowing what you might be capable of eating tomorrow. It’s like a big game, guessing what food might actually turn up.

It’s a strange old place, a hospital.

The doctors hunt in packs. Senior doctors swoop in with juniors holding folders, reading out interesting ‘facts’ of someone’s ideas about how you’re progressing. More notes made in folders. Doctor orders given for that day’s treatments. Scans, x-ray, new medicine adjustments, exercise/no exercise – there’s usually a surprise!

Then the orderlies begin to arrive, to push your wheel chair (or bed) to some obscure back ally of rooms with big technology hanging from the ceilings. Each of these rooms could easily double as a fridge. So cold. Don’t understand how people work in them ALL day.

Sit here. Lay there. Breath in, now breath normally. Lift your head. Okay, thanks, I’ll call an orderly to take you back to the Ward.

It’s a strange old place, a hospital.

You don’t pay for the view, which is just as well. You don’t get one! Mine is a wall with windows, with light somewhere from above. At least I know if it’s raining or sunny. The birds occasionally chatter and screech from the courtyard way below. A chainsaw rasps into action somewhere nearby – I’m assuming for the limb off a tree!

Photo: Priceless view from my hospital room. Helicopters coming and going, all day. No timetable patterns. Just when they have to deliverer the next ‘customers’ for medical magic. Possibly the delivery of a donor organ? Who knows, my heart may have arrived this way.

It’s a strange old place, a hospital.

Dinner arrives. Surely not – it’s mid afternoon. Doctors again. Shower, TV and the light fades outside. Quite starts to descend again. Corridor lights dim in sympathy at 10pm.

Time to drift to sleep, listening to the helicopters droning away from their pad. Looking forward to the nurses waking me several times during the night: ‘just checking that you’re sleeping!’

It’s really, truly, a strange old place, a hospital.

About WordBiz

Following the worlds of journalism, photography, politics and international affairs from coastal Victoria, Australia.
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1 Response to It’s a strange old place, a hospital

  1. Cheryl Orchard says:

    You are an amazing man Dave and I am glad you are in our lives. I am so happy for YOU, Kelli and Austin.
    All our love. Cheryl and Kerry

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