Steve – Steve, is that you Steve?
Turn that bloody tele down Margaret
Steve, it sounds like you
I said turn that tele down
The above is a transcript of my ward neighbours when I was first admitted with “Gallstones“.
After being admitted, I was pushed past a number of wards by the orderly. Some of them had empty beds and younger people in them, some had older people and empty beds…they were all peaceful and for the most part silent. So it was with no small amount of surprise that I get placed on the ward with the nutters. I say nutters, which is probably not altogether fair….there were 6 beds, 3 of which were occupied by older gentlemen, and 3 were empty.
I was allocated the 6th bed, closest to the Nurses station, but opposite a man who I came to refer as “The TV Guy”. All seemed well, the morphine drip started it’s wondrous journey though my body on minimal doseage and I drifted off to sleep.
About an hour later, Sarah was back. She had brought me some comforts..you know, the usual assortment of drinks, sweets and biscuits that the hospital shop can provide. It was during this time that “The TV Guy” sprang into action. He looks straight at me, who was talking to Sarah at the time, and shouts…not says, shouts…”Turn that bloody tele down Margaret”.
Both myself and Sarah look around for anyone near, see noone and make the mistake of actually mentioning that the TV is not on and that we don’t know who Margaret is. That just makes him worse, repeating the same sentence over and over, interspersed with occasional bouts of “How many bloody times do I have to tell you” and “You never listen to me”.
Oh joy thinks I, and begin staring at the morphine in the vain hope that I can somehow control the flow speed with my mind.
It is at this point that the commotion from TV Guy, causes guy number 3 to join in. Clearly confused, he is asking for Steve and is in fact convinced that Steve is somewhere nearby. As he is struggling to be heard, he raises his voice a few decibels to counter the effect of TV Guys shouting. So I now have 2 guys shouting about people that are nowhere to be seen, both within 3 meters of me and my bed for the next god knows how many days.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the thus far quiet guy number 3, decides he should get involved in this little soiree. Clearly TV Guy and Steve Guy are having way too much airtime on the “Welcome Dave to the ward” party special. He realises, however, that the others have really cornered the market on random shouting and noise level, so he tries a somewhat unique angle. He soils himself. A lot. For quite a while. I won’t try and describe the olfactory attack that followed, god forbid anyone reading this is eating… Suffice to say that I now had nausea to add to my, not inconsiderable, pain and growing headache.
Like a boxer saved by the bell, visiting hours are announced as being over, and Sarah bolts for home. I think she remembers to say goodbye, but it was hard to hear, what with her rapidly accelerating down the corridor and out into fresh air. I don’t blame her.
Fortunately, the morphine kicks in shortly after and I drift off to sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night to the now familiar choir of the ward going through the motions. Sensing that more sleep is some time away, I indulge in a little light TV watching. I pay the bargain basement price of ?10 from the machine at the end of the ward for a days worth of viewing, strap on the headphones and crank up the volume.
Hah – Nice try Dave, you think Doctors are bastards? Not as much as hospital administrators apparently. The wonderful hospital administration, that had chosen to install these little TFT TVs with built in phone and internet, had also had the remarkable idea that would avoid headphone bleed.
I don’t know if headphone bleed is the correct way to describe it…let me try another way. You know when you are on a train journey, and you end up sat next to somebody with an iPod that is just a bit too loud? You hear little snippets of what they are listening to, but incredibly tinny and annoying. I am sure you have experienced this, and probably been pissed off with it like me.
Ok so, whilst I recognise that it can be annoying to hear these tinny noises emanating from the side of someones head, they chose to set the volume on all of the TVs to have a maximum volume level of something akin to a silkworms fart. Oh, and they chose to make this change…..around a week before I was admitted.
Is it any wonder that I hate hospitals?
Administrators. Are. Bastards