I am starting to swear less and last week's trauma is beginning to fade away. So I decided to record my thoughts, not necessarily in chronological order regarding a somewhat unusual experience, at least for me. (See previous post.)
Aren't ambulances a surprisingly bumpy ride. I swear my old Mosvich had better springing. And aren't A and E (Accident and Emergency) places high tech. I couldn't believe all those individuals sitting in front of computer screens. What a contrast from the old style places you went into to be put back together when you (me) were unceremoniously dumped off your motor bike all those years ago. I was slow on the uptake regarding what was going off in general; nothing new there then. The hospital is massive (five floors) and I had become part of the system. I progressed from A and E to was it Triage and thence M and something or other. I had no idea as to what floor I was occupying at any one time. Being seemingly labelled 'Nil by Mouth' for ever more was not amusing; neither was being hooked up to machines that were repetitiously noisier than the Indesit washing machine my wife was given as a wedding present in 1970. Plus it bleeped incessantly, presumably no one else could hear it. (I gave it a good push once to distance it from myself. I forgot I was attached to it!)
Make no mistake, the NHS could not operate without its workers from overseas, Queens English or no Queen's English. But should I really have smiled when an enquiry as to whether a patient had slippers was misinterpreted as to whether a patient has syphilis. But the thing that struck me most was the sheer surreal nature of the whole experience.
You are no longer in control of yourself. You are seemingly in control of nothing. Everything is done for you, by others. I couldn't get over the feeling of lack of personal control. ( At one stage I was within minutes of being 'released' until a doctor decided otherwise.) The programme 'The Prisoner' constantly visited my consciousness yet I am not really conversant with the programme at all. I was never in any physical pain, just a constant overwhelming feeling of no longer being here, being 'me'. Talk about 'a journey round one's head'. I have never 'thought thoughts' so much for many a year. For the first time since leaving college in 1974 I recalled Descartes 'I think, therefore I am.' How bizarre is that. I didn't 'get religion' during my brief stay. but I did get a much better idea of my sheer unimportance in the big wide world. Long overdue some may say.
Met some remarkable people; took away some interesting memories. Where else but a NHS hospital would you meet a Buddist, (named Bewan if I remember right) who visits patients in A and E every Tuesday and Thursday. What a lovely, lovely smile you had. And where else would you be led via the hand by security when you were hopelessly lost having wandered from the ward in a moment of supreme boredom on night three or was it four. (I'm not senile chaps, just a silly old septuagenarian with no sense of direction.) And not learning too fast either. Did exactly the same in the local Westfields Shopping Centre. Come to think of it, perhaps senility beckons after all.
A strange week, and do you know something, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. We must do it again. How about in another thirty years time.