January 3, 2013
Emergency Hospital; “Give me your sample in this jar, please”…
Getting old is not half as painful as knowing to have been young. The boy on his skate board turns and swivels in mid air and manically loop de loops and survives smiling. After seventy though, a slightly twisted wrong move to pick up a pepper-cracker and some Stilton cheese from the oak coffee table can result next day in a visit to the Hospital’s Emergency Department. That’s what it means to get old. Ah youth, I remember it so well.
The Triage nurse takes temperature, blood pressure; both Systolic and Diastolic are just fine, with both eye and verbal response pretty well orientated. “Oh fuck, my back, my back.” I can’t sit down, oh, oh fuck, dear fuck.
“You could have a kidney mall function,” the smiling triage nurse announced optimistically and looked deep into my troubled eyes, while handing me a little jar. It had a yellow lid and I became instantly suspicious. “No, not here,” she said. “Give me your urine sample, please, I’ll show you were.” She took me to a toilet and left me closing the door behind her. I somehow thought the word ‘please’ added a rather nice touch to the hospital visit. It took my mind of the pain which was on the left side of my middle back. I peed (carefully) in the little jar and tightened the lid firmly. I did not want any embarrassing leakages back with nurse. I finished the rest (copiously) in the toilet bowl
There is nothing like a hospital visit to get things in perspective. I thought it rather wonderful and uplifting I could still pee in a jar on demand. ‘Things are not that crook,’ consoling myself. I confirmed that during my entire life the ability to direct a stream of piss had never once faltered. Perhaps, from now on, I should take nothing for granted anymore. Stop being so cocky, heaven knows how much longer that directional skill and ability will survive? Some women are jealous of us men.
After handing the still warm jar back to the nurse, she guided me back to the waiting room, “doctor will see you soon,” she added still smiling. The waiting room had only five waiting for treatment, two women with bandaged feet, a couple of large men in thongs and shorts and a very pale looking man with a cap on and wearing very tight dark jeans. He looked tense and was biting a ball point pen. He had a certain mien about him. He had seen better days.
In Hospital Emergency they have tightened security. Since I was there last with a bout of pneumonia, instead of an open window for the new patients to pass their health or pension cards through, they now installed a very narrow opening of just about 7 centimeters…Heaven knows, with crack-ice and all those new lethal meth- drug mixtures what kind of maniacal people front up at the front desk. You would have to admire staff for putting up with so much stress caused by chemicals and people gone haywire. The days of people with ingrown corns, a broken arm or a bit of a pulled muscle at casualty have turned into glassing, knifings, cut off ear lobes, and other horrors of abject violence fanned by drugs and booze. No wonder one sees some staff sitting outside puffing a well earned ciggie. Lucky, I was early and the knifings had not yet started.
A doctor with an Indian name saw me after the ‘sample’ was analyzed. No, kidneys were not the problem he assured me. He left again and after a long period came back with an envelope and a prescription for Panadeine forte. I expected at least an x-ray or some kind of examination. The envelope contained a referral to my own doctor. I was referred to as having a ‘back muscle’ problem. I walked out past the Emergency waiting room which still had the pale man and the two large men waiting for something to happen. I wondered what sort of lives those people all had. I suppose they all have ‘sorts of lives’. Just like all of us.
I hobbled home just around the corner and past the skate board riders, some in mid air. Boundless energy and acrobatic youthfulness. A couple of girls were hanging around sipping from plastic bottles. Some boys reached newer heights somersaulting on bikes as well as skateboards. All biding time. They too will visit Emergency Hospital, sooner or later.