Just a wee one

January 10, 2017 at 7:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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The medication dispensary is highly sanitary, but frightfully wasteful.

Pills are popped into a 30 ml clear plastic ‘thimble’ (of which there are hundreds stacked in ‘towers’ – ready for use).

The pills are then taken with water in the kind of polystyrene cup endemic to climate-careless corporates.

After the exchange, both vessels are binned.

The process is repeated several times, every day, with dozens of patients and (I assume) in every ward – possibly even every hospital.

Until now.

Having found no evidence of recycling in the facility, I eschew the foam cups for my refillable tap-water bottle.

I also reuse my initial thimble which, on reflection, looks a bit like a shot glass.

Retaining my thimble lets me examine it closely in my room.

Which gives a sense of how easily I’m amused.

The thimble is a masterpiece of design.

A generous lip aids trembling hands.

The measurements are raised like Braille to facilitate grip.

The myriad units seem picked to cover every conceivable medicinal format, geographic deployment and historical period.

They comprise:

CC (Cubic centimetre).

ML (Millilitre. While the capitalisation doesn’t comply with the International System of Units, you get the idea).

TSP (Teaspoon).

TBS (Tablespoon).

FL OZ (Fluid ounce).

and finally

DRAM (From one to eight).

It was at this point that my interest really piqued.

Dram is ‘a small drink of whiskey or other spirits’.

Only in its second sense is it ‘another term for drachm‘.

Drachm is ‘a unit of weight formerly used by apothecaries, equivalent to 60 grains or one eighth of an ounce’.

Thank you, Oxford.

As an editor, I’m a big fan of making every character earn its place.

But in the context of a psychiatric ward (likely to contain alcoholics with too much time on their hands) I queried the thimble content creator’s quest for concision.

I also questioned several dispensing nurses.

None had noticed the unfortunate word choice, or thought it mattered.

Quite likely,

you and I are the only ones

who ever will.


If you found this interesting or entertaining (and you’re new to this blog) you may like to:

Even a cup of coffee will keep me in the hunt. With many thanks, Paul.


Uncle frightener

December 17, 2016 at 10:56 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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An uncle, to whom I was relatively close, drank himself to death.

Many years before this, we met at the Esplanade Hotel in Melbourne’s beachside suburb of
St Kilda.

We were celebrating the fact that he was 44 and I was 22.

I asked him why he drank so much, so often.

(This was three decades ago, so my memory may be flawed.)

He said that he’d been living with a beautiful and gentle girlfriend in New Zealand.

One day, they had a huge fight and he flew into a violent rage.

The girlfriend fled the second-storey dwelling and my uncle, still furious, spent considerable time throwing all her belongings through the window, to the ground.

These included a record player, which smashed to smithereens.

The girlfriend returned that evening, to find everything she owned strewn across the street.

Unable to climb the stairs to endure whatever further drama awaited, she disappeared into the night.

My uncle knowingly let her go.

That night, she was gang-raped by six men.

My memory fails here, but I’m pretty sure she committed suicide thereafter.

Who wouldn’t?

My uncle, not surprisingly, blamed himself.

He began his long road to ruin because he could neither forget that night, nor forgive himself.

The grog merely went some small way to dulling the pain in his head that never ceased.

As reasons for being an alcoholic went, I thought this one was pretty cogent.

This kind young woman used to collect and send me stamps for my childhood album.

I still have them.

After my uncle’s death, I helped pour his ashes into the sea, under the pier we’d looked at as he told his dreadful tale.

At the wake, his family and friends sat several tables from the plum bay window at which he and I had ‘celebrated’ in 1987.

It was his favourite.

Blood ties

November 24, 2015 at 8:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Parents like to regale guests with early tales of their offspring.

The one I heard most about me involved alcohol.

Apparently, I was around three.

Certainly not tall enough to see over the table on which a very cheap and nasty flagon stood.

This story was told so often that I don’t actually know if I remember the event or am merely parroting it.

But I seem to recall my parents and their friends debating whether I could stomach the rough claret they were ingesting.

Most thought not.

But my father felt I had potential.

And so a test was agreed.

Dad handed down a small beaker to me.

I tasted the red, gritty fluid, drank it down, paused, then proffered the vessel with the mortal imprecation, ‘More craret!’

There ensued much adult mirth – which echoed for decades.

Like ‘lellow’, ‘Megimite’ and ‘gagrass’, I was far from getting every word correct.

Today (amazingly, in retrospect) I’ve become rather good at it.

Claret is archaic for blood.

It certainly gets under your skin.

And if there’s drinking in your family (blood again)

there’s every chance

you’ll act

akin.

Further reading: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-24/alcohol-affected-patients-disruptive-to-emergency-departments/6967476

 

 

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