Opposites attract

January 29, 2017 at 11:11 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Secure MRI for TATs*.

Paradoxically, the veiled concerns about electrical cords and plastic bags have me scouring my room for potential anchor points.

I imagine this is like feeling you’ve a bomb strapped on (even though you don’t) when airport guards approach.

In my study of the shower, I note that the newish curtain rail seems attached to the walls and ceiling by strong (but not too strong) rare earth [?] magnets.

The desire to test this theory is countered only by my fear that the rail may also be alarmed.

About 15 cm above the rail are plugged, serried holes that clearly bespeak a forebear.

Was this a renovation, or were even grimmer forces at work?

The shower head is cylindrical, but so angled and embedded that only a slim, slippery crescent protrudes.

Around it, eight tiles that don’t quite match the rest.

The taps look like recessed Alessi juicers, flushed with shiny steel.

I’m impressed that, while these taps couldn’t hold a loop of dental floss, they’re still easy to turn.

The lounge curtain rail, too, is fixed by magnets. I’m almost certain of it now.

This astonishing attention to detail makes my contrary mind determined to find a flaw.

A cheerless game of There’s Wally.

Eventually, I discern three ways to end myself should the occasion require.

Happily, it doesn’t.

I quietly alert staff to my discoveries,

lest they gain

currency.

* Twitchy Arty Types.

Pic by K. Kendall


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Whatever the amount, I’ll be very grateful indeed.


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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.


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


Dischord

January 9, 2017 at 6:47 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I get my device cords back.

Mobile, radio, laptop.

Of these, the last is most precious.

My Nokia dumb phone can go weeks without charging.

And my interest in radio has waned since the ‘summer series’ began endless reruns of last year’s worst bits.

Once was quite enough.

On admission, I was told the cords had to be ‘checked by an electrician’.

While this was surely for safety, the precise nature of the threat isn’t discussed.

A later survey of my room leads me to surmise that the cords’ potential lethality lies in  unorthodox use – not electrical integrity.

If this is true, I imagine holding strength is pivotal.

If so, they needn’t worry about me.

At my current weight, nothing short of a three-phase (or possibly undersea) power cable would suffice.

Then again, I’m told there are other patients in here who wish themselves terminal harm.

In which case,

the niceties of entering another’s room

probably don’t apply.

And so,

though my weak wires are deemed ‘harmless’,

I hide them well.

Postscript

On return from an accompanied outing, I’m asked to surrender all plastic bags (e.g. with better food and cleaner clothes).

I query this, then recall the movie House of Sand and Fog

and figure

fair call.

Waters of love

January 5, 2017 at 6:56 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Psyche Ward’s hot water is on the fritz.

And Fritz must send away for a part.

I’m offered a shower in the Mother and Baby Ward.

On reflection, I can’t estimate the likely net hygiene outcome of such a sortie.

I’m tempted to ask if the kerosene baths still work.

But these seem like nice people,

so I spray some cologne instead.

I immediately rue my choice,

as it’s called

Allure Homme Sport

Eau Extrême.


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Your smallest kindness will keep me going strong. With many thanks, Paul.


Head case

January 4, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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The psyche nurse knocks at 7.30 am.

‘Come in’ I say.

She introduces herself

and explains that she’s doing a headcount.

I say it’s nice to meet her.

And that I have

one.

She smiles faintly

but not in a ha-ha way.

Then she withdraws,

quietly closing the door.

And yet,

under the circumstances,

I feel

pretty damn

funny.


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Your small act of kindness will keep me going strong. With many thanks, Paul.


Psycheling

December 20, 2016 at 9:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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It was with a small measure of rare pride that I entered the psychiatrist’s room.

Not nearly enough to brim over, but sufficient to coat the floor of a 250 ml lab flask if you swirled it.

It felt so different to have something positive to report.

For once.

Two things, in fact.

The first was that my wife and I had downsized to one car.

Apart from cutting costs, I felt this was better for the environment.

I also felt that with my wife needing the car to commute, I’d be forced to walk and cycle much more often.

My old bike had been chained to the house for years – gathering dust, rust and spiders.

I was going to get it fixed, then decided to do something unprecedented.

I bought a new bike, with a rechargeable battery, to help me over the hills that dotted my usual journeys.

The purchase was a success.

I began riding around town at an average speed of 24.1 km/h, with a record downhill sprint of 52.8 km/h.

The website had promised this bike would make me smile.

And you know what? It actually did.

So I considered this sequence of events my second ‘good thing’.

I proudly told the psychiatrist that I’d overcome decades of self-hate to buy myself a gift.

In so doing, I’d also trounced 4000 tonnes of inertia to get my fat, sclerotic body outside and moving again.

The psychiatrist quizzed me about the bike’s battery assistance (which is modest, optional and variable).

I happily filled him in.

Then he said:

‘Why didn’t you get fit and buy a real bike?’

I found this

unhelpful.


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 Just a buck or two will keep me going strong. 🙂

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