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.


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.


Shower scene

January 7, 2017 at 6:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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My room is next to the ward’s security portal.

At 2:00 am, I wake to what sounds like agitated people making repeated efforts to get in, out (or possibly both).

My door has no internal lock, so I lie in fear – hoping not to get caught in the moment.

At length, the situation seems to resolve.

Shortly after which, my door handle turns.

I can only hope it’s the night nurse, so pretend to be asleep.

The door cracks open and I feel eyes upon me.

If I overact, I may appear dead – thus triggering entry and further examination.

It’s a nuanced role.

After silicone seconds, the door closes and I breathe again.

I remain sporadically alert for the next three hours.

On a happier note, the hot water’s back on.

A welcome relief.

Alas, the shower curtain doesn’t fully circumscribe the recess.

Either an intruder can see me from the toilet,

or I can see myself in the mirror.

I debate which is worse.

Then I put a bet each way by standing closer to the curtain, with peripheral eyes on the most likely lines of attack.

The bathroom door has an internal ‘lock’ – but this can be overridden from the other side by a key, a coin or even a stout thumbnail.

Also, the door’s hinge pins can be removed by hand.

That said, my shower concludes without incident.

But when I pull back the curtain, I’m dismayed.

The slope of the tiled floor has failed to deter water from most of the bathroom.

I must soak the bath mat to clean it up.

This means the grumpy towel woman (the others aren’t) may have to replace the mat mid-morning.

And last time she stormed out (doubtless with her own travails) she took all my positive vibes with her.

To curtail a repeat, I’d hoped to make the bath mat last the week.

So I set it with the wish

that it’ll dry

in time.

Postscript

I ask the day nurse about the night’s events.

She assures me only one person left the ward – at 11.30 pm – with no disturbance.

She suggests my proximity to the noisy security portal may have magnified things in my mind.

She seems genuine, and I want to believe her, but I’m reminded of a childhood riddle.

If she’s lying, I’m an acute observer, but may never get out of here.

If she’s truthing, I’m a great storyteller, but not ideally suited to the real world.

And so,

may never get out of here.


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


Night stalker

January 6, 2017 at 6:17 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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There are female screams in the night.

The like of which I’ve never heard.

I put down my book, turn off the light and strain to listen.

(Is this not what I paid for?)

The strange, strangled ululations seem without end.

Why do staff take so long to attend?

Or have they arrived, only to face some primordial force beyond their control?

The more I think about it, the weirder it seems.

I ask the next nurse who checks on me and she says,

‘You should be pretty safe in here.’

Yet we don’t get banshee caterwauls like this at home.

The longer I ponder, the more possibilities emerge from the gloom.

Is my neighbouring inmate watching a horror film?

Heaps of people like that sort of thing.

Could he simply be viewing the news?

Today’s monstrous bulletins seem bereft of censorship.

In which case,

would I actually be safer beyond these walls?

Still troubled, I ask my wife on her next visit.

She points to a laminated map of the complex:

an adjoining ward deals in maternity.

And with her unerring good sense,

she cuts my twisted logic in a trice.


If you found this post useful or entertaining, you may wish to:

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


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.


If you found this post useful or fun, you may wish to:

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.


If you find this blog useful or fun, you may wish to:

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


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