Tuesday, 30 May 2017

A&E: a brief journal

I fell in love with the waiting room yesterday. The sort of place that usually makes me squirm and broil with general upset was suddenly a constant source of fascination. Perhaps my eyes were opened to this because I wasn’t in need of attention (my girlfriend possibly broke a bone in her hand) and also I was extremely hungover so all I really wanted was somewhere to sit and focus on nothing, possibly sleep, all of which was granted to me.
            On arriving in the taxi, we see three women waiting for a lift away. They were dressed in beautiful and precisely worn headscarves and shawls, of deep and satisfying colour and pattern. Inside, hospital staff are everywhere and attempting to get everywhere, in their various coloured scrubs with embroidered meanings on the back. It occurred to me suddenly that this place is never empty; the staff don’t close up shop when the last patient of the day leaves at 5pm sharp. The injured hordes will continually pour in, or stumble in at least (there seemed to be a lot of foot injuries.)
            The police appeared three times, an event that caught my attention as someone instantly alerted by sirens and their associated symbols. The first time they were dropping off a name and description at the reception. The second time, they brought in Barry, who was not under arrest; it appeared maybe he’d been found collapsed somewhere and they were helping them in. He looked like he’d had some form of stroke but it could’ve been something else. He wore a jumper back-to-front that should’ve had the Dr. Pepper logo on the front, but was instead of course on his back. Barry could not sit still; despite being told a number of times to remain in his seat by the patient staff, he would switch seats, converse with anyone, wander outside, wander down the hallways, and generally disappear. The third time the police appeared, they had someone in handcuffs. A short, unshaven man from the North, his arms covered in faded tattoos. From the conversations I caught between him and the officers, he was an alcoholic. He was obviously distressed, in his worn out blue t-shirt and grey jogging bottoms.

            There seemed to be quite a few Irish people working in the hospital and waiting for help. There was one Scottish man, in some deal of discomfort, with a young daughter who couldn’t sit still. She developed a slight fascination with the water cooler, and continually attempted to impress my girlfriend (who couldn’t care less what with the painful arm) with her acrobatic methods of getting onto and off of her chair. Inevitably Barry conversed with the child.

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