Community

Today, I find myself in Ambulatory Care for longer than I anticipated because the nurse has decided to give me some fluids whilst I wait to see the on call doctor. I thought I would be in here for 30 minutes maximum today. I was wrong.

The other people sitting with me, did not think like me when they walked from the Cottam Rooms this morning. They came prepared for the long haul. Everybody makes polite conversation in here, even if it is just a smile. I look at all the other patients and think, we’re in this together, but I am more important. It creates a nice sense of community to be sure.

I have said this to the Medically Trained People, so I have no problem with saying it here, the communal space of Ambulatory Care could be larger. In fact, I would go as far as saying it is cramped. I could touch the man to my left and I do think he would appreciate it because he is sleeping.

As I sit here, on a chair opposite the nurses station and to the right of the little reception desk, I am in the company of four other patients, all men, all older than me. We are close enough for me to hear their date of births, and I can confirm that the person nearest to me in age is 14 years older.

I recognise all the people from the hotel. The one I know the best, because he is the chattiest, is to me right on his mobile phone. I do not know why, but he reminds me of Roald Dahl, is it because his standard uniform is of somebody about to go on a modern safari? He might me South African. He is not having a transplant, I am not sure what he is in for, but he seems to be holding up much better than me. He ate at Wahaca yesterday, it’s not proper Mexican food you understand but it is an acceptable European fusion. He’s playing on his MacBook. He likes to Skype his wife, apparently. As well as reminding me of Roald Dahl, looking at him makes me want to watch the first three Indiana Jones movies.

So Roald Dahl/looks incredibly like a photograph I once saw of my great grandpa, is sitting closest to the entrance. He is getting a bag of something the size of a cows udder.

To the left of me, essentially next to me, is a trendy man in his forties. I saw he is trendy because of the people I have seen him with. One of them wore tights and Dr Marten’s on Wednesday and is a fan of bleached denim. Crazy. Today, he is wearing black jeans and a navy jumper. He’s very tired. I know that because I heard him telling the nurse he was and he is asleep as I type. He does not want to go into the hospital yet… I get the impression he has been here before. He knows all about my stools because the open plan setting does not offer enough privacy for me to have had that conversation privately. Not that I care. They offered me a private room; I declined.

He might not be asleep actually, he could just be pretending because I just saw his left leg move. To be honest, if I had to have had the conversation with the camo shorts with a red flannel shirt wearing man to the left of him about IT sales, I would have pretended to sleep. After 5 minutes of listening to their convention, I had to reach for my earphones. Poor man.

The boring man, sitting in the corner, is about to leave. His wife has been sitting with him the whole time and has not said a word the entire time I have been here. Maybe she doesn’t like IT sales. Hang on, she just said thank you to the nurse. They are off. His feet are swollen I note, so it is good he just walked over to the bin and disposed of his Lucozade bottle. As they walked out, a guest belonging to the sleeping man arrived. It turns out, he was actually asleep. She has lovely hair. She looks sad. I guess she is sad, because I saw the man on Tuesday for the first time and I can tell he looks worse than he did then. For ‘Lolita’ reading girl with the nice hair, the visible deterioration must be difficult.

The man who was in the far corner, also with a wife, has also left. He did not smile. I suppose one could say, if you are stuck in a artificially lit, white room on a Sunday, you probably do not have that much to smile about. I do not think like that of course. I am peaches and light. He looked like he was wearing a dressing gown, but it was actually an open blue shirt.

There are 3 nurses in here today, treating us and a further person in one of the private rooms. The room seems cluttered. I do tend to see more clutter when I am tired. There are silver trollies and stools as far as the eye can see, a blood pressure machine in the middle of the floor, and as the three of us left in here are on IV meds, we’re attached to those things on wheels, which are taking up more room as they sit to the left of our chairs.

Why am I the only one who enjoys the reclining facilities on the chairs? Fools.

Roald Dahl has opted to eat lunch. I was going to try it, but realised that I did not want my one meal of the day to smell like baby’s sick. I consequentially feel sick. It is just the two of us now…

I have to go and give them a certain type of sample now, I hope it does not put him off his lunch.

I’ll try and be subtle.

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3 thoughts on “Community

  1. Terri J says:

    I’m surprised you are around so many other people. The minute my daughter was given the melphalan she had a private room & we had to wash up, wear gowns, gloves & masks. Every time we went in & out of the room we had to do it anew. I was there every day with her for about 10 hours & it got really uncomfortable. They were freakish about infection. There were a couple of other people in their early thirties like her but most people were older. We don’t know who else had myeloma but do know some had leukemia & were getting stem cells from donors. They had the hardest time. In the U.S. some hospitals let you be outpatient for the process but she chose inhospital which made it less worrisome if something unusual happened.

  2. Terri J says:

    There is a girl named Suleika Jaouad who writes a blog for the New York Times called “Life Interrupted”. She is in her twenties & has been going through Leukemia treatment. My daughter met her at a symposium about the use of Social Media during illness. You might want to check it out if you haven’t heard of her already.

  3. Trying to be subtle in your situation maybe too stress, EJ… just be… it’s OK and actually who you are is pretty wonderful, so let that light shine!

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