Tag Archives: hospital

2714. The first guest

Julie and Julian were about to begin their dream. Their recent wedding had been fabulous. Everything had gone perfectly. In their speech at the wedding the two rich fathers/fathers-in-law announced that they had purchased an old psychiatric hospital. It was Julie and Julian’s dream to renovate it and run it as a hotel.

The honeymoon in the Bahamas was great. Not quite what the tourist brochures had made it out to be, but exciting enough; especially with the prospect of returning to begin the wonderful renovation project.

The psychiatric hospital was old and derelict. It was pre the days when people were more understanding and enlightened. Back then it was referred to as “the looney bin”. The interior rooms were often bolted and locked; not unlike a prison. The hospital had closed years earlier when it had been discovered that medical personnel were using the patients for surgical experiments and many had died there.

It took Julie and Julian eighteen months to turn their building and grounds into a welcoming hotel. They succeeded! They advertised! They got their first guest booking! The guest arrived! He said he knew the place quite well.

That night…

Oh dear! Oh goodness me!

2143. Hospital visitation

Of course, I was brought up properly; not like the unfortunate nobodies in the hospital beds next to me. There’s Arnie on my right and Lenny to my left. You can tell they were never brought up right by their parents when you see the riff-raff that visit them every day. They’re loud and rude. Just yesterday one of the visitors farted loudly and everyone screamed with laughter. Not my cup of tea I’m afraid.

I said to Arnie when everyone had gone, “That was a bit rude wasn’t it?” He just laughed it off like it was nothing. “Not in a public place,” I said. “That’s the height of being inconsiderate.”

The same goes for Larry on the other side. His visitors are just as boisterous as Arnie’s only they swear all the time. They use those words I never heard until I was twenty. I said to Larry, “It shows a complete lack of proper education when people have to sprinkle swear words all the time in an ordinary conversation.” All Larry said was “Get a life, loser”, although he peppered it with a few of the words I was complaining about.

Anyway, both Arnie and Larry asked me how come I don’t get any visitors. “Don’t you have any family or friends?” they said. I said I didn’t have much; just a few nieces and nephews, and they said that explains it then. It explains why you complain about others having visitors when you don’t have any yourself. You’re jealous.

I said I wasn’t jealous and they said I was. Anyway, I texted a niece. She works as a fashion model for a big agency. She asked me what I wanted for my eighty-second birthday, so I told her what I wanted and she said she would arrange it.

So when my birthday came, about a week before I was due to leave the hospital, I had fifteen visitors all turn up at once; all from the model agency. And they all called me Uncle like I knew who the hell they were. The sexiest ones asked Arnie and Larry if they minded if they (the models) sat on the edge of the beds while they chatted to me. Arnie and Larry were beside themselves. The models left me a great big birthday cake which I shared with Arnie and Larry. Boy, did they shut up after that.

2082. Hospital emergency

Goodness, exclaimed Leith gazing at the calendar on his dining room wall, it’s March 20 already. I thought it was only Thursday.

He had spent all week, days and a good part of the nights, at the hospital. This was his first breakfast at home since that Monday. He was dog tired, and now there was so much to arrange; so many people to contact and so many questions to answer. Being the weekend made it doubly worse because people were away and much harder to contact.

Had his wife, Antonia, been there things would have been easier. She could do half the work. But goodness me! How silly of him! She was gone! Gone forever…

Leith forced himself to eat a piece of toast. The butter in the fridge was rock solid. He went without and spread a bit of apricot jam on the slice. It was horrible and cold. He had better face the task at hand.

It was tedious being a plumber. How three water mains burst at the hospital all in one week was a mystery.

1989. Daughter memories

It was a tragedy when Diana and Mansell’s seven-year-old daughter, Destiny, died. It had been a medical mistake. Destiny had gone in “for a little operation” and the surgeon had left a sponge inside her when he sewed up. Destiny died.

Diana and Mansell were, of course, heart-broken.

“We have to sue the doctor,” declared Mansell. “We have to sue the hospital. We have to sue the Health Board. We have to sue…”

“I think we should remember little Destiny and the happy times,” said Diana. “To sue would simply extend our grieving forever.”

”It’s not the money,” said Mansell. “It’s the principle. We don’t want this happening again.”

“I think we can rest assured that it won’t happen again, whether we sue or not,” said Diana. “I would prefer to remember Destiny the happy way she was.”

But Mansell went on and on. He wouldn’t let the topic drop. Whenever Destiny’s name was mentioned he went on about the irresponsibility of the doctors and the nurses and the hospitals.

It was impossible for Diana to ever share memories of their daughter with her husband without a diatribe. It lasted a lifetime.

1886. A small tragedy

When Charmaine was peeling potatoes she accidentally cut off her baby finger. Her mother had always said, “Charmaine! Don’t peel the potatoes with a sharp knife! Peel the potatoes with a proper potato peeler!” But you know young people. Charmaine knew better. It was inevitable that one day she would cut off a finger with the knife.

It wasn’t just the tip of the baby finger; it was the whole hog; the entire pinkie on her left hand.

Part of the tragedy was of course that Charmaine was a fabulous concert pianist. What a fabulous concert pianist was doing peeling potatoes I have no idea. Nor did her mother, my wife. Naturally, her hysterical mother phoned for an ambulance after wrapping the little finger up in several pieces of paper towel, the roll of which sat on the window sill above the kitchen sink. There was blood on the cutting board and kitchen bench and everywhere, and the couple of potatoes that had been already peeled were ruined.

I said to Charmaine that I wouldn’t mind paying a famous composer to write a piece for piano that used only nine fingers, and she said “Don’t be silly Daddy. How would a famous composer know it was my pinkie on the left hand that was missing?” I wouldn’t have thought that such things mattered.

And then the ambulance, while turning off the road into the driveway, missed and drove into the ditch. It was stuck. And what is more it was blocking the gate so that the next ambulance (that my wife had called for immediately) couldn’t get in. To add to the inconvenience, the ambulance personnel got the stretcher through the gate, but with Charmaine lying on the stretcher they couldn’t squeeze it between the stuck ambulance and the garden wall. It simply wasn’t possible to turn the stretcher on its side. Not with Charmain in it.

The ambulance crew tipped Charmain onto the grassy verge and managed to get the stretcher through the gap. They then had to get Charmaine through the gap and onto the stretcher and into the usable ambulance.

That is when I said, “Look Charmaine, I can tell the famous composer which finger is missing when I commission the piece.”

And Charmaine said, “Oh Daddy, it’s not the same.” I didn’t have a clue what she meant. She can be so obtuse at times. But anyway, before long the ambulance was on its way and I followed (with Charmaine’s mother as a passenger) in the family car which fortunately I had parked on the side of the road outside the gate. Somehow the ambulance got through all the heavy traffic but we got stuck. We were sitting on the road in the car halfway to the hospital, and I said “Well at least the right vehicle got through”, and my wife said “Yes, but I have her finger in my purse. There’s no hope now.”

I said, “That settles it. I’m commissioning a piano piece for nine fingers from a famous composer. I’ll do that tomorrow.”

That is when Charmaine’s mother’s phone rang. “Hello? Hello?” The batteries went flat. The phone was dead. Now it’s going to be hours before we find out what the lottery numbers are.

1615. Garden measurements

Vincent had spent just over six weeks measuring the garden he was intending to dig. He had driven stakes into the ground and outlined the garden with string. It was going to be huge.

It’s huge, said Vincent, because apart from the regular vegetables I also like to grow plants that crawl and take up a lot of space. Pumpkins, for example. One plant takes up an enormous amount of ground. And watermelons.

People walking by would stop, not quite in awe but at least in admiration.

It’s going to take me a long time to dig, said Vincent. If you’re going to do something it pays to do it carefully and properly. They taught us in the military to mind the 5 P’s: Prior planning prevents piss poor performance. There are always detractors ready to scoff. Just wait until they stand at the fence on a hot day with their tongues hanging out wanting a slice of a cool cantaloupe.

How Vincent could talk for hours to the people passing by! No wonder it had taken him six weeks thus far to measure up the plot he was going to dig. In fact, he was such a blabbermouth it was a wonder he had managed to drive in the seventy or eighty garden stakes measuring the perimeter of his proposed garden.

The day always ended the same when in the evening the hospital nurse came to gather up the stakes and bring him inside.

1601. A flick of the switch

It would be so easy, as the saying goes, to get the doctor to simply “flick the switch” and Myrna would be freed from the burdensome duty of visiting her husband in hospital. He had been in a vegetative state for over a week now, and really it was easy to perceive that there was little hope. Even if he did come out of it, Myrna knew she could be burdened for many years to come with a person who needed care. Who wants to spend their life feeding an incapacitated person by hand who slobbers and dribbles? Who wants to spend some of the most productive years of ones life wiping a bottom? Yes, a flick of the switch was definitely the answer. It was the humane thing to do – sort of like putting ones cat down so it didn’t have to endure desolation while one went on an overseas trip of a lifetime.

It was not an easy decision of course. It was an onerous responsibility. Only last week Ainsley had said to Myrna that should anything happen to him she was not to feel hidebound into living a life alone. “Try to find a new way! A new life! You live only the once!” That positive attitude was so typical of Ainsley. Myrna knew that living out Ainsley’s prophetic observation was only “a flick of the switch” away.

The kindly doctor (he was marvellous! such a caring man!) had explained to Myrna that things were not as easy and straightforward as many thought. There was a good possibility that Ainsley would recover. And recover he did! Myrna was devastated. She had to phone Neville and say that her foray into matrimonial liberation had to be put on hold. “Next time, Neville darling,” she said, “you had better do a better job.”

1167. Burning bus

When Garth set fire to the bus it was so he could drive it while still burning into the wing of the local hospital. It was an old wooden building. He did it because his life time enemy, Josephine, was in a bed somewhere there.

It so happened that all patients were able to walk, and very quickly they gathered at the bottom of the staircase ready to make a hasty retreat outside.

Garth was still in the bus, laughing his head off. His aim, once the building was aflame, was to dash outside and never be seen again.

As Garth alighted from the bus ready to make his dash, Patient Gwendoline tripped him up with her crutches. Patient Josephine, who had just finished reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” and whose husband, while she was in hospital, had brought her some grapes and a pair of handcuffs to cheer her up, managed to handcuff Garth as he passed and close the other end of the handcuffs over the springs of a bed on wheels.

All traipsed quickly out, except for Garth who dragged the bed behind him and got stuck in the doorway. He burned to death. His dying screams could be heard all over the suburb.

Now, children, tomorrow’s Halloween. The bed Garth burned to death in is the very bed you’re lying in. I managed to get it cheap at the secondhand place. I’m going to turn the light out and you’re all to get a good night’s sleep. We don’t want kiddies yawning their way through trick or treating tomorrow do we?

1149. Some aliens are never satisfied

“You can go home,” said the doctor to the hospital patient.

“But doctor,” said the patient, “you know very well I am an alien and I was in hospital with broken limbs because my space craft crashed. It’s pretty obvious I can’t go home.”

“I had quite forgotten that,” said the doctor. “It’s amazing how quickly one gets used to seeing you wear that mask that enables you to breathe propane. I’ll see what I can do.”

Special accommodation was arranged for the alien. He could walk around freely while breathing healthy propane gases. But the alien was most unhappy.

“I’m sick to death of the food,” said the alien. “Day after day it’s the same potassium cyanide. Why can’t they vary it a bit, like the drink of carbon tetrachloride I was given last Christmas?”

They tried to vary the food a little after that, but to be honest the nurses in the Psych Ward were getting tired of it.

778. My dog has fleas


When Selwyn was a boy he learned the ukulele. He would tune the strings – as does every ukulele player – to the tune of MY DOG HAS FLEAS.


These days Selwyn is in his fifties. He gets twenty-four hour care. He goes around singing MY DOG HAS FLEAS. No one has a clue what he’s talking about. Well, no one had a clue until Nurse Veronica came along. She knew exactly what it was about.

“You wash your mouth out with soap and water,” said Nurse Veronica. “We’re not having that kind of language here in my hospital.”

“MY DOG HAS FLEAS,” said Selwyn.

“You wash your mouth out with soap and water,” said Nurse Veronica. “We’re not having that kind of language here in my hospital.”

Poor Natalie! She looks after both of them. She has the patience of a saint.

Listen to the story being read HERE!