Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Sea Of Shrunken Yellow Men Crawling Out Their Cots And Calling For Mother


My Grandpa's in hospital. Nothing too bad, just a chest infection, anemia, polyps in the fundament.......

he's survived worse...........

Hospitals put the fear of God in me folks, I don't mind admitting that. It doesn't matter if it's some Victorian rabbit warren or some ritzy new death hole, I always leave feeling vaguely unwell and with the desire never to return.

I think it's the smell, the sick, 40 watt lighting, the bedlam like atmosphere......

I have no problem with going to see old Jimmy. He's deaf as a post and lives in a world of his own. My type of guy basically. I also think it's why his surroundings don't bother him too much.

It's a bummer going on family visits though. My mum sits at his bedside and clucks around him a bit while the rest of us talk amongst ourselves. He's used to it I think, between his late wife, his daughter in law and my mum, it's generally all he's known and he seems comfy with it. Still, I'd actually prefer to go on my own, then we can just sit and talk about football and all the stuff that's been going round in both our heads that day................(consults bus timetable for Springburn)

The geriatric ward at Stobhill is like the seventh circle of hell, two long lines of beds full of the confused and the dying. In the case of the manic old lad with the unlit fag in his mouth it's probably both. The fag was still in his gob when we left an hour later, still up in his bed gumming away, no words, just noises, the ability to articulate long gone. Another shouts a name repeatedly, maybe he's still swimming in the fog of the morphine. He could be calling anyone, but the name is female................You join the dots as you wish.

Grandpa's bed is at the bottom end of the ward. He lies across from a couple of sprightly looking lads with newspapers and a TV set. They're the short-termers, the tourists. They'll be out again in a week. Maybe it's true what they say about being nearer the door.............

As we walk out, an old gent smiles at me from one of the office like side rooms. I don't react quickly enough to wave at him or smile back, just a kind of impromptu grimace of acknowledgement before he melts back into the ward behind me. I silently wish him better health as I leave.

They provide handwash before you enter the ward. I leave wondering if theres anything attached to the wall that might aid the process of alleviating the feelings of grimness that cling to me as I leave.

4 comments:

SzélsőFa said...

This is a delicately horrible vivid description, Ewen. It sort of sums up most of our primaeval fears about hospitals and doctors.

I'm sending my get well wishes to your Grandfather.

I have only one Grandmother left. The rest of my grandparents are now watching us from the other side.

last year's girl said...

I'm sorry to hear about your Grandpa Ewen, but it sounds like he's a tough old soul. My last grandparent died a couple of years back - my wee Grandad, who was 92! He was in and out of the Southern for a while, just before he was moved to a nursing home. I know exactly what you mean about geriatic wards, they're horrible places (I'm sure through no fault of the staff, just what happens when you have a lot of sick, old people together in a place like that) so I hope he's out of there soon.

Cocktails said...

I said goodbye to my Grandpa in a place like this. The sheer horribleness of the moment and the room will stick in my memory forever. I hope that your Grandpa is out pronto.

iLL Man said...

Cheers folks! I just needed to get that out of my system. I've a feelingI'll be visiting hospitals rather more frequently in the coming years, so I think I should just get used to it.

Grandpa should be out in the next week or so. He's one of the fitter ones.