The other morning, while finishing the night-shift, I was showing my colleagues around the patients on the intensive care unit. We came up to bed 5.
“How are you this morning Sir, are you feeling better today?” I cheerily enquired of him.
He piercingly stared at his interrogator and rudely and gruffly snapped back “Well I wouldn’t be in this God-forsaken ward if I was alright, would I!”. With evident self-satisfaction at his salvo, he stared straight ahead and continued to puff and wheeze to himself.
Taken aback, my brow furrowed. I looked closely, first at him, all 220 kg of him, consisting mostly of adipose tissue and retained fluids. His was surely the largest human frame I had ever seen. We had only just rescued him from a scarily close encounter with the grim reaper a few days before. Inside that bulk was a scared little fella trying to get better.
We then perused his monitors and charts. Without doubt, all his numbers were back within normal limits or heading that way. His only infusion, of noradrenaline to support his blood pressure, was almost completely tapered off. His nurses and doctors hastily conflabbed together before reaching a unanimous verdict: He was going to be alright.
I began my address to him, adopting the air of a Hanging Judge:
If I recall correctly Sir, the sign above the front door of this fine healthcare institution reads “Hospital”, not “Hospice”. Not everyone is admitted here just to die.
From all the evidence before us, it is clear that you are in fact on the mend. Indeed, we will send you to the ward today, and from thence at a later date you will be taken to your final resting place, for the time being at least: your own home!
(In reality, my language wasn’t quite as pompous or theatrical as that, but I ask readers to temporarily suspend their disbelief in the interest of show-business 😉 ).
This latter day Mr Creosote turned his x-ray eyes towards me again. I expected to be roasted in their beams for my impertinence.
Then the corners of his tiny mouth began to curl into a smile, and his frown softened.
“Well all right Doc……you win”, he huffed resignedly, “As it happens I am feeling a bit more chipper today, thanks to you all.”
He and I exchanged a thumbs-up. Conflict, upset and despair had been averted.
I bade farewell to my lovely co-workers and left “The Burrito Institute for the Terminally Bewildered” to begin my long awaited and needed holidays.
Take care y’all. See youse again in July, God willing!