Astyages's Weblog

October 13, 2009

Hell Hospital

Filed under: Hell Hospital — astyages @ 11:59 pm

 

HELL HOSPITAL

By Theseustoo

Episode 1

(Disclaimer: this series of stories is completely fictional and none of the persons, places or institutions in these stories are real, but figments of my own imagination. Any similarity to any real person, place or institution is entirely coincidental.)

St Helvi’s was the largest hospital in the South Ozzie city of Madeleine. Consequently, it was the busiest hospital in the city and this was its good fortune because large enough numbers of patients passing through the doors made it easy for the hospital administrators to convince their insurers that their medical staff were not actually incompetent and that the hospital’s fatality statistics were only marginally above the statistical norm, and, it was often argued, because it was, after all, a public hospital, St Helvi’s was obliged to take patients the private hospitals could afford to reject… such as those who looked like they had less than a fifty-fifty chance of making it through the night, so the statistics were falsely skewed. Whatever the truth of these claims, they could not prevent the local populace from endowing their local hospital with the nickname, “Hell Hospital”, as the newspapers had reported again only this morning.

God knows, Nurse Paula thought to herself, as she tightened the tourniquet she had applied for Mr Peabody’s nosebleed, we do all we can to try to keep them alive! Maybe it’s just a genetic defect with today’s generation of patients, she thought, as Mr Peabody gradually collapsed back, purple-faced and unconscious, onto his bed, unable to loosen the tourniquet due to his other injuries; two broken arms. Yep, today’s generation of patient was definitely not as durable as previous generations, Paula thought, as she finally realized, “Oh, silly me! You don’t use a tourniquet for a nosebleed!”

Mr Peabody gratefully gasped in as much air as possible into his desperate lungs as he gradually regained consciousness. As the nurse now approached him with a large crepe bandage, and Mr Peabody was unable to defend himself due to his broken arms, he gasped, “No, I’m alright, really… no really I am… No, you don’t need to bother yourself about that, I’m sure it’ll stop bleeding in just a mo…Mmphh… mpphhh”

But Nurse Paula was not to be put off; patients, she knew, were often reluctant to accept their treatment. With the speed of many years’ training she swiftly bound up Mr Peabody’s nose, and covered the rest of his face too, for good measure; leaving Mr Peabody, with only a small patch of reddish hair showing above the bandages. She checked her watch; time for her tea-break. She taped the end of the bandage to stop it coming loose and, as Mr Peabody slowly collapsed backwards into unconsciousness again, she walked smartly off in the direction of the staff canteen. One must always walk purposefully, she had realized long ago… even when you’re just going for a smoko… People will think you’re both busy and important and, with any luck, they’ll leave you alone.

In any case, she had a good reason to be in a hurry to get to the canteen for this break; there was a new chef there by the name of Swannee whom she’d had her eye on since his arrival. Swannee was tall and rangy and his rugged good looks were somehow not marred but rather enhanced by the bright red sunburn he’d recently acquired on a fishing trip which had left him in the doghouse with his wife, who evidently did not understand that sometimes a man just has to go fishing.

“Seems you caught the sun over the weekend,” said Paula with her most inviting smile. “Yeah… Pity that was all we caught!” Swannee grumped, as he plopped a large helping of mashed potatoes on Paula’s plate, “ Or my missus might have believed that we actually did go fishing! You want peas?” “Please!” Paula smiled ingratiatingly. An equally large helping of peas was added to the roast lamb and mashed potatoes on her plate. But Swannee was oblivious to Paula’s obvious interest in him as the customers in the line behind her started to grumble amongst themselves.

“C’mon passionflower,” one grumbled, “move along; there’s people waiting to be fed…” and Paula was obliged to reluctantly turn away from Swannee and take a seat at a nearby table. “’By-eeee!” she said seductively, and waved coquettishly back at him as she left. He’d only been working there a week… there was plenty of time, she thought… she would have him sooner or later, the poor, unsuspecting fool. She was quite determined that, as with all her paramours, this one would not escape. She was not known to her friends as ‘Passionate Paula’ for nothing!

Returning to the ward, she discovered someone had stuck an inkless biro-tube through the bandages on Mr Peabody’s face; “Oh dear!” she thought to herself as she realized that someone other than herself had done this to her patient, “I keep forgetting that patients have to breathe!” She wondered who it could possibly have been that had saved her all the paperwork which the demise of a patient would have caused her, but she could think of no-one who might do such a thing; although this was not the first time something like this had happened. Indeed, it seemed as though whenever Paula made a potentially fatal blunder in the ward, there was some invisible helper who fixed things up after her, without ever being seen. Paula could only put it down to her ‘guardian angel’ and left it at that; she was never really any good with puzzles and mysteries; they made her head ache.

Just then she was interrupted by the arrival of another patient; a motorcycle accident victim, or ‘organ donor’ as the nurses called them. Unfortunately this one was not too badly hurt except for a very nastily crushed and dislocated foot. The new patient was placed next to the Spanish patient, Pedro Santiago, who was recovering from his recent operation; a most unusual operation it was too… Cello-ectomies were rarely called for these days; nowadays it was usually guitars. It had looked ‘touch and go’ for Pedro for a while, but the patient had survived the operation and was recovering slowly; but he was obviously still in a lot of pain. Paula couldn’t help but wonder how such a huge musical instrument could possibly have been placed in such a relatively small body cavity… still, she thought, what people did in the privacy of their own homes was their own business…

While she was busy getting the new patient settled into his bed Paula did not notice a furtive figure emerge from the closet which belonged to one of the two empty beds in this six-bed ward, clutching a broom and pushing a folded copy of ‘Take Five’ magazine into her nylon coat pocket as she slipped, silently and unseen, out of the ward.

***** ******* *****

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