A couple of unfortunate events have just seen me spend the first few days of the school holidays shaking and shivering in my bed, then the next few days in a hospital bed trying to stop all the shivering and shaking. Not an ideal start but I totally lucked out with roomies and got to share with 4 jolly old men who were treating their hospital stay for various heart things as an extended sleepover. It was quite the funniest place to be in the whole hospital. They cackled and laughed, swapped crazy stories then haw hawed their heads off while sharing illegal pastries from the French Bakery and all the time flirting outrageously with the young girl in the corner. (Me of course!) They were cheeky to every techie who came through the door to draw blood or fiddle with their wires or hook them up to machines. My admission was unexpected so I turned up with nothing but what I was wearing but they were generous with their grapes and their home baking and their racy boy magazines.
We had the sweetest Chinese nurse who mothered and cajoled the lot of us. They talked her into giving me a pair of cozy flannel boys’ pyjamas instead of the poly cotton girls’ gown I was slipping around in, just so I would feel part of the team. She looked the other way over French pastries but had quite a bee in her bonnet about flushing out our kidneys. “Drink water now!” she’d say with hands on hips and then stand there till we did.
They were terrible technophobes and freaked out everytime the phone rang. “Answer it you git” then “You get it, you get it,” to me. “Tell them I’ve gone down the pub.” Cackling like a barnful of chickens.
Such a contrast to the last time I was here and had to share this very room with 5 batty old women who quarreled and cried and talked in their sleep. These men were interested in everyone and everything and debated life and the universe good naturedly. Although they were all in hospital for fairly serious reasons, they filled the room up with their vitality, their humour and their hope. And despite my misgivings, not a single one of those darlings even snored.
Laughter. Still the best medicine.