I thought that an old newspaper would be the best choice for reading material, but as I tried to find a comfortable way to hold it above my head, restricted by the bars on the bed, I realized I may have been wrong. I was told not to bring any valuables, so a book, even a cheap novel, seemed like too much responsibility. I knew that I would not be able to keep track of my things, so the newspaper seemed like a good bet. Lost, no problem.
An iconic image such as the cheap dropped ceiling tiles and florescent lights, feels totally different when witnessed in real life, from below, as they whiz by. I mentioned to Vince that I should’ve asked to be sitting up more so that it would be more fun to be zoomed around. Apparently, that was not something that he was willing to do because there wasn’t so much as a pause in our progress through the doorways and halls.
My newspaper was welcome, even if it was difficult to read, during the eternity that I lay there on the bed, in the hall. I had come to a full stop at the midpoint of a T-intersection. There was a very busy doorway just beyond my feet. I had become part of the furniture. A nurse, about 15 feet away, muttered in an angry voice, “This is ridiculous!” as she sorted through the surgical packs in a cabinet just down the hall. My presence did nothing to curtail her expression of frustration. It didn’t matter that I was there.
An older gentleman, Donald, was wheeled into the other wing of the T and I could see the foot of his bed from where I lay. I had met him in the waiting room. He was very gregarious and had started conversations with everyone waiting to be checked in. I suspected that he was quite nervous and used conversation to dissipate his growing fear. I had heard him invite the fourth person to have coffee with him, “afterwards”. This was something I first heard when he invited me while we were in the waiting room.
The halls and rooms within earshot were all busy. Numerous people and beds whizzed by and I wondered for a moment if I had been lost or forgotten. Had Vince left me in the wrong place? The ceiling tiles were familiar. They were the kind that had been used in every basement I had ever been in during the time that I was a teenager. Inexpensive, white, easy to install and move in the event that a wire or pipe had to be fixed above them, simply the easiest and cheapest way to do a ceiling. Very uninspiring.
I began to wish that I had received the ‘promised’ sedatives before the wait in the hall. I focused on the fact that I was perfectly safe. Nice blanket, soft mattress, protection from the elements and a huge amount of people within ear shot if I needed to yell for help. Problem was, there was no way to know how things would be shortly…