The Calderdale Hilton and Mouana
Shuffling into A&E stiff and crooked like an Autumn twig, I gave my name, details and sat with a motley crew of Others in the functional waiting room.
There were young ones, old ones, babies, children, men and women. All had come with various ailments to be cured by the enormous tentacles of the NHS and it's overworked staff.
A family of females all in their pyjamas, mum in PJ bottoms, young girls in onesies with little ears and furry mitts. Across the way a baby boy of two, golden headed and lively as a bear, enchanting the waiting room with his good humour. Bangladeshi family of two young men, with faces that mirrored their mother and a young bride pale as a moonbeam, delicate as a bird, sit and wait together.
The police bring in a handcuffed Hulk, he's young, high as a kite has learning difficulties. The policeman sits next to him, talking to him, listening to him, as strong rocks do in turbulent water.
Two young girls with fake tans, smudged mascara and leggings that sit skin tight to every curve, one limps and both text friends telling the world of their sparkling adventure in the world of medicine.
Time ticks on, darkness now outside the windows, the pain grows as a sharp, sharks grin into my side and back, taking a gleeful chunk of me. If this is life may I find refuge in death's comforting arms of silence.
And you are there, my helper and friend telling me stories of Ibiza, your little brother, his toys and many dinosaurs, it is hard to muster a smile, yet I do and I'm glad you're here. I'm glad you're here to help this wounded hound. You are a brave girl, a Mouana of girls, a survivor and that makes me very proud. Following me, slim and tall and spectacled. Observant of every Person, sign and conversation, only the invisible can hide from those blue eyes. I wonder how your curious mind could ever be satisfied. A Sherlock Holmes of girls, whose clues lie in words, pictures and smells. Who could ask for a better chaperone.
We enter the sanctuary of the assessment room. Where we see the Doctor in charge. Oh the Great One finally checks the results of blood and urine and pain. Like several doctors before him he calculates the possibilities of 'what it might be'. One more test, a view inside the abdomen, tomorrow and an overnight stay at the Calderdale Hilton. An unusual suppository later that kills all pain and I'm back in the Matrix. My Agatha Christie of crime deals with all necessary messages and arrangements and I am whisked away into the gaping gill of the NHS.
I am one more statistic, a carefully handled egg put into the warm box of incubation. I thank my lucky stars lucky, lucky, lucky. And wait for the morning.