Nurse Jane steered me into the short-stay area. Unlike the bustling Emergency Ward where I’d spent ten hours being poked and prodded, it was empty.
“You’ll like it in here”, she assured me. “It’s nice and quiet”.
The adventure of the Exploding Gut began two days earlier. ‘Unwell’ on Thursday evening, became ‘Crook’ on Thursday night.
We advanced to ‘Worst Bug Ever’ on Friday, and officially made ‘John Cash Songs At My Funeral Please’ in the early hours of the weekend.
I know what you’re saying. Bloody man flu again. Well, you’re wrong. I have it on official medical paper that this was something only the brave or foolhardy could face. I’ll find it for you later.
The local doctor made me go hospital. As well as the swirling virus that had me setting up camp in the toilet, there was another concern. He thought I had appendicitis.
So it was that I became an Emergency Department patient.
As disgusting as I felt, there were others with far more serious symptoms that needed attending.
While I waited, I saw amazing, hard-working nurses. Doctors looking for answers, wearing constant frowns. And all types of patients.
Like the large, intimidating woman who came in just after midday. She made it her mission to fight staff trying to help. Took four beefy security blokes to restrain her.
Then there was the hairy bloke who spent an entire examination talking on his mobile. Not sure even he knew what their finding was.
And Jill. Poor Jill. A woman who it seemed had been dealt some rough hands in the game of life. She arrived just before I did. No-one seemed to be coming for her. After her fifth seizure, she was moved. Not sure where. I hope she’s ok.
After tests that went all day and into the evening, my much-accused appendix was given the all-clear. The gloved finger of blame was pointed at the adjacent colon, found to be inflamed like one of my famous mango snags on the BBQ.
It meant I was in for the night. Around the corner from my Emergency friends.
My time alone in this new ward didn’t last long. I was joined by a bloke with a heart scare from an extended walk. A young guy, who I think was battling his way through drug rehab. And a short, round gent, who had something wrong with his tongue.
Four brave men, fighting their own demons, in one room. Three of whom had something in common. The ability to snore. A gown-clad orchestra of the night
Of course, all three would have been praising me when I was away, for being the only one not belting out a sleeping note. I think. They’ll need to provide recorded audio for me to believe anything different.
To be fair, the young bloke wasn’t too bad. Like me, he wasn’t sleeping much. When he did, it was a short, sharp snore.
The walker was more measured in his breathing. Not that loud, but noisy enough. Especially through the thin blue curtain dividing us.
There was a gold medal winner among them, however. Directly opposite me, with a bung tongue, was a man who could snore for Australia.
This was the sustained, thumping growl of a Blackhawk, propped up on two pillows. Chainsaw constant. Cheap picture frames around the room were trembling.
The nurse had to wake him every two hours. When she did, he jumped. And then spoke in a quiet, measured tone. The noises just didn’t match up.
Daylight saw my roomies gradually move on. I’m home now too. Not great, but better. Fewer trips to the toilet. And a room that’s nice and quiet. Unless someone can play me the tape.