Tales from the Ward Chapter 49

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Workmen

8am this morning the noise of something large being trollied down the corridor towards my room disturbs me.

I can distinguish now the sounds of the different wheeled ward vehicles normally found here: the hoist, the towel trolley, and the housekeeper’s bucket.

But this is a new one.

There’s an ominous squeal as the door opens. I’m mid bite through a slice of marmite and toast.

The workman pokes his head around the door. “Morning”, he says cheerily, as he drags a huge plastic box into the room.

“Do you like the size of my toolbox?”, he asks, ever so suggestively.

The sexual innuendo is lost on me so early in the morning. I’ve not even dried my hair.

He fiddles with the contents of the box a bit and we discuss the height of a plastic sheet holder he wants to stick on my wall.

“I’ll come back in an hour or so,” he says.

Three hours later when I’d given him up for dead he reappears. The electric drill whirs maniacally at several thousand revs a second. Then a whoosh and a thump.

“Sounds like a hollow plaster board (cheap) wall,” I say.

“Yes,” he replies impressed.

There is some more whirring. Then a “fuck”. A “sorry.” And a “cheap bloody shit”.
Another sorry. “I broke the plastic holder”.

He disappears and I’m reminded of Mr Bodgeit my old Malaysian builder, who was very lucky to escape castration after screwing up the aircon plumbing in my former KL home.

I see him later in the car park with the four other maintenance men.

A Bodgeit convention no less.

They seem deep in conversation about the white van that hasn’t moved in the four months I’ve been here.

He catches sight of me looking and they all turn around guiltily in case I have telescopic lip reading skills.

I disappear off to physio. When I return there’s a pile of plaster board dust on the floor.

The plastic sheet is up at last.

With seven extra holes drilled in the wall for extra decoration.

UnknownBodgeit lives

Tales from the Ward, Chapter 48

Bite Marks and other dramas

It’s gone two hours since neurotic Noelle swept dramatically into physio demanding extra treatment because she was having an MRI on Monday.

Loudly she announces: I think I have a brain tumour.

I snort in derision.

The idea is so preposterous I want to laugh out loud. It’s an unfortunate part of her condition. If she really was that sick she would not be here.

I can’t laugh at her, so I bite my arm hard to stop myself.

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I’m shaking in hilarity. Pilar is grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

Eventually I calm down enough to continue with my session, but I notice the teeth marks on my arm.

In perfect alignment. The result of two years in braces.

Noelle’s drama – real or – most likely – imagined is not the only one.

Quadriplegia’s back to quadriplegic status after fitting for two hours following a virtual walking marathon out of the gym and around the lobby twice last week.

Her exhausted brain shaking the night away and shutting down her body.

And then Pilar disappeared to Spain for 10 days. Family Emergency.

I figured, I told her on her return: Either someone has died, someone is sick or someone has committed a serious crime.

She smiled. My mother is unwell, she tells me.

Lunch arrives but I’m not hungry. My bite marks are still fading.