I seem to have spent a lot of time in hospitals over the years. You know the way it goes. You wake up surrounded by peering policemen. They're soon joined by anxious ambulancemen. Sometimes there's the faint smell of cordite in the air. The next thing you know you're on a stretcher and they're carrying you away.
The time I'm thinking of they put me on an open ward and pumped me full of morphine. I was flying all 'round the ward looking down at the other patients from the safety of my bed. Then suddenly I was in a back alleyway and there were a bunch of about fifteen nuns on a corner. About five of them were armed. Pistols and rifles. I thought it'd be a great idea to be photographed with them. I ran to my house which happened to be conveniently close but there were no batteries in my camera. I thought the nuns might get bored and wander off.
"The nuns are waiting" I shouted "Bring me some batteries".
That's when I woke up and found I was back in yet another hospital.
They'd stuck me in the bottom left corner of the ward with everyone else to my right and opposite. My bed had been cranked about so my bottom was higher than my head. There was a sort of canvas harness around my hips and a couple of ropes ran through some pulleys in the ceiling and, suspended from the ropes, was a plastic bag of water. I was in traction.
I was next to the Sisters office and there was a big glass window so they could see out at the ward. Right now they were staring at me and probably wondering who the nuns were. I gave them a little wave.
My fiance brought me 'Thucydides History Of The Peloponnesian War' to read. It's a handy tome of many hundreds of pages and you need to make notes while you read it so it keeps you absorbed. She also brought supplies every day. Some sandwiches and other foods. Nobody can eat hospital food. No wonder they're all sick in there. A bottle of brandy and some cigarettes.
I'd doze a lot during the day because I couldn't concentrate on my book for all the chatter. Then I'd read at night. There was a handy overhead wall mounted lamp that just lit up the pillow end of my bed. The hospital used to be a workhouse and there was this old iron framed window made of many small panes behind me. The bottom of it hinged out and I'd open that as it was unbearably warm in the ward. It was winter and snowing so the occasional flake drifted in and melted on my cheek.
We build our hospitals close to railway lines. Or railway lines close to hospitals. I'm not sure which, chicken and egg. It's so we can move large numbers of casualties to medical attention in case of an emergency of unusual proportions. I like the sound of trains and find it very soothing. It was easy to fall asleep as dawn was approaching.
One morning this bloke across from me was snoring like mad. I tried throwing dried roasted peanuts at him but he wouldn't wake up. In the end, and in desperation, I threw an apple at him. I might not be much use with peanuts but I'm pretty good at throwing grenade sized things. Got him right between the eyes. That woke him up alright. I felt pretty guilty afterwards as the ward Sister was telling him off for dropping peanuts all over the floor while he was telling her that he hadn't been eating any peanuts.
The nurses were great. There were bed baths and every few days a pretty nurse would come 'round and wash my hair for me.
Eventually the consultant said I could go home. I was out of that bed like a shot. Stole a hospital gown to put over my T-shirt and shorts and went to the Sisters office to ask her to ring a taxi for me. I'd like my house keys too. She told me it was snowing outside and I had no shoes. I told her I'd cope. Turns out it's cold walking in snow in your bare feet.
I get home and the house is freezing cold. Cat displays complete indifference that I'd been missing or that I was back. He wanted feeding. I put the electric blanket on and collected some booze, ciggies and made some toast to take with me to snack in the night.
By the time I got to bed cat was already under the covers warm and cosy with the electric blanket. On his back and snoring.