Thursday, March 04, 2004

My father retires next week, after over 30 years of teaching. In true style, he has managed to use up some of the twenty years or so of his unused sick leave this week, by chopping off a couple of fingers with a power saw. Extreme, I agree.

This rather dramatic turn of events involved much blood, and a trip in the ambulance, and he is now set up in the plastic surgery ward of a public hospital, one fingertip re-attached, the other lost forever in my uncles’ backyard. He’s feeling a bit silly really, and due to risk of infection he has to stay in hospital for 6 days.

My most recent visit to a hospital was to visit a friend of mine who had a beautiful new baby, in one of Melbourne’s hotel-hospitals in the Eastern suburbs. Her room was so much like a hotel that anything that even slightly looked like a piece of medical equipment was rather out of place. I’m thinking that a plastic surgery ward at her hospital would involve nose bandages on privileged socialites, glass of Chardy in one hand, mobile phone in the other. In stark contrast, you should see the motley crew my lucky Dad gets to share with.

For example, in Bed number one we have the groaning man, who has some sort of leg injury. Every now and then he shifts his position on the bed and lets out an almighty groan. The first few times I looked over in terror, and expected a nurse to come running and shouting important commands like on “ER”.
“10 milligrams of nidocane, stand clear, we may have to intubate!”
But nobody even blinked. Not sure what you would have to do to actually get noticed.

So the moral of the story is to play carefully with power tools, and learn to groan really really really loudly to get attention in an understaffed public hospital. And get well soon Dad!


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