Saturday, 12 September 2009

The brick wall of boredom

The weekend is upon us once more and the character of the hospital changes completely. Gone is the hustle and bustle of people being carted off for amputations, bone grafts and bunions. Gone is the sound of people milling around in the outpatients department. Gone are the staff who can speak English. Instead an eerie tranquillity descends upon the ward, making the place feel a little like the Mary Celeste becalmed in a pea soup fog. It’s quiet, ghostly and all rather spooky.

It’s at the weekend that a sane man can be driven to the very brink of insanity by the silence of it all. Being in traction and without the excitement of a visit from a doctor, physiotherapist or the old woman who wheels the League of Friends trolley around the ward to look forward to, one feels depressed. It can have a similar effect on a man as a lengthy spell in solitary confinement.

To fend off madness I resolve to amuse myself with some stimulating mental diversions in order to maintain my feeble grip on sanity. Fortunately there’s a large wall outside my bedroom window built of red bricks. In fact, that’s all you can see out my window. It’s a very tall construction that looks as if it might be the wall of a prison exercise yard. To occupy my mind I decided to count the bricks... just for fun you understand.

I’d managed to reach brick number 1867 when my HCA (Health Care Assistant) popped her head round the door to deliver yet another customer survey form, this time asking for my opinion on the quality of the doctors' ward rounds.

Bugger! I lost count. I had to start all over again. On second thoughts I decided that it wasn’t as much fun as I had thought it might be so I cast my eye around for something more interesting to do instead and came up with a short list of distractions that might just enliven the day a little.

  • I'm going to try to predict whether the Romanian tea lady will add any tea to the hot water and milk she usually serves me.
  • See how long I can listen to the hospital radio without gnawing my arm off up to the elbow.
  • Try to play dead and scare the shit out of the HCA when she next pops in to collect that survey form.
  • I'm going to dip my thermometer in my cup of tea when the nurse’s back is turned.
  • Finally, I think I'll  pour some apple juice into the empty urine sample glass and then wait for the nurse to come back before drinking it in front of her.
Now if you think you can come up with some even funnier japes for a bored man in traction to perpetrate then please let me know by calling 09874 999999. Calls cost £1.50 from a BT landline. Calls from other networks and mobiles will cost considerably more. Any suggestions involving sport, rambling, DIY or dancing will not be counted. Lines close at 9am on Monday.


  1. Mark, If you're not already doing so, get some kind soul to load dozens of R4 programs into an MP3/4. Or iphone or whatever.

  2. Or try to write definitions fo the Word Verification 'words' that crop up when one tries to send a message. As in "The Meaning fo Liff"

  3. 'of', not ´fo' of course.

    PS You could do something really usedful and send me KJC's email address.

  4. A Follower of your blog. See foto.

  5. The urine comment - apple juice with a little orange juice in it works best. A mate of mine studying nursing did it on a ward one morning as a joke, set it up with the other nurses, doctors and the patient, and left a urine sample bottle in the room all set up. After all the other students walked in, the head nurse turned on the students and demanded to know who left it there and did not take it for processing. The student nurses cowered in fear, thinking that one of them had screwed up, when my mate stepped forward, shook the bottle, took the lid off, took a sip and said 'its not ready yet, send it back to the patient for processing'. half the students hit the floor as they fainted to the laughter of my mate, the doctor, the nurse and the patient. The rest turned green. ahhh, the good old days. I am a student nurse now and damn it, i cant get away with it!

  6. If you need entertainment this weekend, then ask a passing nurse to scratch an itch somewhere it is impossible for you to stretch to. Then repeat "left a bit, right a bit, up a bit, down a bit" and time how long she does it for...

    Then repeat with every nurse you see and build up a league table.

  7. Might I suggest my blog?

  8. OMG. To whoever came up with the scratch an itch comment.... you are truly evil and I think we should send you a gift! Brilliant!

    TM... did you try this?

    Yvonne - NSW, Australia

  9. Flick bits of all meals at the roof, see what sticks and take pictures. We then have to guess which meal is where on the roof.