I’d like to tell you that the same sort of routine takes place in the hospital on the seventh day but I’d be telling you a fib the size of Gordon Brown’s budget deficit. The truth is, Sunday reveille comes in the form of a stainless steel trolley crashing through my room door at 6am on the dot and the sound of a nurse saying “knock, knock” in the absence of any kind of doorknocker or entry bell. I guess the prison equivalent is the jangling of keys turning in the lock of a cell door.
Unfortunately, most nights I only manage to drift off into a light sleep at around 4am so the sight of a nurse wheeling in a blood pressure monitor just two hours later is about as welcome as a sausage roll at a bar mitzvah. Then it’s eight pills down the hatch followed by a nice dose of Lactulose in order to keep the digestive system moving. The whole experience feels like a violation.
Still, being a Sunday you might expect the hospital to arrange a little culinary treat for breakfast: a croissant perhaps, or maybe a lightly boiled egg with some toast soldiers. Nope! It’s the same old Weetabix and carpet tile toast, accompanied with sunflower spread and Chinese marmalade.
Unfortunately the torture doesn’t stop there. With breakfast finished barely ten minutes pass before the customary bowl of water and a J-Cloth get tossed through the door with instructions to get yourself washed and ready for a bed change in 15 minutes.
A bed change involves something similar to the party trick where a magician manages to whip a tablecloth off of a fully laden table without upsetting any of the crockery, glassware or cutlery. It’s a sight to behold and very impressive. The last task is the brushing of one’s teeth and then that’s everything done… it’s still only 7.15am but the worst is over.
I try to go back to sleep but by this time the other patient’s alarms are ringing to tell the nurses that they’re ready for the next stage of the waking up process. This continues for another half hour or so until, exhausted and no longer able to keep my eyes open, my head falls back on the pillow. I thank God that at last an oasis of calm has descended and I can enjoy what is left of my Sunday morning.
I’m just beginning to drift off into a dream where a waiter has taken my order for a Tournedos Rossini and recommended a rather fine bottle Chateau Lafite ’82 when the door opens.
“Is ok if I clean room now?” the cleaner asks.
How do you say ‘piss off’ in Polish?