Celtic Illumination, part 402, Florence Nightingale and the potty mouth from Hell.
I had found myself sat sitting on one of those trolley things, in a cubicle, in an accident and emergency department, in one of my local hospitals. Not something I usually do and not something I thought that I needed to do, although to tell you the truth my fate was now in the hands of others. And those others were still being told to keep their wandering hands to themselves. It was quite late at night, about eleven thirty and I was nodding off repeatedly. A drunk was escorted in and the evening livened up a tish. It was another stabbing but this time the fellow was quite upset, not only was he upset but he was exceptionally drunk. I had been in the accident and emergency department for almost eight hours. During that time there must have been, on average, forty people in the department, some medics, some patients, and apart from the chap immediately next door, the previous stabbing victim, it was impossible to hear what people were saying. Now all anyone could hear was this fellow, The Scouser.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like Scouser’s and I’m not a racist in any shape or form, but there’s a certain ‘fullness’ to the Scouse accent, especially when drink has been taken, and when it is expletive laden, with each word showered with saliva and issued at the equivalent volume to eleven on an amplifier, it tends to send a shiver down ones spine. Believe it or not there was a recent newspaper report that said, “Scousers have the least intelligent and least trustworthy accent,” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2433201/Scousers-intelligent-trustworthy-accent–Devonians-friendliest.html If I was a newspaper editor I don’t think I would have published that story, how embarrassing for so many people, however the Daily Mail is not really a newspaper, it is only concerned with celebrity worship these days, like the porn actress Kim Kardashian and her dysfunctional family, they’re not news, or even newsworthy, they’re just sad. Had the Daily Mail bothered to ask me my opinion I would have said that for me to listen to Received Pronunciation, or as some dipshits like to call it ‘The Queen’s English,’ that it makes me physically sick. Please don’t tell the people at Debrett’s, I’ll be barred from reading the book for life.
So, as I said, the evening was getting interesting as the police tried to remove various items of clothing from our Scouse friend to use as evidence. Another bobby was trying to get a statement while some medics were tending the wound or wounds. The Scouser, and by the way I couldn’t see any of this, I could only hear what was going on, as could everyone else in the accident and emergency department, the Scouser was of course resisting everyone who was in the cubicle with him. I began to smile to myself at the thought of a gang of medics going to offer him a bottom inspection. Of course this being a hospital there were many tried and tested methods of calming people down and the Scouser did calm down. There was no magic needle or small white pill used but from what I could hear, which was a police officer apologising, for slipping and accidently landing a forearm smash on the Scouser’s head, the method had been effective. After that things began to return to normal and I felt myself nodding off.
As my head dropped down I was sure that I saw someone I recognise pass by the cubicle opening and I shouted out, “Hey Gary.” Sure enough it was Gary, an old friend of mine I had met while driving a taxi. He was one of the nicer fellows and I knew he had left the taxi game and was working as a hospital porter but hadn’t expected to bump in to him. I was pleased for him as he seemed happy and deserved a break. Gary nipped in to my cubicle and informed me that he was just coming on shift but that he would be looking after me, not to worry. It was nice to know someone there and also to know that that person would help me out. Quite soon after Gary came in and told me he was taking me off to a ward. As he wheeled me along various corridors we spoke of the old days and some of the laughs we had together. Hospital wards these days are slightly different to the ones I remember. The last one I was in was in Belfast having my tonsils out.
There must have been fifty beds lined up, military style, the matron, ensuring that everything ran to plan and the sick people coughing and spluttering their germs all over the place. Gary wheeled me in to a darkened room. I could see that normally there would be six beds but this ward only had five. There seemed to be activity at the other end of the unit but this appeared to be a sleepy corner. Along the opposite wall were three recumbent men, in bed, separately. Gary stopped by what would have been the central bed, had there been three beds along this opposite wall, and asked if I needed any help to transfer from the trolley to the bed. Perhaps it was a combination of the dark and it being night time and me having what I now knew was some form of anaemia, but I was freezing and asked Gary if he could find me a blanket and a pillow as the bed was simply a mattress. I knew that the NHS was having a hard time and was being run by civilians but a bed without blankets or pillows was not something you expect to find in a hospital.
I was actually shivering and Gary noticed this as he returned with a pillow and blanket so he didn’t seem to mind me asking for another blanket. I had tried to keep any noises I might have made to a minimum as I didn’t want to disturb the three patients opposite however the new arrival in the bed to my left had different ideas. It was The Scouser. This time I could see everything, the picture was complete for me and I can assure you it was not a pretty one. It was male, about twenty five to thirty years of age, very short if not shaved head with a smattering of tattoos all over his body. To say he had a potty mouth would be an understatement and not a subject often covered by Debrett’s. This surprised me as the police men had gone and the Scouser was accompanied by his father, an uncle and a nurse.
He managed, with great effort and verbal description of the humongous pain he was in, to move himself from the trolley to the bed. This is where he started to notice things. One, there were no pillows, and no blankets plus his television didn’t work. “Nerse!” he rasped like a rag and bone man strangling a rat. “Nerse! I need a blanket and two pillows.” The poor old nurse was trying to get him settled and promised to get him the required bedding as soon as she could. “Ah look!” he complains. “You’ve got to put fukin money in the telly!” This wasn’t a question or a statement but was an invitation for the father and the uncle to get involved in the technicalities of getting the television working. It was one of those horrible things they have in many hospitals these days that sits on the end of a huge extendable arm and pours a stream of shite into some poor persons head.
I didn’t have long to wait before the one of the three of them who could read announced,”Ow much! Five quid for eight hours?” I had no intention of watching any television while in hospital and now that I knew how much they wanted for that privilege I was certain of it. Dick Turpin used to do it with guns. Gary nipped in and told me that he would be off now but that he would probably be back in an hour or two to take me for an x ray. It was one o clock in the morning, I was about to go to sleep, well; Scouser permitting. Details of the stabbing were being discussed in hushed tones between the three fellows, who had done it, what was going to happen to him and what should or should not be said to, ’The Bizzies,’ or as normal people call them, the police. Our Scouse friend had no money with him so had to borrow five pounds from the father and the uncle. This was a complicated affair as counting was involved and then finding the machine where they could convert the cash in to credits for the television. “Nerse!!”
While either the father or the uncle, I’m not sure which, but one of them had gone off to find ‘the machine’ the Scouser, the one in the bed with the stab wound, was complaining that he needed two pillows and some blankets. I was willing to accept this as the fellow might have been in pain and should be allowed a little leeway to express his discomfort. However, and I am sure Debrett’s will back me up here; he began to get quite nasty. Each word or even syllable was drenched in even more alcohol flavoured spittle as he forced his words out. “Nerse! Nerse! I need two fukin pillows and a fukin blanket or I’m going to lose it!” Unfortunately sleep was completely out of the question for me now as I was raging with anger. In my opinion, and I’m sure once again that Debrett’s will back me up, but he was abusing the nursing staff and I wasn’t prepared to allow that to happen.
I waited in case the abuse continued, I expected some sort of confrontation to erupt after I had spoken but I wasn’t that worried as there was no blood in my body so if he hit me, I wouldn’t be bleeding all over the place, plus I was already in hospital so help should be close at hand. The father, or the uncle, returned with the television token and the three of them worked out how to insert it in to the television. The Scouser continued to moan but only to his uncle and his father, he didn’t direct any of his statements to the staff, thankfully. I was still quite tense and was pleased when the father and the uncle left the ward, but should this fellow say anything untoward to any member of staff then he was getting a broadside from me.
He had the television on and had drawn the screen close to his face. Luckily he had headphones on so I wasn’t disturbed by the sound and there wasn’t even that much flickering from the screen. Whatever he was watching must have been very funny for it had me in stitches. It was half past one in the morning, I was lying on a hospital bed, in a dimly lit ward, still wearing my slippers, like a vampire victim without the obligatory teeth marks and I was laughing my head off. The ward had gone all quiet and only one sound now threaded its way through the still night air. The Scouser, who had made such an issue of getting his five pounds to watch the telly, had fallen asleep and was snoring his head off, while his eight hours viewing time ticked away and he still hadn’t been given his fukin pillows or blanket.