Monday, 7 February 2011

One of Those Days

Some days you wake up and have a feeling that it will be 'one of those days', and it is. Today, for example. But I'd like to know whether it's a self-fulfilling prophecy or whether it's a real premonition, because one you can change, the other you just have to weather.

It's blustery. Anyone who has ever worked in a school knows that the wind affects the behaviour of children. Probably animals too, and who knows, maybe everything and everyone.

I went to the hospital to visit my friend. The first thing I was confronted with was the absence of any parking space. Some kind of building work is going on and the car parks were all fenced off.
I'd like to go by public transport, which would in fact be cheaper and more ethical, but it would also take an extra two hours out of my day.

As I arrive, since I know my friend has moved wards since Friday, I have to pick up the telephone on the front desk to ask what ward she's in.
You can't go ten paces in this hospital without hand sanitiser, but here I am confronted by a phone, one of the most unsanitary pieces of equipment in any home, let alone hospital. The man at the desk has some wipes.

'Could I have one of those wet wipes please?'
'Why not?'
'You have to use latex gloves with the wipes,'
'I don't know,'
'Could I have a latex glove then?'
'I'm not allowed to give them out,'
'Right,' so I take some hand sanitiser and smear it on the phone with a tissue.

Across a crowded lobby, I am singled out by an elderly Sikh couple who speak only three words of English. I finally ascertain that they are trying to visit a relative who has given birth, and thanks to the colour coded wall charts, I was able to send them in the right direction.

Upstairs, my friend wants me to find a priest for her who visited last week. I know from previous experience that this is like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I go to the desk.

'My friend would like a visit from the hospital chaplain please, he visited her last week on the other ward. All I know about him is that he's the hospital chaplain and he's Iraqi,'
'Does he wear glasses?'
'I don't know,'
'Is his name Ian?'
'Sorry, I don't know, all I know is that he's the hospital chaplain and he's Iraqi,'
'Is he Muslim?'
'No, he's a priest,'
'I see, but he's Iranian?'
'No, Iraqi,'
'Right, Iraqi, well, I think you mean Ian. He only comes on certain days,'[answers phone]
'Well, could we get in touch with him?'
'I think he might come on a Monday,'
'Good, good, if he does turn up, could he see my friend?'
'I'm not sure if today is one of his days though,'
'Ok, well, if it is....'

When I get outside again, two women stop me and ask if I know where they might have parked their car. By a process of illuminating elimination, I point out that the hospital is bounded on two sides by major highways, so work out in which direction their car must be. They want to know how they get there. I make some suggestions.

As the day goes, it's only half time.

On 'Harry's Law' this week, her first client brings her a priest who wants to talk to a lawyer.
'I've brought you a priest,' he says, 'in case you need spiritual guidance,'
'That's OK,' says Harriet, 'I self-medicate.'


Anonymous said...

i am laughing heartily again at how many people ask you for help - hospitals, stores, - come to Robson Street and we'll stand there and see how long it takes for someone to ask you for directions. ha.
- Karen

Schneewittchen said...

I shall be there on Thursday Karen, I'll see what happens !

Anonymous said...

on robson on Thursday? I'm between bute and thurlow, at the school that won't die.

Schneewittchen said...

Well I shall be taking coffee at Caper's at 11.00, so if you like, I could cast a spell on the school that refuses to die, or we could meet for post coffee coffee.

Anonymous said...

I have lunch from 12:10 or so to 1, so maybe not enough time! but, yes, cast a spell - it's the John Robson bldg - 1155 Robson Street, 7th, 4th and 3rd floors!0