Thursday, June 26, 2008

On Top, Doggy And Normal

A Tale Of Three...

You came first; reluctant, disgruntled. A familiar ale, of a rough struggle in the night, steel toe-capped boots leaving their angry retort. A litany of complaints, of your head, your neck, your chest and your shakes. We saw you immediately. You argued with us then, unhappy at your confinement, unwilling to see the necessity... we explained, cajoled. You swore and threatened. We hoped it was your head injury... it was just you. We cleared your neck, offered pain relief, albeit not the opiates you wanted, eased your shakes. It wasn't enough. We were too slow to bring you the coffee and sandwiches you wanted. You told us you couldn't walk, couldn't see, couldn't turn your head. But when no food was forthcoming, you got up, looked around, offered one final charming epithet and walked out. In a straight line.

You came second; the pain you were told was gallstones finally peaking until you couldn't bear it no more. They found you on the floor, pale, clammy, groggy. Two minutes later, you were on our trolley; the scanner showing what we all knew was there, huge, obscene, spilling warm claret into your already swollen belly. 5 minutes later and the knifeman (actually a knifewoman in this case) is by your side. We've roughly violated every vein we can find, and the fluid has stopped the incessant drip of sweat, calmed your pulse to the low hundreds; you can think again, in time to absorb the dreadful news the surgeon carries; five minutes later, you're in theatre. I know you came through this most dreadful of ordeals, and maybe, in some way we helped. I'll look for you again today.

You came last; spinning off your bike in the lengthening darkness; the resentful ground bending you so cruelly to fit its purpose. We were on scene almost immediately, but it did no good. Cool plastic pushed air into your lungs, but the slowly cooling egress from the holes we made in your chest spoke of a darker outcome. The truth was starkly illuminated by our unforgiving fluorescents. The gaping rent in your thigh, as obscenely neat as any dissection I ever did, lay perfectly dry, an un-natural state in the living. An so we allowed you to pass on, eyeing each other with grim familiarity. A slow shake of the head, the turning away... all that's left is the meeting on the ledge.

Perhaps we all drove home a little slower tonight.

1 comment:

Kate said...