Imperial Footprints in Africa: The Dismal Role of…

No power in history has exercised such global reach. With brutal immediacy,…

Fascism is unlikely: idiocy is the real threat

The fight against domestic fascism is as American as apple pie. Even…

Murdoch: King Lear or Citizen Kane?

By guest columnist Tess Lawrence It may be premature to write Emeritus Chairman…

"This Is All A Giant Push By (INSERT…

"Beer?" "Thanks" "So what you been up to this week?" "I went on a march…

Dutton reminds us of Abbott, but not in…

Reading Nikki Savva’s The Road to Ruin is a depressing read, because it validates…

No means no

As the now former Royal Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales discovered…

Mission to Free Assange: Australian Parliamentarians in Washington

It was a short stint, involving a six-member delegation of Australian parliamentarians…

The Angertainer Steps Down: Rupert Murdoch’s Non-Retirement

One particularly bad habit the news is afflicted by is a tendency…


Ward 8B North, Bed 32

By Ross Sharp

“What are you doing?!” the nurse snaps at the man in the bed opposite mine.

The man is a recalcitrant patient. He will not take his medicine as he does not like the taste. There is something wrong with his bowels, his insides, and he is now shitting on the floor. He is about to get back into his bed, and the nurse says, sternly, “Stay where you are. I’m not cleaning up the bed as well”, and he stays where he is. She calls for a cleaner, and then attends, briefly, to the other patients in the room, of which I am one of four.

“All the good jobs,” I say to her.

“I’ve long ago lost my gag reflex,” she replies, removing my antibiotic drip and flushing the catheter in my vein.

Some hours later I move from my bed, walk to the toilet, open the door, close it again, and say to the same nurse, “The toilet’s clogged with what looks to be a large nappy, and there’s piss all over the floor.”

“Thanks, Ross” she replies, and then mutters something under her breath as she goes to call for a cleaner. Again.

All the good jobs.

A day later I am moved to a bed in the respiratory ward, where I should have been put upon admission, but there was no room available. No one here is shitting on the floor.

There is an elderly French man opposite, Gabriel, who flirts shamelessly, but not crassly or in an offensive manner, with all the female nurses and staff. His left side is stiff and immobile, and he walks with a cane, a result of having had five strokes some years back. His breathing is f*cked up, but slowly getting better, and he is in good spirits, walking about, chatting with all and sundry.

“What are you thinking, Ross?”, he asks me one day, catching me in a faraway moment.

“I’m thinking of veal tortellini with mushrooms and pancetta in a cream sauce with lots of parmesan cheese” I reply, “And a glass of wine.”

He chuckles at this, and says, “Soon, my friend. Soon.”

“Soon” would be another four weeks away.

A couple days later there is a new admission to the ward, a man of Slavic descent who does not speak a word of English, and who looks like one of the Super Mario Brothers, right down to the peaked cap which never leaves his head, his physique, and moustache. He is placed in the bed next to Gabriel.

That he cannot speak a word of English does not stop him from speaking, which he does. Constantly. Loudly. Day and night. In a deep, guttural tone of voice. To imaginary friends, and perhaps imaginary foes, from another time, from another place, back home, the old country, the new country, it is a stream of consciousness conversation that has no beginning and no end, and it wears thin with the other three of us in the ward after the second night of it.

We cannot sleep. Not a wink. And nor does he. He just keeps talking.

“Why are you speaking?!”, says Gabriel a number of times, exasperated, tired, pissed off, at wit’s end, as are we all. “Shut up! Shut up! No one can understand you! Shut up!”

“Oh, for FCK’S SAKE!”, I also snap, “Will you shut the FCK UP! … Jesus Christ…”

The man is sick. Obviously. Dementia? Possibly. Yet we too are sick. Patience and understanding elude us. At this point in proceedings, the milk of our human kindness has not so much curdled as turned to mouldy yoghurt.

On the third night, or perhaps it was the fourth, he leaves his bed and moves through the ward, going from bed to bed, his ‘conversation’ never flagging, not for a moment. He sits in every chair, talking and talking and talking, and two nurses come into the ward, trying to calm him, trying to get him to go back to his bed, trying to Shut. Him. Up …

“You can’t be here. You have to go back to your own bed. Do you understand?”, says one. They try taking him by the shoulders and leading him back, but he resists, twisting away from their grasp, and then scuttling over to the chair beside my bed. The two nurses follow and are clearly losing their patience, repeating their exhortations for him to get back to his bed, again and again, in ever sterner, ever harsher tones.

There he sits, rabbiting away about God only knows what, and I snap at him, “Oi! You! Chuckles! Get back in your fcking box, boy! PISS OFF! Leave us all the fck alone, for Chrissakes!”

My calling him “Chuckles” makes one of the nurses snort loudly and begin to giggle. Eventually, they get him back to his own bed. Eventually.

I crave a cigarette. To relax me. I have not had one for the whole week I’ve been here. There are cigarettes in my coat pocket, but to smoke one, I would have to drag myself downstairs, outside and across the road from the hospital entrance, and it is 1.00am in the morning and bitterly cold out. I take a drink of water, the craving passes, and at last I begin to doze, the mutterings of Our Super Mental Mario Brother in Bed No.34 still burbling away in the background.

Finally, at long last, and to the relief of us all, Chuckles wears himself out, and sleeps two whole days and two whole nights, but not before he pees on a nurse who is struggling to change his diaper at 3.00am one morning. “OH!”, she squeals in surprise, “He’s WEEING on me!”, and she flees the room for assistance. The nurse in charge comes in, and manages to finish the job, saying, in the manner of a father to a small child, “Now, now, it is not polite to have no pants in public. Come now, here we go … “ and so on.

Shit and piss, pus and vomit, and God only knows what else. Every day. Every night. A working life.

I ask a nurse, “You get much abuse in this job?”, and she replies, wearily, “Oh, yes. A lot” as if it were the most natural and normal thing in the world, just another job requirement, just another day in the life …

“Somebody spoke and I went into a dream”

… Gabriel has since been discharged, his bed now occupied by a woman, Margaret. Chuckles, now quiet and much subdued after his forty-eight hour rest, is discharged a couple days later, and his bed assigned to a very large woman with arms like baby fur seals and legs which resemble fat stacks of oversize doughnuts. That her name is also Margaret she takes as an unspoken, but perfectly obvious invitation to make a new friend, and hence, Margaret No.1 finds herself regaled at length over the next few days with the life, trials and tribulations of Margaret No.2, not a word of which I can recall, beyond something to do with cats …

… Margaret No.2 has rung her buzzer to summon a nurse. Margaret No.2 would like her bed-head adjusted. When her needs are not immediately attended to as a matter of grave urgency, she mutters grumpily “Ya wouldn’t wanna be dyin’ in this place, would ya?”

Why, it takes almost ten or fifteen whole minutes before someone can respond to her bidding …


… And during mealtime one evening, Margaret No.1 finds a black hair on a slice of bread. The bread is packaged in cellophane and is supplied to the hospital from an external source. She informs one of the attendants. And then another. And another. Pretty much anyone in a uniform within earshot is informed of this gross dereliction of care over the next several days, as is every member of her family who visit during this time, of which there seem to be about a dozen, half of whom are grandchildren. This has become a tale for the ages, it would seem, to be passed from generation to generation until it becomes the stuff of folkloric legend, or perhaps a feature film …

“This is not my beautiful life. How did I get here?”

I make an appointment with my GP to deal with a backache that will not quit and is gradually getting worse. To the point where I can barely walk ten paces without panting like a dog and needing to sit or lean on something for five or ten minutes before I can continue. The GP presses her stethoscope to my chest, to my back, and leaves the room briefly. On returning she says, “I can’t hear anything on your left side. Nothing at all. We’ve rung an ambulance and you’re going to the hospital,” to which I respond, “That’s a bit dramatic, isn’t it?”, having never been to a hospital before, not as a patient. Hospitals are for the aged, the dying, the desperately ill. I am none of those.

The ambulance arrives. Quickly. Two paramedics, a male and a female. A stretcher. They put something on my finger, and do a few other things, I know not what or why. One asks, “Can you get on the stretcher? We’ll take you down now,” and I say, “I can walk out,” and the woman says, “No you’re not. Your oxygen levels are very low.” So I get on the stretcher, and they take me down the lift and out to the ambulance. The woman rides in back with me, and places an oxygen mask on my face.

I look around the interior of the ambulance and think, “I’ve seen this in movies. This looks about right.”

My thought processes, at this point, would appear to be a little arse-up.

We arrive at the hospital, and what happens happens, little of which I can recall. X-rays are involved, for some time later I find myself facing two doctors, one male and one female, and they talk to me about what they’ve found, not found, and suspect to find.

“We can’t see anything on your left side” says one, “This white area? It should be black” or vice-versa. Known truths, symptoms, causes and consequences. The word ‘emphysema’ makes an appearance. My left lung, they tell me, is swimming in fluid, in pus, and it will have to be drained. They will then have to analyse this pus, they tell me, to find out what it is, what it comprises, but they have a strong suspicion, at this point, there is, in fact, the distinct … possibility, indications, but we will have to wait to be sure, of lung cancer.

But we will have to wait to be sure.

The woman hands me a brochure, saying, “We know this is a lot to unload on you at this time, first off, but we … and this and that, so on and so forth …” and she goes on like that for a time …

The first episode of ‘Breaking Bad’ Walter White was told he had lung cancer.

That is the first thing that comes into my mind.

“It’s only a flesh wound”

The next day I am taken down to a room cluttered with machines. Machines that go “ping.” Machines that don’t. Machines with other machines connected to them. Machines with pipes. With hoses. Machines that measure, that count. Machines with dials. Very important machines.

Where do they all come from, I wonder. Who makes all of this?

There are two doctors, and three nurses. I am to be fitted with a tube. I am to be drained.

I lean across a metal bench, my arms stretched out in front of me, as instructed. A nurse is at front, and she places her hand on my arm, a gesture of reassurance perhaps. That nothing horrible, or too horrible is about to take place. A liquid, a local anaesthetic, is applied to my left side and I flinch slightly from the chill of it. Nothing horrible happens.

“Stay very still, Ross,” someone says from behind me.

I stay very still.

Something then tears into my flesh, grinding through sinew, muscle and fat, a thick hot plastic needle pushes through gristle, cartilage, and, staying very still, I YELL out in PAIN, I yell “Shit!” and “Fck me dead!”, several times, and several times more, and the nurse pats my arm and says, “You’re doing well, Ross. It won’t be much longer,” and then there’s another thrust, and I yell out again, saying much the same as before, and someone says from behind me, “Just a little more”, and then there’s another thrust, and another yell from me, and someone says, “Okay. That’s it,” and I say, “Jesus Christ… “, and I say it again, and I say it several times more, and the nurse tells me I’ve done very well, and I take “done very well” to mean not flying off the bench-top and into the fcking ceiling.

My body now comes with an attachment, an accessory.

The tube from my side feeds into what looks like a large, hollow, transparent Lego block, and this sits on a small trolley, and it is these things that shall be my constant companions for the next three weeks, the draining of pus from my lung cavity being a somewhat slower process than I had first thought – “Yeah mate, we’ve sucked all that out, sewed you up, whacked a bandage on it and you’re right to go”.

Not quite.

“That’s Entertainment”

… Pills three or four times a day. “Observations” every three or four hours. An antibiotic drip to be replaced. Painkillers. A jab here, a jab there. X-rays. Scans. Ultrasound. Questions. A doctor looks at the amount of pus that has thus far been collected and remarks, “That’s quite a lot. I’ve only seen that much once before.” People go about their work, their routine. Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is missed. Everyone has something to do. They do it without complaint. They are pleasant and polite and friendly. Unfailingly so. With tube fitted, I am asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would rate your pain levels?”, and the first time, I reply, “I don’t know what pain on a scale of 10 would feel like. Being skinned alive while having your small intestine pulled out your left nostril with a rusty hook might manage it …,” the response to which is, “That’s a very … colourful … image, Ross”. I cannot remember anyone’s name, but they all know and remember mine, even if they’ve only seen me once or twice. Clipboards are carried, boxes are ticked, notes are taken, care is administered, and here comes someone else …

I see and experience nothing here that would make the “news.” No one is giving birth in a toilet. No one is dying in a corridor, bleeding from their eyes. There are no doctors snorting cocaine in the supplies room. No drugged to the eyeball nurses trying to set fire to the joint. There is nothing worth writing a letter of complaint about to the editor of a tabloid or a member of government demanding something be done about something disgraceful, something appalling, something we should all be ashamed of, we taxpayers.

… I’m up early each morning, maybe 5 or 5.30 am, and as soon as it hits 6.00am, I’m downstairs to the newsagent on the first floor, my tube and pus-bucket in tow, scouring the shelves for something decent to read, picking up the day’s newspapers. I’m even buying ‘The Courier-Mail’ but I draw the line at ‘The Australian.’ I may be ill, but I’m not deranged. Coffee shop opens at 6.30, closes at 6.00 pm. I’m there four times a day. “On the house, love” says the woman serving one morning, “We’ll be able to open another shop at this rate” …

One thing …

I don’t have cancer.

“The Power of Christ compels you!”

“We’re not getting all the fluid, Ross.” a doctor tells me. “There’s still a residue of pus on the bottom of your lung, and the lung itself is stuck to the cavity wall. We have to peel that off.” … Scraping bacon from a skillet … “So we’ve pencilled you in for an operation on Monday morning.”

“Right.” I say, but I am thinking, “People die during operations. I should’ve cleaned the fcking flat.” that is the first thing that comes into my mind, “I should’ve cleaned the fcking flat.”

Last time I looked, the lounge room resembled the Gaza Strip.

The day before the operation, I am told what exactly will be done, how and why, and I am asked if I understand all of this, which I do. I am then told a grim list of all the things that could possibly go wrong, from the minor horrors of infection through to the end of days, the popping of clogs, the mortal coil shuffle, the pearly-gate pimp-roll, the ceasing to be. I am asked to sign something and I do. In the unexpected event of my demise, this will absolve whoever is responsible of all blame.

Nice work if you can get it.

On the day, I am taken from my bed and wheeled through corridor after corridor, some familiar, some not, down an elevator, more corridors, another elevator, and still more corridors and I ask of the attendant, “Are we going to the morgue?”. Memories of the 1978 Michael Crichton film “Coma” come to mind, its tagline, “Imagine your life hangs by a thread. Imagine your body hangs by a wire. Imagine you’re not imagining.”

I am finally wheeled into a smallish room that is crowded with units of shelves, the shelves are laden with things, medical things, purpose unknown. The height of the shelving on one unit is out of whack with the units either side of it, and I find this irritates my sense of aesthetics, of form, of order. “They should all be the same,” I think, “Didn’t anybody notice?”

Two attendants “prep” me for the Drilling Of The Flesh, which will begin shortly. Something is stuck into my wrist. I am getting used to this. “Ouch” is my only reaction. Tubes.

From here to the operating theatre, a large room, and to my surprise, there are many people in it. I am lifted on to the operating table. Murmurs surround me. Someone speaks, about what I do not recall. Things are done. In preparation.

I look around the room again and I say, “There’s a lot of people in here. Is this a big thing?”, and if an answer were forthcoming, I did not hear it for I did not so much as drift off to unconsciousness from the anaesthetic I was given, as I did plummet.

“Please release me”

With consciousness, two things …

First thing. I have grown more tubes. One is attached to a large bag of stuff, one to a small. The tube in my side is still there, but it is now draining a watery fluid tinged red with blood.

Second thing. Wasps have set up house under my skin and have declared war on my nerve endings. Or maybe it’s just a manoeuvre.

A nurse welcomes me back to the land of the living, and tells me what the new bags are for. The large one is something, and the small one is morphine. To kill the pain (YES!), press this button (OKAY!), dosages are measured and restricted (F*CK YOU PEOPLE!), so you can press the button only so many times (HOW MANY!?!) before it clams up …

Button pressed.

Morphine? Over-rated.

A couple joints, some aspirin and a beer would’ve done the same trick. Maybe two beers.

Next day, two nurses arrive, smiling, and announce they are taking me for a “walk.” They will be managing my tubes and attachments, of which I now have more than a vacuum cleaner. They are taking me for a walk because I have, during my time here, become known for wandering off on a regular basis, upstairs and down, outside and in, a lone, lost soul in the corridors, rattling his tube and trolley like a spirit possessed, a wan and ethereal figure in blue drifting through these cold and friendless halls of the ill, the sick, the damaged and the dying.

And people with tubes stuck in their ribs.

“Can we go downstairs?”, I ask.

“Not while you’re hooked up to the morphine. You have to stay on the floor” is the reply.

My plan to escape with a small bag of drugs and begin a vast global drug empire is foiled.

On the morning of my twenty first day “inside” a doctor tells me, “The x-rays look good. Everything went well. There’ll be some tissue scarring, but that’s to be expected. Tomorrow, we’ll remove the tube, and you can go home in the afternoon.”

“The afternoon? That’s quick.”

“Once the tube is out, there’s no reason for you to stay” he says.

“Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither:
Ripeness is all.”

One week later, I am back at “work.” The office. The corporate concern. I am sifting through roughly two hundred emails which have arrived during my absence, over three quarters of which have nothing to do with me. There are small piles of paperwork scattered across my desk. These piles represent my ‘work.’ It’s bullshit. All of it. It pays the rent.

Next day, a communication arrives flagged with a red exclamation mark, denoting an “urgency” of some kind. “Ross” it reads, “I know you’ve only just got back, but would you be able to break down these figures for a blah-blah meeting at blah-blah o’clock that blah and blah and blah and blah … Even the roughest estimate will do. Thanks!”

The “roughest estimate”. In other words, a guess.

An “urgent” guess.

Who dies if you don’t get these stats in time? I wonder. I make something up. I send it off. It will be wrong. I don’t care.

You can swivel on your melodramatically “urgent” red exclamation marks.

I am asked questions by email from people who sit two desks away. “Communication” and “teamwork” are theoretical concepts to be found only in “training seminars” or staff meetings, but never to be utilised in practice. Camaraderie is a cold “How are you?” and a “Much better, thanks” and a hasty exit before a conversation can take place. The office is enveloped in a gloom of silence, broken only by a few occasional overheard mutterings in the distance.

Nothing seems real. Nothing here matters. Nothing that is done will live beyond the doing of it, and the doing of it will achieve nothing for nobody nowhere. Not. A. Single. F*cking. Thing.

I have spent almost four weeks watching real people do real things. I have seen teamwork. I have experienced care, compassion, patience. I have been nurtured. I have been cured.

This place I have returned to. Psychopaths dwell here. Their only motive, to shimmy up the greasy pole to promotion, to money, to a title. It is about nothing. Just more of it. More of nothing. Not so much as a get-well card. I hate this job. I hate these people. There is no “culture” here, just wallpaper, process and procedure. It’s all bullshit and gas.

I will retire in four years. I will be 60. I have had enough of this crap. Four weeks in a bed has focused my mind, and I am resolved. There has to be a reason for the work we do, that I do, and I can no longer see any reason for it. This? There is more than this. There has to be more than this.

Perhaps I shall volunteer for something. Something to believe in. Something to help. Something of tangible purpose, something real.

If I never saw the inside of an office again in my life, I would die a very, very happy man.


I leave the office …

“Do you need a menu?”

“No, thanks. I’ll have the veal tortellini. And a glass of the Riesling.”

“Anywhere you like, sir.”

I watch people walk along the footpath outside the café. I lean back in my chair. No pain. Breathe. In. Out. Relax. I should do this more often. Be a little kinder to myself.

Food arrives. It’s good. Lots of parmesan.

I am going to stay here a while longer.

I order another glass of wine.

I am going to have a long lunch.

Anyone who has a problem with that when I eventually get back, I’ll shove a tube between their f*cking ribs.

Ross Sharp regularly sets the world to rights on his own blog site; smellytongues.


Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button


Login here Register here
  1. Keitha Granville

    Loved your piece. Good to hear it wasn’t anything sinister.
    Really glad to hear that you are going to take time for life. And volunteering. I can highly recommend that. Real people doing stuff that really matters.
    Best of luck.

  2. Marion Jones

    All too true having just come home from hospital with two new knees……lot of pain but the staff, a wonderful league of nations went above and beyond. And yes it is possible to have fun with both nurses and other patients while waiting for the next round of medication.

  3. Graham Houghton

    Yup. Tubes and veins scoured by industrial strength antibiotics. I ended up in Taunton hospital at 45 with septicaemia. I asked my GP if I really had to go into hospital; couldn’t she just give me some pills and I could sit it out at home in the bosom of my family? She thought carefully for a moment and then sat on the end of the marital bed and said, ‘I’ll put it this way, if you don’t you’ve got, I would say, about… yes, about a 30% chance of getting through the next twenty-four hours. It’s a bit better than that if you do.’ The wife said I’d go into hospital. Yup, certainly opens the eyes and gives a person a real perspective on what’s important.

  4. bjkelly1958

    Brilliantly insightful. Thoroughly good. You have captured perfectly the difference between what you get paid for and meaningful work. The extreme humanity coupled with a surrealistic detachment of being a hospital patient for an extended period, is presented beautifully.

  5. Roswell

    I concur. Brilliant.

  6. DanDark

    Yep such a good story Ross, I worked as a cleaner in a hospital and I also lived in a hospital for 9 weeks so I didn’t bleed to death with my 5th pregnancy 20 years ago, Monash Medical center at Clayton without their care and dedication we would be dead no shadow of a doubt….. A lot of hospitals have security guards now because the abuse is so bad to staff, I cleaned casualty for a long time over 25 years ago now and the abuse towards staff was around then, its just got a whole lot worse now…..

  7. deanyz1

    Bloody hell… I have just recovered from (almost) the same thing. Pleural effusion after major heart surgery. Fluid accumulating around the left lung. Back into hospital for a pleural tap as Ross described. No warning, just a big needle plunged into my back. I emerged with a tube in my back and over the next 24 hours, 1.9 litres of piss-coloured fluid, some blood and some skin bits. A month later the fluid had come back, so back for another go. The Doctor told me they would like to do a different procedure, under full anaesthetic. Pleurodesis.
    This time, I emerged with two tubes out from my back and one from the old Thomas. They insert a fibre optic camera to have a look around, scour the inside of the chest wall so that the lung adheres (scars) to the chest and prevents fluid returning.
    I also had a room mate probably from Bulgaria who had an accent so thick, you could float a boat on it. He too, loved to chat, although I had no idea what he was saying. I had some good, caring nurses and there were some just there for the pay. Even my X-ray was the same as the one in this well-written piece. Bloody hell…

  8. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Time we got our priorities right.

  9. diannaart

    Jesus Christ, Ross

    Am now experiencing major episodes of PTSD

    Shit and piss, pus and vomit, and God only knows what else. Every day. Every night. A working life………………….There are small piles of paperwork scattered across my desk. These piles represent my ‘work.’ It’s bullshit. All of it. It pays the rent…………Who dies if you don’t get these stats in time? I wonder. I make something up. I send it off. It will be wrong. I don’t care………..Nothing seems real. Nothing here matters. Nothing that is done will live beyond the doing of it, and the doing of it will achieve nothing for nobody nowhere. Not. A. Single. F*cking. Thing…………………..I have spent almost four weeks watching real people do real things. I have seen teamwork. I have experienced care, compassion, patience….

    1. I can no longer enter an office without becoming anxious.

    2. Nurses earn how much? …. while my boss earns HOW MUCH?

    3. First world problems are where our values are totally screwed.

  10. Roger

    Wonderfull story (if that is the word) so Glad you are well now

  11. king1394

    Glad all is well with you. Hospitals are mad place, and as a patient you can find yourself sharing a room with the strangest characters, and the most amazing people. I’ve made some excellent friends in hospital. You can’t go past the public system for entertainment. I’d hate to be stuck in a private room.

  12. Annie B

    OMG Ross … what a painful, yet absolutely incredible account to read – but I am ( as we all are ) so very very happy that everything turned out well for you … in every way. …. Had this been a full on book, it would have been a page turner, not to be put down. So very well written, such carriage to the next and the next … and onwards in your very personal story.

    Fantastic piece of writing – and thank you.

    This rang 1000 bells for me ( and to Diannaart ) I empathise with your revisit, or major episode of and with PTSD. …. It has done much the same for me. ….. Seems we have all been in medical wars, in similar ( with many variations ) ways.

    DanDark … you mentioned Monash Medical Centre. I spent over a month there, some years back, under superb care by the nurses and interns, but not so much by the specialists who argued back and forth about my ( then ) condition – which was troublesome to say the least. I was appalled at their ego’s, at their inability to feel for the patient ( me ) by standing at the end of my bed and aggressively blathering on about who was right and who was wrong ……. FFS ??? …..

    Never-the-less, they are human …. and setting aside for a moment, their ego’s, their obvious need for recognition to be correct at all costs ( ?? ) …. and their quest for more kudos ( you guessed it – I don’t trust specialists too much ) …. ultimately, things were done correctly for me. … Thank God … However, my own relentless communication with those specialists contributed to it. … I unashamedly thank me for that.

    Never be afraid of a super duper specialist ( or GP for that matter ) …. ask, and ask, and question – and NEVER waver. …. I like to see it as taking care of oneself. … We are, after all, responsible for our own bodies, and what happens to them – and add to that, the expert care. ….. Always be aware.

    I remember so well .. ( from your article Ross ), “because I have, during my time here, become known for wandering off on a regular basis, upstairs and down, outside and in, a lone, lost soul in the corridors,”. …. Night staff at Monash learned to just let me be – to wander if I wished – 2, 3, 4 a.m. … no matter, attached ( initially ) to my mobile drip. … As long as I communicated what I was up to, it was ok by a very understanding night staff. … There was just one other person who did the wandering bit in the wee hours. …. We got to know one another well.

    Could go on for pages, but won’t.

    Thank you a million times over for putting so much of importance, into perspective, and for sharing your story.

  13. DanDark

    Annie ohhh the memories it was 20 years ago now, yes the professors and specialists did have some big egos,
    but I will never forget the 2 night nurses on my ward who saved my life, they stood up to the specialist gyno when I was bleeding to death literally and said “No you are not going to sit on her this time” it was a term for waiting and watching the blood loss, it was my 8th bleed due to placenta previa at its worst a bloody Grade four and it was looking to be the final one if they didn’t do that ceaser and now,
    if those 2 nurse didn’t stand up to him, my son and I would of bled to death easily, like the professor told me when I asked to go home for a few hours to see my other children that were miles away where we lived in the country, he said something like “you got 9 litres of blood and you will lose that in 7 minutes you need to stay in this hospital or you will die if we let you out even for a few hours”, I cant remember exactly now LOL
    I don’t remember a lot after I lost consciousness due to the loss of blood and so fast, but I knew they saved my life, I heard enough before it all went blank, so I went and brought them gifts from the little gift shop downstairs before we left and it said “Thankyou for saving my sons and my life” they cried but I think they were tears of joy, because we all had been through hell for 9 weeks….

  14. Lindsay Stafford

    Ah yes, hospitals
    My wife passed away 2 years ago after a 5 year battle with cancer. I can think of no instance deserving of a negative comment but all the accolades imaginable would be insufficient

  15. diannaart

    Well said all.

    Seems the higher up the pyramid a person is placed the more removed from empathy they become.

    To all the people working at the coal face – there will never be sufficient accolades.

    To any people who claim “pay peanuts get monkeys” – take a long hard look at the people (ambos, nurses, firefighters, any emergency workers and many more) who, without their courage, our ‘civilisation’ would grind to a halt.

    Everyone, even internet trolls, have a story to tell – would be interesting to reveal such stories. Ironic, now I have the time I do not have the energy.

    “Such is life”.

    Ned Kelly (White male at the bottom of the pyramid)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page
%d bloggers like this: