Hospital Visitors Menagerie

August 5, 2011

One would think that a hospital, being an abode of ailment, accidents, and amelioration, would be a sombre place, and one that could not, possibly, yield much in terms of entertainment. But no! Here’s the Hospital Visitor Multiple-Ring Circus! Behold the poor victim, The Patient (TP), lying hapless on hes (that’s her/his) bed of pain, with that pain sharply elevated by the following animals (except for the last-mentioned.)

The Barking Seal: This is the elder visitor who's seen every kind of illness before, who knows the procedures, the tests, the possible diagnosis and prognosis, much better than any doctor..and who will also ask about the doctor who is in charge of treating the patient...the BS (nice initials, no?) would know all about the doctor's family and qualifications, too....and if these do not meet the BS' standards, there will be no hesitation in telling TP's immediate family that they should have taken TP to Dr Billalot, or Dr Guessalot, who is a *personal* friend of BS. The Fussy Parrot: This is generally a female (don't ask me why, it is just so.)...could be a relative or a friend or, in come memorable cases, just someone whom a visitor has brought along (oh yes, we do a lot of that.We are driving past Wekilyou Hospital with a female relative, and we look at our watches, and we say, "FP Auntie, it's just visiting time, you won't mind, will you, if I just pop in to see TP, my friend who's in this hospital right now?".... And we go in to visit TP with FP in tow.) FP has a lovely knack of repeating everything she says several times, to ensure that no one overlooks her strictures on how unfortunate this is, what is the world coming to, people are falling ill so young these days.... The Sure-Cure Bear: This is the visitor who has just seen a miraculous recovery, by some other relative of friend, from the very thing that has put TP in hospital...and doesn't flinch from propounding the details of the cure, and the procedure for it.."You have to collect three blackberries at midnight on the third day after the full moon, and you boil it with honey and let the fluid ferment for three weeks. Then you pour it in your eyes every morning and I tell you, the cure will be remarkable, my cousin was completely cured in half an hour..." The SB has no eyes or ears for any one else's suggestions (or lack of them) and booms on with the Only Possible Cure for TP . The Einstein Elephant: This is an older aunt(or godmother or grandparent or elder sister's brother-in-law) who is a font of anecdotes on every illness that has befallen the family, from the very remotest cousins, and does not scruple to share the stories while visiting TP. The Theory Tiger: This visitor has some remarkable scientific theories about the origin of any disease that TP may be suffering from, and is sure that the Vedas had an excellent treatment and cure for it. Definitely, the TT feels, there must be a genetic defect underlying tha fact the TP is suffering from this ailment. The TT can quote the latest research done on this (probably quoting Auntie Google all the while). The Somnolent Sloth: This visitor, having come to visit TP, is extremely quiet and can sometimes be seen almost nodding off. Probably better for TP than some of the other animals. The Executive Horse: He (alas, this one's usually a he) has made time in a very busy schedule to visit TP, and makes that fact quite clear. He talks about the important meetings he's set aside, the wheeling-dealing that he could be doing right now (and will be doing shortly). The good thing about the EH is that he doesn't stay very long. The Law-breaking Lion: Lions are those who are late for the official visiting hours, and must break the law in order to sneak up to visit TP. The fact that TP is probably scheduled for an enema (or worse) in a few minutes doesn't prevent them from barging in at odd times. TP has already had to bear with attendants who come to clean the room, nurses who come to take a patently normal temperature, blood samples, or signatures on various threatening-looking documents....L-bL's just add to the list of disturbances. The Weeping Walrus: These people arrive, quite lachrymose to begin with, unable to bear the thought of TP' health breaking down, and often break down themselves. They are wonderful for the morale of TP and TP's family, and it often takes others hours to cheer up afterwards. The WW shows how deep the love for TP is by the amount of tears shed, the words spoken in a low, choking voice, and protestations of how sad it is that TP has to be seen in this situation. The Joking Jackal: This one's the reverse of the Weeping Walrus. Breezes in with a series of wisecracks, treats the entire episode of ill-health with levity, and has no clue of the seriousness of the disease sometimes. In small doses, though, the JJ is actually good for TP. The Parental Penguin: Brings along small children to the hospital bed, forgetting both about the disturbance to TP, as well as the chance of cross-infection for the child. Seems to think that the sight of a small child staring unnervingly at TP will somehow do TP a lot of good. The Sideways Snake: These visitors, having come to visit TP, spend all their time in conversation with other visitors, whom they are sometimes meeting after long gaps. The social interaction of the outside world is carried on with aplomb at TP's bedside. They do remember to enquire after TP, but it seems as if this is less important than catching up with others. The Caring Camels:....Are those who truly do care for TP, often stay home because the rest of the circus will be present at TP's bedside, will fetch and carry stuff from home or canteen or medical shop as TP or TP's family needs, and continues to visit TP long after the hospital stay is over. The gem of the circus! TP's hospital room often does resemble a Zoo or a circus, with all these animals sitting or standing around, interacting with each other as much as with TP or TP's immediate family. My scenario, of course, deals only patients who are allowed visitors...and must bear them throughout the day! It's a sight to see a hospital room during visitor hours (and sometimes at other times too!) with the poor TP lost in a crowd of people who seem to be having a party, eating and drinking various things that have been brought in, and having a gala time.

Blessed are those in the ICU, for they shall not have to see the circus…alas, TP’s family, in either case, have no choice but to watch the show at least twice a day during TP’s hospital stay!