Monday, October 04, 2010

My name is Red

I was walking swiftly. I don't know why though; there was no reason to hurry. The appointment with the doctor was after an hour and that's just the minimum you know. I was also starving, but I walked past the fast-food counters and kept walking. Aah, the irony. They have fast-food centres with the greasy burgers and oily chips in a hospital, where the original cause behind most of the illnesses of its patients is obesity.

Anyway, I was walking, my pace throttled by the crowds in the corridors, when my shirt's sleeve felt wet. Yeah, it was full-sleeves but folded a bit. I looked at it there was a big wet blob. Strange, did the ceilings leak in this hospital too? But then, at that moment, even my arm felt wet. I slowed down and rolled up my sleeve to check. Most of the lower arm was red. Almost dripping. An unusual sort of red really. Almost like a bright red paint that's been diluted. Watery. Damn. What was the cotton doing? Oh, I also had to be careful while moving my hand so as to not let the liquid slip off and mar the squeaky clean floor. Back to the cotton, it had absorbed enough to become a dark red. The surrounding tape, holding it in place, was still there. I had stopped completely by now. I turned around abruptly. The busy people, hurrying behind me had to suddenly stop; they almost bumped into me. They stared at me, I guess expecting me to say something on the lines of 'sorry' or 'excuse me'. But I just stared back defiantly. Then they noticed the bloody hand. With rising levels of alarm, they parted and gave me way.

I started briskly walking back to the blood test centre at the pathology department. Obviously, the nurse didn't do the best job ever and it's only fair that I give her a chance to rectify. The streaming groups of people in the corridors, walking in all possible directions, noticed me coming towards them, noticed the red, and politely got out of my way. I went past the fast-food counters, the main reception area and onto the other side of the hospital. At this moment, I wasn't even bothering to go around the people. I was brazenly jogging and expecting them to get out of the way, which they did. Of course, I still had to go around stretchers on wheels and patients on wheel-chairs.

I turned left. Then right. Left again. The corridors were flying past me now. Thankfully, the direction signs were abundant. Otherwise, people in a hurry like me, would end up going in enough circles to faint. Finally, I reached what I remembered to be the second last corridor to reach the pathology dept. I pushed open the door blocking my way and faced an elderly patient in a wheel chair being pushed by an orderly. But I didn't even hold the door open for them. I rushed around them and turned the final right. Now, I slowed my pace to quick strides and entered the blood test centre. It was just as full as when I had left some minutes ago. But this time, I didn't take a token and wait. That would have been silly. I strode confidently past the waiting room towards the room where the booths are; where the nurses take the blood samples. I could hear murmurs from the other waiting patients. The corner of my eye even gathered a girl nudging her boyfriend/husband/brother/friend-whoever and pointing me out. The couple standing next to the entrance to the other room quickly moved aside on seeing me. As I stepped inside, the nurse standing close to the entrance, presumably the supervisor, looked over at me calmly and made her remarkable observation- "You are bleeding". I grinned. That's what I do when I am somewhat embarrassed. She then looked over her shoulder and shouted, "Angie! Can you please re-bandage this gentleman?" Without waiting for approval from Angie, she pointed me to a chair, with a nurse standing next to it. I guess her name was Angie. I went over. She asked me to keep my arm raised and then proceeded to wipe and clean my arm. She removed the soaked bloody cotton and tapes and wiped more, now around the area from where all the liquid was coming out. The place where another nurse had just poked me a few minutes ago and drawn out bucket-loads of blood. Anyway, this second time, the nurse stuck much larger cotton balls and tapes, and quite firmly too.

With all that done, I was asked to wash my other hand which had also been reddened as I was using it to hold this arm away from people on my way here. The nurses then enquired whether I had also left my bloody marks on the floor anywhere. Anyway, soon after, with my freshly bandaged arm, very clean, smelling of that familiar hospital odour, and with the stained sleeves rolled up, I walked out of there. On my way past the waiting room, I noticed a few more murmurs and 'pointings' towards me by the other waiting patients. Aah, I was the highlight of their morning!