- Created on Friday, 01 March 2013 12:50
Late Sunday afternoon the wife took a dive in the bathroom and crashed her wrist against the top of the bath. I was called to her rescue. She could still move her fingers and turn her wrist painfully. I concluded it was no major catastrophe and all that was required was to plunge it into some ice.
Ice plus Ibuprofen did indeed prove to be a calming cocktail, bringing the pain quickly under control.
The following morning the dear lady was amazed to see how swollen and colorful the wrist had become and just how painful it was to move it. So off we went to the local Urgencia.
We entered the main waiting room just before 9 am. Registration was quick and we were soon sat down waiting our turn. There were another six candidates already seated. A young coughing teenager caught my eye. She looked dreadful, white and very ill. The room rattled intermittently, every time a speaker called out the name of the next person to proceed for examination. In no time at all, my dear lady’s name was heard and she took off through the Urgencia labeled door into the inner section.
I stayed where I was and opened my new novel. After two pages I was totally disinterested. I stared around absorbing the various shapes and sizes of those around me. They were indeed a very mixed lot, old and young, thick and thin. Indeed every possible combination of the four.
One young lad arrived, carried in by his dad. Obviously he had badly twisted his knee or something. He wasn’t in too much pain for he smiled my way and started pulling faces. I smiled back and started to play his game, after all, my ugly mug gives me a head start. He soon tired and became distracted by the chocolate bar that his dad provided.
The wife returned and told me that she was underway to the X-ray department and did I want to join her. Being a bit of an explorer I followed down the corridor to the prescribed department.
“Urgencia” suddenly applied. Bodies, again of all shapes and sizes moved to and fro. Well- dressed immaculate uniforms passed by, along with the rag tag and bobtail of the untidy. There were some shufflers, some sprightly, and a lot above their Body Mass Index. I enjoyed my new seat, absorbing the vibrancy of the place. My face-pulling friend went by in a wheel chair. Surprisingly he looked as if he too, was enjoying his visit to the Hospital.
After being hit by the necessary amount of hard X-rays, of the required wavelength, the “wrist” returned. We moved back to the doctoring section the inner sanctum of the Urgencia, to await the judge’s verdict on the wife’s black and white masterpiece.
I soon found myself on the chair, nearest the entrance of the Triage section. All new arrivals began to dodge by my size elevens. I looked around but there were no alternative seats.
The human activity was truly hectic. I tried to sit closer to the wall, to give some space to the arriving red coated, black booted Bombeiros and their trolleys and their wheel chairs loaded with humanity. The Enfermeiro greeted each one with a handshake quickly taking their papers and registering the incoming patients.
All the Bombeiros’ deliveries were in real need of care. Oxygen cylinders and medical drips were common attachments. I heard one thankful old man say a breathless, “Obrigado Peter” as he left his red coat to be wheeled on into the main body of the hospital.
The nurses and the Triage doctor, a Marty Feldman lookalike, scurried around organizing their customers as best they could. No sooner had they cleared 2 or 3 trolleys, others arrived. I wondered if every day was like this Monday morning or was this just a weekend spillover.
More shiny red coated black boots arrived. These soldiers of mercy wore name tags “Paul,” “Sergio,” and “Pedro.” There were more handshakes. People continue to hurry back and forth. The triage collection spilled over to Inaloterapia area. Was this an example of organized chaos? I asked myself.
The coughing teenager appeared wearing a white face mask. It was good match with her skin colour. At least she wasn’t coughing anymore and spreading germs. Marty Feldman continued to move randomly around the trolleys area.
The wife was then called back for the final doctor review. She was out in under 3 minutes.
‘No break’ she mouthed to me as she was ushered into another curtained section to get her wrist bandaged. Thank heaven for that.
We were back out on the streets at five minutes past eleven, walking back to the car.
As we passed the local church I quietly said my thanks, “Obrigado Peter, Obrigado Paul.”