The monotoned announcement belies the urgency of the message:
Stroke team. Hospital. First floor. Emergency room.
The announcement is repeated twice more. We’re unsure as to the reason of the specificity of the location, since the announcement is being made in the hospital. Perhaps it’s because there’s a walk-in clinic connected to the hospital, and perhaps members of the stroke team might be there instead of the main hospital location. In any event, the implications are somber.
The hospital is relatively new and the fixtures are stylish and shiny. However, all the faucets are fitted with weird diffusers that make the water shoot out in strong but thin sprays that invariably escape the bounds of the sink. In a place that’s already stressful, this little annoyance achieves a remarkable prominence.
Most of the juice bottles in the waiting area vending machine are turned around so that you can’t definitively identify their flavors. Is the red juice cranberry? Cherry? Strawberry? Raspberry-pomegranate-beet? You pays your money and you takes your chances.
Speaking of paying, I can’t. Well, I can’t convince the vending machine that its tap-to-pay feature needs to cooperate with my Visa card. (TBH, I’ve almost never been able to get any of those near-field readers to work.) Sure, I have cash, but that’s so ok-boomerish.
It took almost two hours after ordering for lunch to arrive today. The kitchen is understaffed today due to illness, and the hospital is full due to…well, you know. On the upside, the patient deems the food good when it finally arrives.
When the man in the dark suit and tie stepped into the room, we mistook him for the hospital chaplain or perhaps a local pastor making visits. He was actually the hospital president, stopping by to see how all of us were doing, and if we had any feedback for improvement. I told him that we weren’t impressed with their coffee. He said that he wasn’t either. Nice guy.
The attending physician sports an amazing bed-head hairdo. I think it’s not an affectation, but the real thing. He expressed a lack of total confidence in a diagnosis which ironically makes me more confident in his abilities. I don’t trust people who have all the answers in situations where there are clearly unknowns. He has a logical and thorough checklist of tests to eliminate or confirm causes, and when they all come back negative, the only conclusion is that sometimes stuff happens. I’m not trying to be flippant; I’m intentionally omitting details of the situation that would help you understand that.
There are forty TV channels to choose from, but no music channels. I can’t fault them, though. How would you decide what genres to feature? What kind of music is conducive to healing? New Age? Classical? Norwegian Industrial Death Metal? OK, probably not that one.
Me: Why are you sitting on your cheese sticks?
Her: I like them heated up.
Me: You know there’s a microwave oven in the hydration center, right?
Me: Okay, then.