Sunday, June 15, 2008

One day

said I had a close one yesterday
jah put an angel over me, be strong
hold a firm meditation
one day things must get better
don't you go down
keep your head above the water
say, one day things must get better, be strong
Close one yesterday - Buju Banton

We bonded.

Not friends not even really acquaintances but yet we bonded due to our similarly sad and tragic situation and the waiting.

Yes the waiting, the ever present waiting. Some of us had been here 1/2 hr, some more and still waiting with no explanation. A5, B3, C9 it didn't matter the same scenario played itself out
in the corridor in front of every ward in the Q.E.H almost every lunchtime and early evening but especially at lunchtime.

The official visiting hours were 12 - 1 but we knew we were lucky if we got in before 10 after most days. Quarter after was more likely and most time the delays were enacted with nary a sorry or beg ya pardon by the staff. Its just the way of things.

"I blame all of you. Its your fault!" said one Bajan Yankee man outside with the growing crowd waiting at the ward I was going to. "If you guys don't speak up this will always happen and they will continue to treat us like this." He said in an American accent before flipping into bajan
"Man, I juss cum to drop off someting and I gotta be back in St John by 12:30." Chupse! He fiddled with his watch which by now said 12:15. "You need to complain to the people in charge."

Some murmured in approval, others chupsed not at him but at the situation we were in. Others like me just continued to look at the worn tiles with random thoughts running through their heads.

Who me? Complain officially? Chupse! That gine do something doah ? Wha all that gine do is get my family victimize.

You do know victimization is a bajan tradition right? We aint invent it but we sure as hell perfect it boy. Doan let dem fool ya dat cricket is we national sport ya. Is victimization dat replace cricket long long time.

Wha I got sick family in hayso an de hoggish nurses doan treat dem suh well as is already, ya want dem ta kill my relatives now. Not me an de complaining bosie not me.

I just stood there deep in thought as the mumbles grew louder.

"Looka dat ward down deyso let in 10 minutes ago. Wha wrong wid dese wuns in hayso? Dem like dem playing de tail!" Another lady said as we sweat it out in the hospital corridor, tired from standing cause the bench in front of the ward door only sat 4 maximum and there were about 12 of us waiting.

"dey just cann do things to time and come 1 o' clock dey gine still play they wanta ring de bell too ya know."

That was true sometimes. Sometimes they made up the time lost others well it was mugs game guessing what would happen on which day.

And so we waited.

Two minutes later the door finally opened. A neatly attired nurse walked out, said good afternoon and then closed the door again.

"wait wha happenin in deyso?"

"when dis gine open?"

"I don't know I doan work in dat ward" she said and sauntered away down the corridor, nuff chupses giving her a royal send off.

One minute later the door still closed and thoughts of rebellion creeping into our minds well my mind anyway. Thoughts of knocking down the door with my motley crew of relatives and friends, overpowering the nurses , dropping some hot liks in dey tail and taking over the ward. This is fa all wunna brutes that duz act so unmannerly to de patients! Tek dat wunah wretches! Whapax! Maybe the act of sedition would spread like wildfire from ward to ward until the floor maybe the whole hospital was over run by the fed up family members and finally liberated and secured.

Then what? ummmm. Got to think this through before I make a move.

My thoughts were interrupted as one of the nurses pushed the door slightly ajar.

"Sorry for the delay today, medical emergency." Door closed again.

Well at least for once they gave us an explanation although it wasn't much of one. But then again I've come to expect this from my dealings with the hospital over the past two weeks. Doctors seem purposely vague. When asked for a diagnosis they name body parts.

"Well is the kidney" or "looks like its her heart" or "its his foot".

Yea well ok. But what exactly about the foot is it? Sorry but that's not a diagnosis in my opinion.
What about the foot wrong? Is a toenail want cutting? De foot swell, the arch collapse, ya got to cut off the foot? cause ya know if its one thing they like doing down deyso at the QEH is cutting off people foot quick quick.

Nail juk pun ya toe, foot cut off!
Foot swell up. foot cut off
toe nail want cleaning whoops foot chop off!

Suh much one foot people and no leg people bout the place it look like some sort a bajan civil war brek out like how in Africa ya see all them refugees missing body parts. But it aint no civil war is just Doctor Cutty and Nurse Choppy butchering de people appendages.

Anyway the announcement of a medical emergency send all we waiters into a deep funk. Who family was critical now? Cuhdear! I hope is not mine. Lemma say a prayer quick boy.

Door open again. "Is there family here for Victor Small?"An older lady in a nice cotton dress and a younger voluptuous woman in one of those push up bra too small, cleavage revealing tops that seem to be the in thing in Barbados who I had just been admiring looking nice in her black pants stepped forward.

"Wunnah here for Small? the nurse asked.
"Yes I am his wife and this is he graddaughta." said the older lady.

They were ushered quickly into the room.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn't me that they had called in. I feel for their plight but I also feel for me too.

Time slowly clicked by and three minutes later they came back out looking even more morose than they went in. The older lady was trying to contain her emotions but the younger one couldn't stop crying.

"He gone?" Somebody asked?

No but he like he almost gone the older lady replied while the younger woman rested against a wall as her whole body heaved while she sobbed inconsolably.

Someone in the hallway said "Sit down nuh girl."
"Look gi she a scotch. let she sit down"

Another old lady moved from the bench but the girl stood attached to the wall with a handkerchief to her face, eyes red and cheeks puffy as the tears streamed.

"Sit down nuh"
'Try a sit down before ya fall down"

Some one went over and touched her arm and said something in her ear in an attempt to console her. She cried even more but still refused to sit down. The raw emotion on display had left us silent.

Two minutes later the door reopened. Both sides this time as an orderly pushed Mr Small out on a stretcher. They were taking him to ICU and so the grieving family followed while we all looked on silent, frozen where we were, emotion itching in our throats struggling to be let free.

They took him down the hall to the elevator I presume. And then they finally let us in to the ward. No other comment about the delay.

said I had close one yesterday
jah put an angel over me, be strong
hold a firm meditation
one day things must get better
don't you go down
keep your head above the water
say, one day things must get better, be strong

This one dedicated to pops who died today. I'll be gone for a bit. Rest in Peace. One!

happy fathers day

To all the men out there doing their thing. respect due!