end of part four…I lit-up another cigarette and looked around the apartment possibly for the last time, I turned and made a swift exit down the steep stairs to the car, where Bobbie was already warming up the engine. I put my small overnight case on the back seat and got in the passenger seat and fastened the seat belt. The journey into the unknown, was about to begin…
PROTOS PART FIVE
“The journey was filled with the predictable expletive deletives, “Fucking idiot.” – “What a pillock.” “Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” And so on. Normal chit-chat for drivers on overpopulated motorways. It always amuses me that the driver swearing at others on motorways truly believes that the drivers, to which these obscenities are directed at, can actually hear them. Bobbie was convinced that the other occupants of the road were deliberately slowing our progress. I readily agreed and was grateful to them, although I kept that to myself….”
It seemed little time had passed before we pulled into the hospital drive and parked the car after negotiating the labyrinth of Doctors and Hospital Staff Only signs. “Its bad you know” an old blues song started to play in my head over and over. “I went and told her, she asked me why?” The song went on “its’ bad you know!” I told myself to stop-it, as the song was not making things any better. Then I tried to reason with myself to calm down. Bobbie jumped from the car and ran around to the boot to remove my small black bag that I had packed earlier. “Where do we go now?” He looked confused. “To hell and hopefully back.” I said sarcastically. He looked around the car park and spotted directional posts. “Reception and Admissions, lets follow the signs,” Robbie point to the signs that were perched three metres up a lamppost. The hospital building loomed menacingly into a grey sky. It was a Victorian structure of red brick with a badly designed ‘lean-to’ front entrance topped off with see-through plastic roof material. The roof highlighted a critical view of an institutional building in decline -That old blues song resonated around my brain once again. The song kept on playing as I walked up to the reception window. I was just starting to gain some perverse comfort from the lyrics when the song faded with the icy stare of the nurse behind the desk. I tried desperately to remain dignified. Should I run?
I wanted to; ‘steady’ ‘steady.’ I said to myself over and over. I tried to think of another song but nothing happened. “Do you have your papers Mister Traylar” “That’s Taylor” I said correcting the nurse and handed her the papers Stuart had given me. “You’ll need to complete this, and this and this.” She said pointing to boxes on an A4 sheet. Despite the incorrect spelling of my name, the nurse indicated gaps in my details form the Sex clinic. Birthplace and date, mobile telephone number and email address, personal information, which I had thought unnecessary to give at the claphouse. The enforced form filling dehumanised the situation, which in some odd way I liked. Obligingly I filled in the blanks. Opposite me, in wire trays on long white shelves, I could see hundreds of brown paper folders bulging with white letter headed paper and doctors notes on each folder front.
They were probably explaining conditions of patients in the usual unreadable doctors shorthand. She handed me one of the envelopes. Written in hieroglyphics on the front was what I believed said, ‘Malignant carcinoma pre-examination’, at least I guessed it did, or something very similar in Latin. It may as well have said ‘this one is for the knackers yard,’ for all I knew. But I had boosted my ego with a self convincing translation. “Please take a seat and I’ll deal with you shortly.” The nurse spoke in the sort of tone that can only come from a person that says the same thing over and over again. So much so that it sounds if the person saying it, is quite pissed off at you.
By this time I was so tense that I was convinced everything and everybody was against me. The system had got me and there was no escape. ‘You’re here to be kept alive.’ I thought I heard someone say to me.
(note to the reader… from me inside the circle: the voice was Protos, but I didn’t know he existed, at that at that time, I put it down to psychosis through stress).
“Where do we go now?” Bobbie said impatiently. “To the ward?” He looked around for more signs. “I have to be examined first and even then I might not have to stay. Sit tight for a minute or two.” I said a wee bit annoyed, and continued staring at the magazine I had picked up. He was twitching about in his chair and obviously wanted to ‘get back on the road’. “I fucking hate hospitals.” He snarled. “Me too.” I replied coldly with the hint of a smile, which I hoped would reassure him that I had more reason to ‘hate hospitals’ than him. “The foods always crap”. He added but I ignored him, grunting my agreement along with a nod of my head. “Mister. Taylor” – My heart jumped as I heard my name called.
“Take your file with you.” She touched the brown folder with her index finger. “ Now go out through the door to the out patients department”. Outpatients? I thought, maybe they have changed their mind and don’t need to keep me in-here after all. I felt a glimmer of hope. Was it all a mistake? Perhaps I’ll just have ‘chemotherapy’ and not an operation, or maybe something like it. I would settle for that, at least I could have gone home. “See, Bobbie,” I said forcibly. “Good job you waited, I might be coming back with you”.
He looked at me with doubt in his eyes. “Could still get back to Portsdown for ‘two-ish’ if I set off soon.” He said. We walked towards the out patients department. I pushed the heavy plastic swing doors and was greeted with a familiar dusky smell of detergent. The floors were still wet from a recent mopping and the linoleum flooring laid loosely on it looked almost attractive with its high gloss finish. The dry sections however, betrayed the true colour, which was best described as depressing beige brown with a vomit green flick, matched only by the equally depressive green walls. My god, I’ve stepped into an interior designer’s chamber of horrors. I thought, still trying to distract myself from the morbid reality facing me. I handed in my brown folder to the lady on the desk. She looked at it with the look of someone who had been given an exam paper.
After pondering on it for a minute or so she walked into a side office. I started to think more on the decor. Why is it that most public institutions paint everything in browns, greens and shades of beige or cream? The paint on the wall and the flooring looked comparatively new. Why on earth didn’t they spend a little more money and contract a professional interior designer to do the job?
“What a waste of money” I grumbled my thoughts out loud to Bobbie, having first expounded in precise detail of how colour is a vital power source that could exalt or depress a soul and how perfect colour balance can achieve more for an individual’s spirit than several hours of therapy with a psychiatrist. He looked around and agreed in meaningless sound bites – like ‘That’s right.’ And
‘I know what you mean.’ He seemed more concerned about getting out of the place as much as I was. I could sense his sudden realisation that taking someone to hospital actually meant a number of hours waiting and not the quick drop off that he perhaps he had hoped for. “Lack of organisation” Robbie said. Quickly followed by “Fucking unbelievable.” Then he paused for a moment. “How much money do we pay for this?” He couldn’t control himself or his impatience any longer. and resoted to pointless statements – “Fucking health system, fucking politicians”. I interjected and reminded him that perhaps his outburst and verbal abuse of the system, in particular, wasn’t really doing me any favours or him any good. “Calm down Bobbie, I’m sure they will admit me soon if they have to” I said to him.
That’s an odd phrase I thought. ‘Admit.’ People normally use that word to mean ‘accept responsibilty, or as valid or true’ but I suppose it can also be used in every day life as ‘allow entrance’. That’s what they are doing now, they are seeing if they will allow me into the hospital. When I’m allowed in, then I am their responsibility. Also, it means that I allow them to ‘admit me’. Which must mean I give them consent to deal with me as they deem fit.
This train of thought started to bother me slightly as the nurse with my brown folder walked from the office and broke our frustrations and fears. “Come this way Mr. Taylor” I looked at Robbie “I’ll wait here.” He said timidly.
She led me into another room where yet another nurse took control of my brown folder. “Please sit here,” She said. A very tall and slim man walked past me. The nurse handed him the file and then he turned his attention to me. He looked at me over his spectacles and beckoned me to follow him into yet another room.
“Please lie on the table and remove your trousers.” He said quietly. Here we go again I thought to myself. ‘I hope he doesn’t have one of those cotton buds to stick into my dick’. I thought as I took off my pants. He approached me.
I am Mr Dragonwitz.” He said. “I will examine you first, before I can make a decision on the action that must be taken.” He spoke in a soft tone, but very clear and very direct, sounding a little like Sherlock Holmes. He called for his assistant to enter, whilst he scrubbed his long slender fingers in the washbowl situated in a corner of the room. He began his examination while the assistant noted every word he said. He clasped my knob end with his index finger and thumb, bending it one way and then the other. He spoke out loud, saying things that which could have been Hungarian for all I knew. I understood nothing but the assistant stared at my dick so intensely as he scribbled away on a notepad that I knew, whatever the big guy was saying, was something not good.
The examination took only a minute or two and then he asked me to dress and wait in the corridor just outside the room. I could hear them discussing dates and how to fit me in his schedule. He spoke almost angrily. “No, that’s not good, move Mr so and so here and put Mr so and so there.” And finally said to his assistant. “Yes that’s fine, now ask him to come into my office.” Bobbie popped his head around the corner. “You all right mate, are they keeping you in or what?” I shook my head and mouthed at him to ‘Wait’. The assistant came from the room and escorted me into Mr Dragonwitz consulting room. “Well, Mister Taylor. You have a very active and critcal malignant tumour that’s needs removing.
My advise to you is, that you agree to being admitted and that we schedule you for an operation.” He looked at me for a reaction. “Ok,” I said nonchalantly. “How about the back end of week twenty?” He looked at me in disbelief as week twenty was a month away.
“If you wish, but even if we operate now, as in tomorrow, I can only give you at best a twenty against an eighty chance of survival.” I went blank and felt the blood run from my face. “You mean, I will die” The specialist gave his clearly truthful opinion. “If the main tumour is not removed immediately, the secondaries will, or may already have, advanced to a stage of independence existence, and from that position, there will be no coming back.” He said.
All I can remeber sayin at this stage was saying was “Ok I agree, where do I sign?” He looked at me. “My secretary will advise you what to do next.” He said everything without emotion as I sat motionless – frozen perhaps by the shock of reality. “Ok, you can leave now” He said which sounded like an order. And one that I should obey. “Oh, right, err thanks, right then, I’ll leave, through this door is it?” I had become a bumbling idiot. I walked out from the office and into the corridor in a daze. Bobbie jumped up when he saw me. “So, are you staying or what?” He asked. I looked at him as cold sweat ran down my face.
“Oh yes Bobbie, I’m staying – to have the operation – tomorrow –
that is only – if I want to stand the remotest chance of staying alive.”
…to be continued