During the day hospitals are very quiet. They do not come to life until about 9:00 PM when visiting hours sort of finish.
This is the signal for anyone who has an ache or a pain - or a grievance against society in general – to suddenly and contemporaneously raise hell with each other – their nurses and their doctors.
Crash carts hurtle up and down the halls – urgent calls are made to doctors and nurses – every alarm in the building goes off – blood covered zombies wander the halls – you get the picture.
The senior doctors - who have any sense at all - have left for the day so the task of ministering to the crippled and the lame and the insane falls to the hapless nurses and the small number of frazzled medical staff who are on duty.
One of their duties is to see me at least once per hour so they can take my vital signs – give me pills and change my numerous IV drips.
They have positioned the drips perfectly so that if I move my right arm more than one inch an any direction then the alarm goes off. I work out how to reset this – but I am woken up every 10 minutes throughout each night.
By 6:00 AM I am totally exhausted and then the streams of doctors start arriving – each one asking the same questions and getting me to do the same tricks. This involves wiggling my toes and fingers and following flashlights and fingers around the sky.
I am initially distrustful of Dr Ermel who arrives on his own – unaccompanied by the usual pack - but he says he is a good guy and will be my infectious diseases man forever.
He is currently examining my cultures with great interest to see on which one he can focus his attention. He is not as interesting as the surgeon who owns 15 bow ties – but appears to be very interested in my welfare.
Perhaps they are not all so young. Perhaps I am just so old.