In which Our Heroine has another bloody ketamine infusion …
For some reason, the song ‘Hotel California’ is going through my mind. I am haunting the corridors of floor 6 like a ghost clad in sparkling slippers, dragging my evil sidekick like a set of chains: my IV unit, Tallulah.*
Same floor, same staff (‘Oh hi, you’re back!’), same spaced-out brain with a high, high ceiling. A different room and a different year but it starts to feel like just one very, very long single, shadowy ketamine infusion with a few bright splashes of ‘reality’ in between.
This time I don’t have a roommate yet – oh the relief! No offence to my previous roommates, but it is much easier knowing that I am apparently ‘snoring for England’ (according to the night nurse) without also being uncomfortably aware that the person in the next bed is plotting my gruesome death.
Also, it is brilliant to feel as though I can get on with my own business without having to be polite and make conversation, especially as ketamine makes both of these things twice as difficult as they should be.
To make my latest infusion easier still, I have brought as many home comforts as possible with me, including my own pillow and bolster, a sheepskin, a personal DVD player and a large selection of movies, a coffee plunger and tea maker, my own tea and coffee, a selection of snacks and the most glorious knitted lap rug and cushion, courtesy of my Mum.
And the gaudiest, sparkliest slippers I could find, which I correctly guessed would delight the nurses, and also myself.
But in spite of all this, it still feels like no real time has passed since the last two times, and I will be forced to drift around the corridors of floor 6 dragging my clanking companion for all eternity. You can check out any time you like …
I checked in yesterday afternoon, actually, with the help of my poor parents carrying my luggage like porters. As soon as they left I sat down and had a stern conversation with my gut.
‘See here,’ I said to it. ‘Nothing bad is going to happen to you, you know. There is no need to freeze like a startled rabbit from “Watership Down”.’
‘That’s what Fiver probably said,’ replied my gut, ‘And what happened to him? Anyway, have you SEEN the hospital food?’
I had to agree with my gut on this one. In spite of being armed with fruit, dried fruit, nuts, rice thingies, special fibre-adding stuff and even my own mega-spectacular never-fail coffee, there is some dreadful force in that combination of ketamine and hospital cuisine that is too powerful and must always overcome.
For the first couple of meals in hospital, of course, you don’t get to select from a menu and so the food just turns up, and you make of it the best you can. This doesn’t particularly help matters.
Here was my cuisine de la maison for the first evening and morning.
Dinner: du bouef incinération with mashed potatoes a la artificiel and vegetables de la maison
Pretty standard fare: over-cooked beef, salty gravy, sidies. The curious thing about this was the fact that none of the side dishes had any flavour that could be detected. They had texture, and form, and temperature, but that’s about it.
When I loaded them with salt and pepper, however, they tasted of stuff with salt and pepper on, which was fine really.
Breakfast: full house ‘English’
I have experienced hospital eggs before so I knew to be ready with the salt and pepper. Once again, they are an eerie mix of texture, temperature and mass with no detectable taste. And the mushrooms were slippery and did have a soupçon of cuit en aluminium to them. In all fairness, though, the tomato was a tomato and the bacon was bacon. And the toast was possibly three days old?
And then there was this:
I just asked my bowels how they are feeling and wondered if they need a bit of assistance, but they seem to have fallen into a state of terrified paralysis, so I am going to go and see if I can revive them with another cup of So-Strong-I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Laxatives coffee.
* I was going to call her ‘Crystal’ but the Captain was all: oh, crystal meth? And I was all: oh. Maybe not.