Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Lonely Nights in the Hospital
At night all was still. Lights were dimmed, doors closed, outside sounds nullified, stillness, disturbed rarely by footsteps, a nurse heading for her break, the lift doors swishing then moving between floors. Silence. Patients slept quietly for the most part, infrequent attention from the nurse dozing nearby for a few. Seriously ill patients required more careful diligence. Silence and stillness for the most part. On such nights I often pondered on those unknowns who had worked there in the century past. Not so much the medical staff, neurosurgeons and doctors were renowned in their time, I pondered those we never know, porters, domestics, office staff, a variety of functionaries who often spent considerable years in these walls. These may have been efficient, popular, an important member of the staff yet now they are forgotten. There are pictures, some in the history of the hospital written in 1958, others hidden in archives. These show stiff nurses in stiff uniforms posing with stiffer patients, ancient, almost frightening equipment that once operated on the brain saving many lives, and the bewhiskered men charged with understanding the nervous systems failings. These looked more dangerous! Ancient dark furniture in sitting rooms, coal fires, dark cots containing curious children, plaques above each bed naming the person or organisation who paid for them. Aged furniture maybe but the layout and appearance very similar to the days of the late 70's and early 80's. Maybe it's my twisted mind but I often wondered about those who passed through before, especially the people who served for years in that place. The stories old buildings could tell.