Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Flaming Flamingoes (Part 3)


If you are squeamish or easily scared, I would advise you skip part 3 of this story and wait for part 4 to be published. 

Don't go past this point! okay?

All right, where was I?
Ah yes, my left arm swollen like a melon, that is, if you look from one angle and a pumpkin if you check it from a different angle, me crying like an son of a @%&/gun surrounded by first aiders and curious spectators. The whole of my left arm was supported by two others and myself, as we gingerly made for the rickety taxi magically summoned from somewhere. I was still sobbing as we headed toward the nearest hospital which was in a town about twenty five miles away. The country air that blew across my face as the taxi raced down the rural road,  had a bit of a calming effect, if I didn't look at my left arm or think about my situation, it kind of made the trip to the hospital more bearable until we rolled toward the gates of the general hospital, that is when the pain really got me and I almost fainted.

Then the taxi drove through these massive hospital gates and hit a pothole. Being a rickety ramshackle, this vehicle had little or no shock absorbers and so the shock of this bump in the road seemed to have been absorbed by my injury and concentrated itself into pain and agony, as it shot up my broken arm and into my brain. I must have fainted because the next thing I remember was sitting morosely in a hospital ward. My left arm bandaged, padded up and in a sling around my shoulders. I remained in this state, kind of feeling sorry for myself for a long while until after supper when my friends came calling. I felt a little better with my pals around, then it was time for them to leave, so I took a walk with them towards the gate. I must admit I was kind of tempted to keep walking and leave with my friends but one of them suggested I at least wait and have an xray done before I consider taking off.

As we were walking within the grounds, I started to take stock of my surroundings, there was a big administrative building next to my ward, adjacent to this building was a bungalow that housed a pharmacy. A lot of people were milling around this pharmacy waiting for their medication. In front of the big admin building was a gravel drive, cut through well mown lawns that had circular flowerbeds at even intervals. There were all kinds of people around, some out patients coming and going, hospital workers of every description and also those who are involved in some kind of enterprise and found the grounds of this hospital the ideal place to ply their trade. From the mandatory cigarette and sweet seller comfortably sitting in the shade under a massive tree to the occasional hawker carrying their goods in a tray on top of their heads. Food sellers had also staked their claim to certain parts of the hospital grounds.

On the other side of the big green lawn, was a building and whenever the wind changed direction, a kind of ripe aroma wafted from the direction of this building. I vaguely remembered this smell when my taxi first rolled into the hospital grounds but because of the massive pain, it didn't really register with me then. The smell of antiseptics and medication within the main hospital buildings also covers up other smells and aroma. "What's that smell? someone asked, I had a good idea but I wasn't saying. So Kola, another friend who happens to come from this very town decides to tell us anyway, "that's the mortuary, that's where they keep the dead bodies". Now Kola starts up about the stories he'd heard from family friends who live near this hospital. Stories of zombies roaming the hospital grounds at night. Weird tales of chicanery by mortuary attendants and mysterious deaths of perfectly healthy people like me who never left this hospital alive after being admitted for minor ailments. Looking at the faces of my other friends, I could see that some of them were buying Kola's crap and of course he was enjoying feeding it to them in shovel loads. I told him to cut it out, he teased me a little more and by the time he admitted he was only joking nobody else thought it funny.

My first night in a hospital ward, I hardly slept a wink. My arm where the bone was fractured constantly throbbed with pain, especially when I changed position, the pain would bring me out of my sleep. There was also an accident victim at the end of the ward who screamed in pain the whole of the night. This man according to the story I heard, was sleeping on a plank laid across the back of a heavy goods vehicle, the vehicle hits a bump on a highway in the middle of nowhere and the sleeping guy is thrown from the back of the vehicle and somehow end up beneath the tyres of this trailer. The thigh bones in both his legs ended up being crushed to powder. The poor guy was admitted and brought to the ward screaming in pain. By dawn the man was dead but I still remember the screams and agonising pain he must have endured throughout that night.

The man in the next bed to me slept the whole time I was there, while the accident victim was screaming in pain, my neighbour slept. I couldn't sleep but this guy in the next bed just kept sleeping. I concluded the nurses must have given him some sleep medication. His family were around him the whole time some put mats next to his bed and slept  there on the floor, but this guy could sleep and I couldn't.

The next morning, the man with the crushed thigh bones was pronounced dead by the doctor and arrangements were made to move the guy to the mortuary. The doctor on duty made his way from bed to bed, talking to patients then the nurses as he came closer and closer to where I was lying. The nurses had opened The big picture widows in the ward and more relatives of the guy in the neighbouring bed (who was still sleeping by the way) were standing in the corridor on the other side of the window at the top of his bed looking into our ward. The doctors stops in front of my neighbours bed, pull the patients sheet back to examine the guy with his stethoscope then take the stethoscope out of his ear and tells the ward staff in a loud voice "This guy is dead! He's been dead for hours" the doctor didn't realise the man's family were around. Of course pandemonium breaks out with the grieving family all torn up and they were of course totally inconsolable. I decided to take a walk and get away from the grief all around my vicinity as I gingerly followed two fellow patients from my ward toward the hospital garden.

My two fellow patients turned out to be army officers injured in a road traffic accident on their way to the war front (There was a vicious civil war raging in the country). I didn't know wether to congratulate or commiserate with them but I asked them for a cigarette anyway. I had never smoked a cigarette before this moment but I felt like a smoke because I noticed that the cigarette smoke somehow covered up the smell wafting over from the mortuary, reluctantly the army captain gives me his half smoked cigarette and they both start to ask me how I came to be injured. They were both nice guys, a lieutenant and captain in their early twenties who looked like they were slightly relieved to be away from battle and the war front about three hundred miles away from us.

(To be continued)


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