I sit down in the hospital and i’m in A&E and I’m nursing a broken finger. I fell down in the Firebug pub after ordering my first pint of Guinness. I was there to see a Beatles tribute band, Bootleg Beatles. I’ve been told countless times by people that they are the best tribute act going around and when I heard they were playing the Firebug I had to go see them. So I order my drink and I walk away from the bar and I trip over my untied shoelace and my face headed towards the floor. As I tried to break my fall my middle finger bent to the side and I felt a sharp crunch and I let out a sound like a roost of bats. My pint of Guinness shattered on the floor and the black stuff spread around like sick. The whole bar turned around and looked to see where the high pitched noise and shatter of glass had come from and they couldn’t see a thing but a group of men standing around looking at the floor. I was picked up off the ground and a man in a trilby holds my arm up and looks at my hand and they noise of what could only be the sound of cats hissing echoes around the pub. “That’s a broken finger, mate” the man said and he orders me to the hospital.
Now I’m here, in A&E and I’m I looking around at the devastation that surrounds me. Kids with blood over their faces, old ladies with taped up arms and legs and teenagers holding their ankles with football boots on. It seems to me likes it’s the waiting room for a preview of the last rites. I feel like my injury is useless somehow, like it’s not worthy of any sympathy at all.
A man sits down next to me with a flat nose, blood around his mouth and a bloody bandage around his hand. I noticed him pacing up and down near the reception area when I walked in to the hospital. “What’s happened to you?” he says to me with a growl and the stench of whiskey comes pouring out of his mouth as he says it
“This I’ve broke my finger” I say nervously and he looks down at my hand just to see if I really have a broken finger.
“Your fingers look a little bruised don’t they”
“They fucking hurt too”
“I got into a fight with the missus, I got home late and she punched me right on the nose and broke my noise, then she broke a glass and she decided to chuck it straight at me and I cut all my hand up, and I don’t know how but I bit my lip too”
“It does look pretty bad mate”
“I’ll be alright when I get seen, I’ve been in here for 2 and a half hours and nothing”. A man in a white coat comes walking over to us and says to the man whos in the fight “can you come with me sir”
“It’s about fuckin’ time, I’ve been here for 2 and half hours and I’ve not had one drink and in my bloody pain” the man in the fight says. He walks off with the man in the coat and through a wooden doors and out of my sight and I sit their in the waiting room and wait for my turn to be seen.
After sitting here for nearly an hour a man is wheeled in a wheel chair. On old Indian man wearing a high vis jacket and brown trousers and he’s clutching his heart. Two young men that look like his sons wheel him up to the reception desk and start talking to the receptionist. They’re out of breath with worried looks on their faces, they keep tapping and whispering into the ear of the old man. After about 30 seconds two doctors come running through the brown doors behind me and wheel him back through them. They shoot passed me like lightning and I can hear one of the doctors say “it’s going to be ok”. The two young men follow behind, the worried look on their faces turns into shock and fear as they chase behind the old man and the doctors.
I listen in on a conversation between an old man and a younger man sitting in front of me. “That’s another Muslim put first before me” says the young boy, wearing a Nike t-shirt and seemingly nothing wrong with him other than a red hand. “Oh arr” says the old man “They put them first over all of us”
“I’ve been waiting for hours, I’ve cut my thump on a knife and I’ve been waiting for bloody 3 hours now and I’ve still not been seen but these lot get seen before me” says the young man. The old taps him on his shoulder and says “I’m waiting for my wife to come out, she only got seen about an hour ago and they wouldn’t let me in, we were waiting for over 2 hours us selves”. “Mr Rodgers” says a young voice from the back of us “your wife is waiting for you, can you come with me” the old man then gets up and shakes the young mans hand and leaves, walking past me as he adjusts his brown flat cap and with a small smile on his face.
It’s half 2 in the morning and I’ve been waiting to be seen for 3 hours now and I feel like i’m ready to give up. My mouths dry and my hand has gone numb, so numb it wouldn’t last holding a pint glass for even a second. I think about the man being wheeled by in the wheel chair, where is he now? Where’s the young man who got battered until bloody by his girlfriend and where’s the old man with the flat cap.
I go to stand up when I notice the TV in the corner has the news on. A teenage boy and his mum sit behind me, the boy has broke his arm, it sounds like he fell down the stairs while going for a drink in the middle of the night. “Cut’s to the NHS will cause problems” says the man in the TV. “It’s not the cuts it’s the system” screams a man being interviewed on the news. “Junior DOCTORS!” says a young student.
“You see Dil, you’re lucky we are here now because this place won’t have hardly any money soon and that means your arm might fall off. So you glad you came” Says the mum
“Yeah, I guess” the son says.
I give up waiting and I get up and leave. I look around the A&E section of the hospital and it’s not as crowded as it once was. There is still a women in the corner that I spotted when I first walked in, she had her foot on the chair and now it’s on the floor and she’s asleep. The room is small too, maybe it’s the lack of sleep or the walls have moved in. The nurses have changed, the clipboards with doctor have changed and the canteen at the front has now closed.
As I leave an old lady is wheeled past me in a wheel chair clutching her head which is covered in blood and she’s moaning. What looks like her daughter or granddaughter is clutching her hand. A young doctor comes running out, with dark under his eyes and greets her and says “come with me, you’ll be fine”.