Fire Alarm Madness

………an air raid warning siren appeared to explode in my left eardrum. Retreating quickly to kitchen, I remembered that it was the fire alarm test morning, and that for fifteen minutes the alarm would be turned on and off by serious looking, blue-coated hospital engineers with red clip boards who were apparently unconcerned that the main display board had clearly shown ‘fault’ for six or seven weeks. They were also oblivious to the fact that some patients climbed the walls while this performance was going on, and that by the time they’d finally concluded that the alarm was working, most people on the unit were probably too deaf to hear it. It was a superb accompaniment to the workers’ drills and hammers, and my mind felt as though some fiendish oriental torturers had exposed my brain tissue and were now stretching my neurones on a rack. It could not possibly be any noisier, and yet this was supposedly a haven for mentally unwell people……


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