Good Morning

The period between 7.00a.m. and 8.30a.m. was always something of a false dawn at the unit; a preamble before the main story. By 8.30a.m, most of patients were up and any additional staff, such as the cleaners, housekeeper, manager, and extra nursing assistant were beginning to arrive. The administrators and medical staff around the hospital would also be starting work, and the ‘phone would be springing into life. Visitors and deliverymen, porters and engineers, managers from elsewhere and people who’d lost their way, would all descend on the unit as though something important was happening. A growing cacophony of noise would echo up and down the corridors, sending the quieter patients fleeing into far off corners, while the more theatrical moved forward to button-hole members of their expanded audience with tales of woe, multiple requests, scenes of paranoia and exhibitionist acts. Voices were raised as each side attempted to master the other, orders were barked and complaints shrieked, while nursing assistants adopted their ‘lion tamer’ postures and patients gathered together in disturbing anthropological groups…


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