Little Zach was born very early on Wednesday morning. He had a somewhat troubled delivery, and spent a couple of days in the neonatal care unit. He’s fine now, but we’ll be in the hospital for a couple more days yet. I’ve been at Luton’s sprawling hospital all day, every day, and here are some of the things I have noticed.
1. City hospitals are not designed. They develop like anthills or rabbit warrens.
2. There appears to be a hospital rule that every corridor must be patrolled at all times by a man pushing a wheeled conveyance. It can be a trolley, cage or some form of medical apparatus, as long as there’s someone pushing something in every hallway, all the time.
3. Hot food shall be served between the hours of 12:30 and 12:34.
4. All midwives are angels.
5. The colours used in hospital decor are unknown to both art and science, and may actually exist on an entirely separate visual spectrum. You will search your local DIY store in vain for such exotic hues.
6. Unlike planes, the personal entertainment consoles in hospital wards have speakers instead of headphones. I make the following case for headphones: you have curtains for walls, and Mama Mia is available on demand.
7. The number of things that come in disposable form that I was aware of has risen by a factor of ten. Everything is one-use-only in hospital. I wouldn’t be surprised if they demolish entire wings and inflate new ones each week.
8. Scrubs come in XXL, XL, and L.
9. The Philippines must be missing a few nurses.
10. The NHS may be a lumbering, tax-hoovering monster, but it’s a benevolent one. If I were living in Madagascar or Kenya right now, I could well have lost my wife and son on Wednesday. If I’d been living in the US, I’d have lost the house instead. Hooray for the National Health Service.