Wednesday, 24 November 2010

New Babbage: Hospitalised

After sleeping off my injury in the New Babbage free clinic, I awoke feeling sick with pain as the effects of the morphine had worn off. Mr Melnik looked in on me and decided my stitches could wait no longer. He could do it himself but he'd prefer a medical professional. My urchin friend Skyler Gant was visiting at the time, so he volunteered to head off to the hospital. Soon he returned with Mr Blackberry Harvey and a trolley stretcher. They lifted me on board and wheeled me through the streets of New Babbage towards the Vernian Sea.

Once at the port, I was loaded into a lift that took us under the sea to a underwater hospital, known as the Wilde-Huxley Center. It was a pretty grand place full of wood panels and tiling.

"Right in here," Mr Blackberry instructed Skyler, "let's put him on the surgery table".

Skyler nodded and helped to lift my stretcher. "Bloody 'ell Nat, you sure are 'eavy!"

I winced as they slid me off onto the table, but joked "That's all the mud!"

Skyler giggled "I must weight a bloomin' ton then."

Mr Harvey changes out his gloves and puts on a smock
Mr Harvey changed into surgical gear and started to thoroughly wash his hands. "Skyler, I'm going to need your assistance. Please wash your hands."

Skyler nodded and went for the sink.

"Do under your fingernails too!" I asked.

Skyler laughed "It'll take forever ta clean me nails."

Mr Harvey hurried him on, "Just a good washing is fine." While Skyler worked on his hands, Mr Harvey turned to me, "Now then, what happened exactly?" he asked.

Mr Harvey listens to my story
I began to tell the tale, somewhat distracted from the pain. "This monster thing, like a goblin or a giant baby all covered in blood, bit a chunk out the side of my leg."

Skyler shuddered "Cooor...Glad I didn' me' tha' beast."

"It bled and bled," I continued, "until the people who found me tied a tourniquet and bandaged it up."

Mr Harvey nodded, "Yes, it must have bit through an artery." He turned, "Skyler, sponge please."

As Skyler grabbed a sponge from the tray and passed it over, I turned to Harvey and added, "They gave me morphine too."

"Ah good on them," Harvey said as he began to cut through the bandages.

I winced, "I don't suppose you got some?"

Mr Harvey shook his head, "No, not until I get this treated." He paused and looked me in the eye, "I need to know where it hurts."

Mr Harvey working with the aid of Skyler Gant but without the aid of anaesthetic

I gritted my teeth, "Alright."

Harvey pulled away the old dressing while I grasped for something to hold on to.

Skyler cringed at the wound. "Jeez bloody 'ell mate! That looks awful."

"Goodness," Harvey exclaimed, "that's more like a tiger bite."

I looked away going pale.

"This will sting a lot..." He began to sponge the wound with alcohol, "be brave lad."

My knuckles were going white I was holding the table edges so hard.

"Tha' thing gotcha good Nat," Skyler said.

Trying to distract myself, I continued to tell my story. "We were trying to take a photograph and lure it into a trap, but it jumped at me really fast. We thought it was trapped!"

"I'd a 'elped ya if'n I wasn' ...drinkin'," Skyler said.

Mr Harvey turned to the urchin, "Skyer, you're officially a nurse now. Hand me the suture please."

Skyler looked around.

"It's the big needled and thread"

Skyler nodded and grabbed the suture, handing it to Blackberry.

He took it and turned back to me, "Here," he said, passing me a washcloth, "you'll want to bite down on this."

Skyler looked scared while I gratefully took the cloth and put it between my teeth. My heart was racing and I was starting to sweat. I don't mind telling you that I was bloody terrified of what would happen next!

Marvels of modern medicine
"Skyler, please be ready with another sponge"

Skyler nodded and grabbed a sponge, then paused for a moment and took out his flask of rum as well.

Harvey gripped my leg to hold it in place, he looked to me "I'm going to start on three. One... two..."

I tensed and stared very hard at the ceiling.

He inserted the needle into my leg, just above the open wound.

I grimaced trying not to squirm as the needle and thread went through my flesh.

Skyler pushed his flask towards me, while turning his head and cringing.

Mr Harvey started to tug the stitching taut.

I yelped and bit down hard on the cloth.

"Hold on lad," he said, "I'm told Babbage urchins are the toughest, isn't that right?"

"Tough as nails," Skyler nodded, "when we're drink." He pushed the flask towards me again. "Tha' stuff'll 'elp ya to no' feel pain Nat."

I turned away, remembering that the warning from the night before. The drink might make me feel good now, but my blood wouldn't clot right and I might end up bleeding out.

"Good lad, almost done," the surgeon said, tying off the suturing and sponging the bleeding again. "Gauze, please."

Skyler passed the gauze, then pocketed the flask in a hurry.  " tha' flask from some rich drunk bloke. 'Sposed ta be worth a fortune."

Explaining my post operative options
Mr Harvey wrapped the wound tightly and fastened the gauze together. Then straightened up to talk to me. "All right. Now, Nat, would you like a room in the hospital for a few days? If so, I can give you morphine. If not, only one dose."

I thought hard, I wanted the morphine badly, but I didn't want to get locked up in a hospital when my friends were in trouble.

Skyler poked me, "did you fall asleep mate?"

"Can I take a room tonight, and then see how I feel?" I asked.

"Very good then." Harvey said as he administered the morphine.

I thought some more. "How bad is it? Will it heal quick?"

"Looks awful, Nat," Skyler said. "Like some Tiger bite. Leas' it does ta me."

"Oh, it will take about a week, changing the bandage each day, but then it should heal up." Mr Harvey told me. "Unless it gets infected. You mustn't go for a swim, especially in Babbage waters."

"So I should come back every day? Even if I don't get a room?"

Harvey nodded, "Yes I'd like you to do that."

"And this place is safe from the beast?"

Skyler looked around, "It's underwa'er. Should be th'; safest place. 'Ell... If'n Mr. 'Arvey let's me, I'm gonna stay 'ere!"

Harvey chuckled, "It's fairly safe. The lifts can be locked to the bottom so nothing can get in if need be, and Tosh is on guard duty." He removed his gloves. "I'm going to help you onto your crutch. Don't put any weight on that leg though.

"Okay," I said as he helped me off the table and onto a crutch. Starting to feel the happy effects of the morphine, I took a few unsteady steps trying to avoid using my injured leg.

Trying my crutch
Mr Harvey turned and walked into the marble entrance hall. "This way," he said, leading us towards a door marked 'Patient Stay Ward'. "It should be very quiet down here. And you can shut the door for privacy."

I limped after him into a wood panelled room. "Will I get fed as well?"

"You're free to go down to Huxley Hall to lounge and have some pie when you feel up to it, and I'll check on you both regularly." He said, turning the corner. "I'll give you these two rooms."

I followed him into a curved room with fancy furniture and windows overlooking the deep sea.

My In Patient hospital room
"Wow look at that bed!" I cried, "fancy sheets."

"It's so big!" Skyler said, "Looks comfy."

Mr Harvey smiled.

"I bet they're worth a bit!" I said, running my hand over the golden embroidered design.

"Well, a bit..." he agreed.

I set down my crutch and crawled into bed, suddenly feeling weak and light headed.

"There's a bell by the bed that rings the office downstairs," he told me. "And I'll let Tosh know you're here."

Skyler went to the window, "It's go' a great view," he enthused.

Mr Harvey led him away and shut my door behind them. "You can use this one, Skyler" I heard him say.

I think I started to drift into sleep, but I still heard some snippets of conversation.

Sleeping off the adrenaline ...and the morphine
"So's they can bring up some"

"We've no nurses on staff currently, but there will be food for you."

And then I must've been asleep, dreaming of monsters, morphine and pie...

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