Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Münster, Travel + Life Abroad

Why are you so white?

Part 1 of recent hospital adventures …

On a crisp Tuesday afternoon, I admitted myself to the emergency ward of the hospital down the road. My personal Wikipedia diagnosis suggested the options that were gifting me with tremendous side pain were not particularly nice ones, and, with my mother’s voice ringing in my head – ’don’t muck around when it’s your health, Livvy’ – I threw myself at the bewildered looking man propped up behind the reception desk. I was rewarded, if only because of my pallid complexion and leaking eyes, with a speedy appointment which ultimately stretched across several tests in several departments and me getting lost several times, being, as I was, quite unable to recall the German name for the emergency department.

Diagnosed with a kidney infection, I was let go a few hours later, by a brusque, no nonsense doctor – of the type who inexplicably does away with all cosmetics (understandable) except shimmery eye-shadow (not understandable) – with painkillers and antibiotics. The abnormality in my kidney picked up by the sonographie was brushed aside by No Nonsense and she pencilled me in for 8.30am on Friday for my follow up. Fine. I had a week off work anyway, to lounge around in bed like a giant slug. No skin off my nose. Sure, 8.30am was a touch early for a Friday morning appointment, but I wasn’t going t argue for fear she’d laser me with her shimmery eyes. So I meekly took my medication and slipped out, hoping the woman on the front desk who looks after parking, would not recognise me from my earlier, ‘I need to see a doctor’ plea. Lounging in bed, slug like, over the next few days, I formulated a lovely Friday plan that would see me present my healthy self to the hospital on Friday, after which my friend and her dot of a 2 year old daughter would pick me up and we would repair to my place for coffee. A simple plan, of the type I historically enjoy spicing up with a bit of unexpected excitement.

And so I returned. In style. At 8.30 on Friday morning, I was sitting, hand outstretched, ready to part with more blood (an act I truly despise and may or may not be partially phobic of). Duly parted with, I fainted. Or, more accurately, lurched out of the room and into the nurse’s station, politely asked for water, and slithered down the doorframe. I recall, as I slithered, the nurse’s plaintive cry, oddly in English, ‘why are you so white?’

The resulting stretcher and indeed stretchering around of my prone form, boots poking out the end, to various tests in various departments was just a touch embarrassing. I closed my eyes through most of it, to avoid the pitying gazes of passers by. I didn’t want them to see through to my fraudulent soul. Clearly there were others more in need of the stretcher. Back waiting for the doctor, I passed the time by deciphering my blood and sonographie reports (Germans use their own medical names, as well as the Latin). I was vaguely – although only vaguely, to be honest – concerned to learn my gall bladder is of normal size with no discernable problems, largely because my gall bladder was removed eight years ago.

Nine hours later, many of which were spent in the comforting company of my dear friend and her daughter, I was admitted. This was unexpected. I looked at the doctor, who may or may not have been twelve (an ongoing theme at the hospital, it would unfold … or maybe I’m just getting old) and said ’here. Tonight. Here.’ It was, to be frank, rather annoying. I was certain I had, with the assistance of a delicious hot chocolate, reproduced the blood taken earlier that day and was quite ready for some Criminal Minds streaming in bed with the remainder of my antibiotics course and a cup of tea. Obviously I could not explain this to Youth Face, who seemed intent on committing me to a ward, for reasons that weren’t exactly clear, so I duly called my wonderful flatmate and asked her to bring over a bag of necessities. This turned out to be my laptop, QANTAS pyjama pants and corn chips. It would appear she knows me too well.


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