I am sitting in the outpatients waiting room at Warwick hospital with my parents. My mum has an appointment and we are waiting to be called.
There are patients and staff rushing about - patients looking around aimlessly trying to work out if they are in the right place, and staff either carrying files from one place to another or with sheets of paper shouting out peoples names.
No one ever seems to answer to the names. I wonder if these people actually exist or if these fictitious people are simply called out to give the illusion of a busy well run hospital. If Wendy Scragg never answers to her name will anyone else get their turn or will her name be called out forever while the rest of us wither and die in the waiting room?
Does Christine Harris exist? Maybe she is deaf and is sitting blindly ignorant that she is being called, or perhaps she died here in the waiting two weeks ago after sitting for days on end?
At least the chairs are fairly comfortable, and the air conditioning is wafting a pleasant gentle breeze around. Empty chairs stretch into the distance along the corridor lined up to perfection, their pink coverings clashing nicely with the two tone blue and green floor.
The fire extinguishers across from where I am sitting are wrong. They are under the wrong signs. The CO2 one is under the Foam sign and vice-versa. Does it matter? Should I move them?
My parents are beginning to show their customary lack of patience. I wonder if we can change my mums name to Christine Harris before her own name is called. Where do you get the forms from to change your name by deed poll?
Finally someone has appeared whose name was called! Or was he just pretending his name is Wendy?
My dad is convinced that some of the staff spend their whole day walking around with cups. They go one way along the corridor with empty cups and then a few minutes later walk the other way with full ones.
Shock horror, my mums name has been called out, and I shouted bingo. Well it felt like we had won a competition of some sort. 25 minutes late, which I didn't think was too bad, but to my parents is indicative of the sorry state the country is now in.
I have just noticed that there are signs pointing this way and that directing you to various wards, departments and consulting rooms, but none of them point the way out. It reminds me of the Hotel California "you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave".
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