But this does mean that I’m stuck in a waiting room for a while as I get waited to be seen, and if there’s one place more than my leaky shower, or my (now sold) car that gets my though processes running – then it’s a waiting room.
They always get me thinking – as there is a fine line between hope and desperation in these places.
The League of Friends shop screams of trying to be friendly and helpful, but at the same time, it also makes you slightly depressed.
People never come to hospitals because they are 100% healthy – no, they come here because they are sick, ill, unhappy.
“Please switch off all mobile phones” says a friendly sign. No problem with mine – the battery is dead and my Nokia lies dormant in my pocket anyway.
But there’s something about this waiting room and that LOF shop that is depressing me. It sells packs of Werthers Originals, Hob Nob biscuits, and a stand of crap greetings cards that you would be embarassed to receive – even off of your mum.
Take a break‘, ‘Hello‘, and ‘Saga Magazine‘ is the available reading material in the pile next to me. All of them are over 6 months old and tatty at the corners. Oh hang on, I’m saved! Right at the bottom of the magzine pile are a couple of Roger Hargreaves – Mr. Bump and Mr. Messy no less. Time to relive some childhood memories.
There is a sign on the wall advertising ‘Steady’ – A support group for amputees.
The blackboard outside the cafe advertises the price of drinks – Tea costs 30p. Coffee 40p, and the best one – Ovaltine for 45p. Yes, Ovaltine! The only person I knew who ever drank that was my grandmother when she was in her 70’s and it was her bedtime drink.
Harmless Housewife FM is playing in the background. Well Magic or Heart – something bland like that anyway. Ooh! Except now they’ve started playing the Human League classic – “Don’t you want me”. I start humming along and tapping my fingers.
I suddenly realise that I am the only patient I have seen in the last 20 minutes I’ve spent in the waiting room that hasn’t got white hair.
There is a library style trolly with second hand books on it. “Book Sale” says the sign done in Word with the piece of book clipart that everyone uses. “Hardbacks – �1, Paperbacks – 50p, Mills & Boon – 25p”. Entertaining romantic stories obviously not as big a hit as they used to be then.
I eventually get called in and get checked out. Nothing needs doing, and so I leave unscathed. I go to call for a taxi home, but phone battery is of course dead. I go into the League of Friends shop to get some change from a pound coin to use the pay phone.
Now I feel bad for putting the whole place down. People who work at hospitals are wonderful people, from the doctors and nurses right down to the receptionist and even the part time volunteer who works in the LOF shop. I feel slightly sheepish, and slink off home.