PATIENTS WAITING BY REMO ZUMSTEIN
The sun slowly rises and gives back colour
To the sheets of the hospital bed.
Minute by minute and inch by inch,
The sunbeams crawl up to the head… of the bed
And up to the head
Of Peter’s body, who stirs and awakens
And stretches his limbs, moaning and yawning,
And groaningly, he slouches to the loo,
As the morning keeps dawning
And being done with peeing, he blows his nose / And knows
That another one of those / Days that every patient hates / Awaits…
Back in bed, he checks his phone,
He sighs and shakes his head at all
The so-called „paintings“ on the wall,
As he’s trying hard to think
Of what he still cannot recall… at all.
An accident. An accident, they tell him,
An accident, an incident
Involving him, falling down a flight of stairs
On a very lonely night
In a very drunken state,
An accident, in any case, an accident that meant
Accidental dental damage,
Some accident that meant, to some extent,
Even accidental dental loss…
Dental loss to the extent
That dental floss isn’t meant
For guys like Peter anymore…
In the middle of this attempt to recollect
He hears faint footsteps from the corridor.
At first, the sound suggests a single person
But soon he counts / two or three or four / or even more
Until it sounds as if a group,
A flock, a herd outside his door,
A swarm, a walking avalanche, a…
Human stampede was galloping over the floor!
And the door flies open and a stream
Of people floods inside
And fills his room with figures and faces
As he fights his urge to hide…
Some might be doctors, whereas others
Have a lesser degree of… intimidation
But everyone equally gathers around him,
In this silent congregation.
„Look“, says a woman to the woman next to her
And they both lean forward, examining his ear…
Wait a minute, Peter thinks,
What the heck is she doing here?
He knows that woman well enough,
He realizes in a moment of relief.
„You’re my hairdresser, Miss Hairison!“
He says as if he’d caught a thief…
Unimpressed, she keeps staring
At his ear and then says: „…Yap. / And now stop
Moving your head, please. We’re all trying
To decide together on what is best for you.
We’re the I-P-I-C-F-H-S-E-S-U,
Which is short for interprofessional intelligence cluster for
Hospitalization situation evaluation special unit.“
„What on Earth are you talking about?
You’re playing a bloody prank on me!“
Is what Peter thinks… instead he says: „I see…“
„A variety of professions working together,
That’s how it’s done nowadays.
We’re gonna discuss what we should do
Instead of all of us going our separate ways!
This, for example,“ she says, pointing to the woman next to her
„is our dermatologist, Doctor Skinson.“
And Miss Hairison points out to her a brownish dot on Peter’s left ear,
„Look, doctor, it’s this brownish spot I spotted for the first time
When I cut his hair last week.
I’d never seen that thing before, and just a few days later, he has this accident, I mean, can that be coincidence?!“
The dermatologist looks closer and surmises it looks like a liver spot
But it could just as well be a deposit of some toxic element in his body,
A toxic element which may have caused the patient
To black out shortly before the accident and may be the cause of the accident in the first place!
Then the dermatologist turns to the hospital cook and asks him if it’s possible
To pay special attention to an extra healthy diet for Peter.
The cook, Tom Tastitongue, in turn asks the food delivery woman next to him
To tell the farmer next to her to please refrain
From using pesticides and herbicides and fungicides and sunnycides
During the process of growing broccoli and carrots for this specific patient...
All of a sudden, the voice of a bespectacled woman, psychiatrist Dr. Soulwell, from the opposite side of Peter’s bed chips in, insisting on a less one-sided problem analysis: From her perspective, she argues, this spot mustn’t be simply looked at as an effect of the patient’s diet, but also, more holistically, as a trigger and starting point for Peter’s accident, which, after all, took place under the influence of alcohol, so this spot on his ear, this aesthetic imperfection, might also be part of the source of Peter’s deeply rooted insecurity and anxiety, which leads him to drinking too much in the first place!
A small man with a moustache and a slight hunchback, Professor of Latin Grammar and Literature, clears his throat and croaks: anxiety, by the way, is etymologically related to the Latin adjective anxius, meaning full of tormenting unrest, which again is derived from angere, which means to tighten or even to choke.
„Ha, choke, well, then all of this is a bloody joke!“, interjects dermatologist Dr. Skinson, „let’s just get rid of that spot then, I mean, that’s next to nothing!“
„Don’t be silly“, cries make-up artist Jean-Jacques Visage, „there will always be a little speck here and there. If that’s really what bothers him, then all we need is the new, clinically tested Skin Balance Extra Surface Purification Beautification Amplification Hide-and-Seek Powder by Maybelline, New York!“
„New York?“ laughs someone from across the room – it’s travel agent Flyme Faraway… „New York is so passé right now! What this guy needs is a relaxing fortnight in rehab on the Bahamas! I can offer him a special deal if he travels by ocean steamer!“
„Well, steam is exactly what this guy needs to let off!“, argues boxing coach Brutus Earbite, „alcoholism is just a desperate way out / for people with anger management issues! Let him come punch a bag once a week and he won’t be the same!“
„The same, yes!“ murmurs the homeopath, „We need to treat the same with the same! If his mind is intoxicated by alcohol, we need to treat him with… alcohol!“
„He doesn’t get enough sunlight!“,
argues the forest ranger,
„Unless we cut down the trees by his house,
his sanity is in serious danger!“
A right-wing Schwizer Voukspartei politician
Presents the following explanation:
„Peter’s depreschn is tschöst ä expreschn
Of sä too much immigration!“
The catholic priest suggests: „Instead
Of alcohol as his concubine in bed
He needs by his side
The church of faith as his bride!“
The philosopher suggests: „His accident reflects
Simply the way in which we all collide!“
The karate teacher cries: „His ass needs some kicking!“
The hedgefond manager cries: „His bank account needs some tricking!“
A cute little dog cries: „His hand needs some licking!“
The librarian cries: „He needs to read!“
The hematologist cries: „He needs to bleed!“
The drug dealer cries: „He needs some weed
Or some speed…“
The butcher cries: „He needs more meat!“
The US president cries: „He needs to believe the crap that I tweet!“
The hospital manager cries: „Okay… enough!
We’ve solved the problem of shortage of staff!
I think that we / can all agree
That interprofessional collaboration
Has proved to be a complete success!
Never in the entire history
Of our hospital have we spent less
Time to send a patient home!“
And he points to the empty hospital bed.
During all the crying and shouting
Peter… has fled.
And all the members of these professions
Are about to start celebrating.
But the manager says: „Come on, keep going,
There’s still lots of patients waiting!“