A conversation

‘What am I doing here?’

‘Dad, calm down.’

‘Where the hell am I?’ A struggle to be free.

‘You’re in hospital dad.’ A long silence. A fight of wills.

‘What the hell am I doing here?’ Half the bay’s attention is caught. The silence that follows, louder than his cry.

‘You’re in hospital dad. You took another dizzy turn and passed out.’ Silent concern follow mistaken condescension.

‘What? I what?’ Confusion leads to anger. His words get louder.

‘You passed out dad. You were unconscious for three hours. They brought you here.’

‘Why?… No… No… I didn’t… No.’ Coughing.

‘Dad, calm down. Stop shouting. I know dad. How are you feeling?’

‘What am I doing HERE? These nasty bastards. Why am I here?’ Silence.

‘You passed out again. They called an ambulance for you.’

‘What? No… I would remember. No… I need the toilet. Why am I here?’

‘Nurse. I know you don’t remember dad, you weren’t conscious. Dad, please, try and calm down. Oh, good, he needs to go to the toilet, would you get him a bottle?’ A shuffle. Hurried footsteps. The curtain opens. Closes. Opens.

‘I need to pee. Now. Get me out of here. These bastards, they don’t treat me right.’

‘No, he needs it now. When he has to go, he has to go now. Dad, I’ve told you, you passed out. Hush now. Here you go, use this bottle now.’ More shuffling. Incomprehensible muttering.

‘I can’t.’ More shuffling. A zip pulled down. ‘I can’t. I can’t. I can’t get it in. I need to pee.’

‘You can dad, you’ve done it before plenty. Dad, come on. Nurse.’

‘I can’t I’m going to pee the bed. I need to piss. I need to PISS!’

‘Nurse! More shuffling. A groan. The sound of liquid. A sigh. Softly. Almost unheard. ‘Why are you here dad? Why’d they have to bring you here again?’

‘I don’t know! I want to go home. Take me home. I want my wife. I want to go home.’

‘Dad, you can’t go home, you know that. The care home sent you here because you passed out and the couldn’t wake you for three hours. Last time the doctors told them not to bring you here, remember? They said you’d be better off there, you wouldn’t get upset again.’ A sniff.

‘I don’t understand. No. I said NO! I told you I didn’t want to. No. STOP! STOP!!! I don’t want that thing on my finger. What’s that?’

‘It’s to take your blood pressure. They’re going to put it on your arm. It’ll tighten up dad so don’t get a fright again, okay?’

‘Ow. OW. AAH!! FUCK. Get it off. Get it off me. NOW. I need to pee.’ A ripping noise. Beeps. Loud beeps. ‘Hurry up, I’m bursting.’ More shuffling. More liquid. ‘Do you see how these bastards treat me? Do you?’

‘Dad, calm down. They’re just doing their job. Dad, What are you doing? No, you’ve got to wait dad, you’ve got to wait until your tests get back.’ A scream. A second. A third.

‘I want to go home. What am I doing here?’

‘I know dad, I know. Just calm down, okay? It won’t take long now.’ Silence. More silence. Steady footsteps. Quite whispering. More silence. ‘How long?’

‘What? What’s going on?’ Silence.

‘Dad, you’ve got to stay here for a while longer. Please dad, sit back down. There, good. Is there anything you can do?… Can you at least make him more comfortable?… I know. I know…. Just because you know it was going to happen doesn’t make it easier… Yes, I know… Yes doctor… I’ll stay with him.’ Footsteps. Silence.

‘What the hell’s going on? What am I doing here? I need to pee. FUCK. Now.’ More footsteps.

‘Here dad, you take this now, okay? Right, there you go.’ Liquid. ‘Okay, lie down now.’

‘I want to go home. I want my wife. Please.’

‘Soon dad, soon.’

‘Why am I here? Coughing. ‘There bastards, they don’t treat me right. FUCK. I WANT TO GO HOME!’

‘Hush, calm down dad. Please. I know dad, I know. Soon, okay.’ More coughing. More footsteps.

‘No, I don’t want that thing on my finger. No, you bastards, I said no.’ Shuffling. Crash.

‘Dad! That’s enough!’

‘I want to go home.’

‘I know dad. Just stop, stop that.’

‘No. Why am I here?’

‘Dad, calm down. Hush.’

‘I want my wife.’

‘I know.’

‘I want to go home.’

‘I know.’

‘These bastards. These BASTARDS. I want to go home.’

‘Dad. Enough.’

‘No.’ A scream. A second. A third. Coughing.

‘DAD! Be quiet. Now.’

‘NO. I WANT TO GO HOME!’ A scream. A second. A third.

‘SHUT UP. JUST SHUT UP.’

Silence.

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