The Other Side of the World: mental wards

Saturday, June 09, 2007

mental wards

This evening I found myself running somewhat inelegantly through the dark, eerie and fairly maze-like hallways of the psychiatry wards at the local hospital.
but let me backtrack -
Thurs morning I leapt out of bed at 7:30 am, raced to the hospital (noticing my car was on empty) and barely had time to snap on some gloves (certainly the midwife didn't) before my hands (and as later examination of vernix-smeared black shirt showed, my arms and shoulders as well) were fulll of squirming fat baby girl.
Once they were all settled in and the interminable hospital paperwork dealt with, I raced home to study for exams. Fri morning I ran around trying to finangle a passport (the only highlight of which was a nice home-sickness inducing rendition of the french/english answering service at the Canadian High Comission in Wellington). I studied (briefly) for my clinical skills exam. I raced off to the university (Jane driving) to sit the exam & pay my incredibly overdue tuition (apparently otherwise you can't sit your exams. well-timed, that). As soon as the exam was passed, the phone went off again - a nice long juicy (read: complicated) labour waiting for me. Actually, the message from the midwife read something like "are you coming to keep me company?". Raced from the university to home to get my car (still on empty) and then rushed off to the hospital (stopping to throw hummus in another classmate's fridge - see, if you give me your house keys, I will creepily leave homeade hummus in your fridge on dark rainy nights). Arrived at the hospital at 6pm. Baby sliced into the bright lights of the operating theatre at 6am. Home in bed by 8:30am. Woke up, studied, ate, ran bath. Took off one sock. The phone goes off again. I think I swore very loudly. Pulled plug on very deep, very hot bath. Wept inwardly. Raced up to the hospital yet again (car still running like a menorah). Arrived at 8pm, baby was imminent. Sent to get something from the midwife's car. Took wrong staircase. Ended up in random pitch black, well shrubbed courtyard. Found a door. Entered. Ensuing gallop through mental wards. Ended up on the street on the far side of the hospital. Ran all the way back around, grabbed item out of car. Bounded back up the stairs, cursing decreased lung capacity. Baby slid happily (and sunny side up) into my hands a short while later. The father handed me chocolate while I was carting the placenta out the door, which led to the fascinating experience of tasting chocolate, smelling blood & feeling warm, raw flesh all at once.
As my midwife says. . .who would be a midwife?!
clearly, it's the people running through the mental wards on a Saturday night.


Blogger Louisa said...

And would you have it any other way???
Methinks not. :)
'Cept perhaps that warm bath though, eh?

2:43 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

don't know how i came across your blog but i've been popping in every once in a while and enjoying it a lot. thought i'd speak up and say hi!

are you canadian, then? i'm a student midwife from ubc in vancouver. i completely relate to the joy, the exhaustion, the overwhelm of it all. yesterday morning i went home from the hospital, tucked myself into bed, purring cat curled on top of me, and just as i closed my eyes, the pager went off ... arghhh ...

9:07 PM  
Blogger kris said...

what a fabulous post! and thankfully there are still people like you running dark halls, almost getting hot baths and enjoying chocolate and new baby;)

8:11 PM  

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