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Visiting Time

by BryanW 

Posted: 19 July 2014
Word Count: 797
Summary: For Loopili's Week 517 Challenge

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The light on the ceiling at last was moving in and out of focus. Dave closed his eyes and thought sleep, I need to get some …

“Are you alright, Dave?”

It was the nurse. 

“Sleep. I just want to …’

‘It’s visiting time, Dave.’

‘Really, Dave. That car park. Two pounds fifty flipping p for half an hour. That's how the NHS make their money.'

It was Deirdre, his wife.

"What a day! What a day! What with you being taken in here. You've really set me back you know. I had so much planned. Well. I've sorted out your pyjamas - but your only good ones I had to wash.”

‘Hello, dear. I just want to go to …’

‘... and to iron them, of course. I mean, what would they be thinking of me in here if they weren't all proper, like. Then I still had all the shopping to do. And the housework. And you weren’t there to help. There’s those shelves you were going to put up. Then Janet phoned. Well, I don’t know how I’m expected to look after that garden, what with you in here, I told her. And she's been having such trouble with that husband of hers, what'sisname."


'That's right. Well, the things she was telling me. That man only thinks about himself. I mean, she told me ...'

Dave tried to make her voice disappear. He tried to remember what had happened to him instead - that massive thump and then the spasm of excruciating pain that had paralysed his whole side and took so much of his breath away that he couldn't even shout out. It seemed so long ago, but it was, he knew, only a matter of a few hours. Her voice carried on. Like fingernails scraping down a blackboard that stretched away for miles.

At last, ’ Oh, my half hour’s up. Better be off before they clamp me. See you tomorrow. I’ll be able to stay much longer. though I don’t know how I’m going to manage.’

Then she was gone. At last, sleep. I can get some sleep. ‘Nurse. Nurse,’ Dave tried weakly to call out. ‘Can you stop all visit…’

‘Dave, Dave? How are you doing, fella? Ill, God, you do look ill!  Hee hee.’

‘What? Bill? It’s you. I was just trying to …’ replied Dave, recognising the booming voice of his neighbour.

‘Yes, I know. I know. You want thank me for coming. Thank me for calling the ambulance when you collapsed in the garden. No need. Now don’t start getting all sentimental on me.’

Dave tried again, ’I just want to …’ 

‘I was only saying to Marg the other day “That neighbour of ours, Dave, he’s overdoing it. Working all hours. All that D-I-Y and all that gardening.” He carried on, but Dave tried not to listen. Tell you what, I’ll get Marg and the kids to come in tomorrow. Oh, you’ve gone to sleep. We’ll all be back for longer tomorrow, to cheer you up.’

Dave was far from asleep. 

At last, Dave thought.

‘Hey Dave, you lucky bugger, some tasty nurses here, eh.’ It was Graham’s nasely voice - Graham, his boss from work. ‘Don’t know what I’ll do without you, but while you’re here, just look over some of these accounts for me, would you.’ It wasn't a question. He placed a stack of files on Dave’s side table. ‘I’ll collect them tomorrow.’

Dave opened his eyes. Where was Graham? He lifted his head. The nurse and Graham were at the bottom of the bed.

Graham was reading the notes attached to the bed-frame. ’… suffered a massive ahemahem of the ahemahemahem.’ Dave couldn't make out the words. 

'Oh!' the nurse giggled.’You naughty man. You’re not supposed to be reading those.’

They both tugged at the clipboard and the nurse finally pulled it away. Graham lifted his right foot up onto Dave's bed frame next to her.

‘Nurse, I must say you are so … forceful. And what a well-run ward you have here. Everyone so well ... tucked in.’  Graham added, more loudly. ‘I’ll be back tomorrow, Dave. Only I’ll be staying longer.’ Then more quietly, ‘Much longer.’  The nurse give an excited squeal.

Graham was gone. 

‘Right, ladies and gentleman. Visiting hour's now over,’ the nurse announced. 

Dave thought ‘At last. At last.’ He shut his eyes.

Then the nurse’s voice again. ‘Oh ... and you’ll all be pleased to know that as part of the hospital’s revised Patients’ Charter from tomorrow there will be no specified visiting hour. There’s to be an open all-day visiting policy.’

The gently beeping pulse on Dave’s monitor suddenly changed to a sharp, continuous screech and its elegantly waving line fell completely flat.


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Comments by other Members

loopilil at 22:00 on 19 July 2014  Report this post
I enjoyed reading this very much, it was amusing & everyone can relate to it. The reader can picture each of the characters particularly Deirdre, Daves wife.  I liked how you managed to incorporate the reason he was in hospital naturally  without it appearing too clumsy.
Even though it was a short story it felt complete & not part of a longer writing which had to finish too early. It was perfect with the word count as well.

TassieDevil at 04:20 on 20 July 2014  Report this post
Brilliant stuff Bryan.
I didn't see the end coming although I should have. It was so well written in terms of the conversations and how you explained so much. My only criticism would be

The nurse give an excited squeal.

as it didn't seem right to me in the context.
A well-conceived innovative story that embraced the theme for this week so well. Congrats,

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