SARS = taken by aliens and no name OR "How I became a non person"

Monday, Dec 01, 2008 at 16:15

takenbyaliens (Life Member)

Monday 27 October 2003
I am back from being in hospital….where I became a non person…I didn’t exist….for four days after I was taken there on Tuesday. They thought I had SARS. I thought I had SARS. But no one was to know for fear of panicking the good citizens of Brisbane………
Having been on the ‘road’ so to speak since the 10th of August ( China, Malaysia, South Africa, Botswana, England, Wales, Ireland and Canada ) by the time I came to set off on the last week of the trip I was pretty much flogged. I had been sick as a mongrel dog in Toronto…so sick that I went to the hospital. Now that was some experience. SARS was all the go in Toronto and the hospital that I just chose to go to was, you guessed it, the one where they had all been taken too. Getting into casualty was difficult but after a 4 hr wait I got to see a nurse….who then told me I would wait 8 hrs to see a doctor! So hospital systems must be stuffed everywhere I thought as I headed out the door back to my hotel. Put off my flight for 3 days in the vain hope I would get better. Eventually I had to move…next stop Dallas.
Sunday 12 October . Glued myself up as best I could and hopped on board the Air Canada flight into Dallas. Checked into the very dodgy Holiday Inn really sick...both ends going overtime! But work is work so I double dosed on Imodium, took norflocasin and lay down for a couple of hours before a dinner meeting with some blokes from Dallas Comets Soccer Club. As sick as I was I had to eat… your body gets so stressed that without food it will close down and that’s not what you need when you are traveling.
Monday 13 October. A big day. Meetings in the morning then back to hotel to check out then off to another meeting then off to the airport… UA359 at 1900 bound for Los Angeles and my flight back to Malaysia. Which leaves at 0140 Tuesday morning ( 14th ). LAX airport is really poor…no showers in the lounges so I end up ‘bathing’ in the one and only basin in the washroom…actually sharing it with my ex school captain form many years ago who is also passing through.
Tuesday 14 October - Wednesday 15 October…bblluuuurrrrrr…..across the dateline…14+hours to Taipei, on ground 1.5 hrs, off again 4 hrs to Kuala Lumpur, check in at hotel and have a dinner meeting! Get to bed late but have to be up early the next day…I am off to Singapore.
Thursday 16 October Fly to Singapore, 4 meetings fly back to KL that night in preparation for meetings all day 17th in KL.
Saturday 18th October…0920 flight from KL to Brisbane. Pretty tired.
Tuesday 21 October. SICK SICK SICK. My body is aching all over. I head to the doctors. ‘Where have you been in the last week??’ They ask. I tell them Toronto, Dallas, Los Angeles, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore then home. I am ushered into a cubicle and I hear the doctor say ‘Get the ambulance now. I’ll call the hospital’….’Somebody must be injured somewhere here’ I think. After about 10 minutes the door opens and there are two spacemen!! I am about to be taken by aliens! I wonder if in fact I am delusional. Nope, they are there. The doctor comes in ( a spacewoman no less ) and tells me I have hit all the bases…symptoms, places, times…I think you may have SARS’ and bingo I am on the trolley and whipped out the back door….The spaceman says for emphasis ’ Mate they think you might have SARS’…’oh very f………..wonderful!!!’ says I. It’s hot but the ambulance does not have the air on, instead using kiwi air ( you know the window open )..’If we turn the air on the whole system will have to be pulled out and cleaned’ … ‘No bleep e’ ….’Oh yes mate. This car is off the road when we get back..it will be sterilized completely’ … ‘ You are serious aren’t you?’ I sort of ask. ‘Buddy you just lie there and we’ll just keep all dressed up’
We get to the PA Hospital…but go to the back entrance. More spacemen. One goes ahead and gets everyone out of corridors and tells people to stay in rooms and not open doors…no ifs or buts…just do it! I feel like chanting ‘Bring out your dead!’ like they did during the plague..I have ( maybe ) the modern day version.
Up to the top floor and into the infectious diseases section..I get a room way down one end apparently away from anyone else. It has an airlock and is absolutely sealed. A nurse spacewoman arrives. It takes her 5 minutes plus to get out. Into the airlock. Take off goggles ( yes that’s right…goggles ). Take of outer coat and fold in a very specific way. Take of first set of shoe covers. Take off hair cover. Take off one set of gloves. Wash gloves. Go out other side. Take of second coat, second shoe covers, second set gloves. Wash arms, hands in sterilizing solution.
Five minutes later I press the buzzer. She has to get all dressed up first. Then she comes in. ‘Can I have a cup of tea please…could kill for one!’. Out she goes undressing as per the regs. Makes the tea. Gets dressed. Brings it in. Goes out getting undressed along the way. 15 minutes for a cuppa! She tells me she is MY nurse. No one else gets to come in..she sees no other patients. Doctors come….Um and ahh..we’ll do this test and take this sample and xray here and so on and so on…….
Unbeknown to them I had managed to keep my mobile phone on board…in fact I was still in street clothes. I rang my wife.. ‘Hi honey. Having a good day? Well I’m here in hospital and they think I’ve got SARS!’ …Absolute silence followed by the usual rocketing about my travel and coming home sick because I flog myself etc…I tell her I don’t know my room number etc. In fact, after this I find my chart. I am "Floor 5 Room 7"…no name. The nurse brings lunch…"Floor5 Room 7".
My wife rings the hospital..she is going to bring up some PJs etc. ‘Where am I?’ she asks. ‘Nobody here in the hospital by that name. Sorry’ … ‘I know he is there, here is there’ … ‘Oh …hold on a minute. That’s funny. Why is that entry like that? Oh… I will put you through’ She gets the nurses desk. She explains that I am there. They want to know how she knows. She says the doctor’s surgery let her know that I went to hospital ( so she can come and get my car ) as I have told her not to let on I have a phone. They give her a password. Use it or ‘not here’. Meanwhile I have had to give a new spaceman all details of where I have been, who I have met, what planes I was on…they need ‘the list’!! I ring my work. Tell them I won’t be in. In hospital but don’t tell them why…’just don’t ask’ I say. I get told later that my boss calls…. ‘not here’. I have to husband my cellphone battery and hide it so it won’t get taken from me. I turn it on only to call my wife. Luckily coming in to me takes so much time that I always get a chance to hide it before someone comes in.
A new spaceman arrives early evening. Despite all the get up I recognize that it is my wife…. She is upset. I am upset…I feel like s…….!
I ( Floor5 Room7 ) get every test known to man. I have every orifice poked, prodded and sampled and then some. I have Xrays, skin samples and blood tests and more blood tests…all in my little room. I ask them do they want to read my tea leaves. I am still Floor5 Room7. I am real sick. I am real lonely. I have a signal worked out with the nurse for a cuppa so it only takes 10 minutes to get one. My wife is the only allowed visitor. She has had to promise not to tell anyone what I may have. I feel like the ‘Man in the Iron Mask’. I am still real sick.
On Friday afternoon I get told it is not SARS but a really nasty strain of Influenza A. I get a name again. I am still not flash but I get out Saturday. Great fortnight!
According to modern astronomers, space is finite..a very comforting thought particularly for people who can never remember where they left things
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