Hospital Diaries Part 1

Saturday July 14th

I was cheered on Friday by Conrad Black's guilty verdict and Boris Johnson's mayoral bid. When one realises that politics is run by big business, and that it is all a farce, one expects interesting players at the very least. Boris makes me laugh which is more than I can say for most of the drab cast of "Real" Politik 2007. I can't wait to see his funny face plastered all over London.

Lights go out at 11, I think it is. I have a curtain drawn around my maneuverable bed. Anyway. Lights go out, and the man in the bed next to me lets out a mighty, squeaky fart. Nobody else laughs but me.

I wake up at 3am soaking wet with sweat, freezing cold, and feverish. Someone has taken my tubes out of me. I feel weird without my tubes. Eventually I fall asleep in my wet, shivering.

At 5am my bed is suddenly a hive of activity. All AK systems are go - doctors and nurses swarm about me filling me with tubes and drugs and all manner of exotic weirdness. By 7am there us utterly no more sleep allowed, and I am assigned yet another short chubby Jamaican nurse. This one is called Janet. She is nice to me.

At about 9 a lady comes to take some blood out of me. Amidst doing so she somehow manages to stab herself in the finger with the needle. She totally freaks out. I might have AIDS, you see.

Very soon a number of serious people visit me to enquire about my sexual history and ask if I mind being tested for The Dreaded AIDS and The Hepatitis and all that. Of course I don't! I have been meaning to for ages anyway.

Opposite me there is a Vietnamese man (I think he's Vietnamese, Janet thinks he's Chinese) who was bought in last night and speaks no English. Nobody has been able to communicate with him, which seems silly to me - are there not interpreters in London? Surely this sort of thing happens all the time? Now he seems to be in great pain. "Ooh! Ooh!" he cries, lying in an exaggerated foetal position on his bed like a big monkey, clawing at his back. He sicks up the drugs they give him, and emits the first English I have heard from him in the 17 hours we have spent in the same room - "No good!" he whimpers, sadly, before savagely beating his own back. "No good! No good!"

We exchange understanding glances. He has really nice shoes.

Around lunchtime, my television, which costs £5 a day and has nothing on it, tells me that Spar is 50. Wow! 50 years of Spar! I did my first shoplifting in Spar, when I was 8. I feel a song coming on, then the feeling goes. Hospitals aren't good for creative people. The food is too upsetting.

Suddenly, in the early afternoon, I am moved to another ward - out of the constant surveillance one, that's full of shrieking weirdoes, into a normal one, called Lloyd Ward. My universe has changed. I no longer have a window bed.

My new, immediate neighbours seem a little less crazy than the last lot (bearing in mind my last lot included a mad old grey man who looked like a ghost, invaded my bed area scarily and often, and on my first night in hospital, woke me up at 3am when he exploded in a wet shower of shit). They number a small club footed old white man who likes to wear big suede boots in bed and makes weird hacking noises, a seven foot bright pink giant of a man with black features, huge mangled toes and a huge, similarly mangled family, and a nice quiet old black gentleman with an absolutely lovely wife who says hello and goodbye to me twice a day. And she tips her hat to me. More people should be tipping their hats.